The first place to start is the K-12 Academic Standards area. Districts are required to have standards aligned curriculum to ensure that students have access to high-quality content and instruction. Districts must develop local standards for subjects that do not have state standards. Resources are provided to help districts in this effort.
State standards are revised on a schedule approved by the Minnesota Legislature. You can follow the current revision process on this page (see revision schedule below). Please subscribe to this page to receive email notices when new information is added.
Please review the "System of Assessments" videos to get a complete understanding of the purpose of assessments used to collect data and how each type of assessment plays a role in the educational system.
Data from the Minnesota Assessments should contribute to a larger body of evidence when making educational decisions at an individual, school and district level. The MCA data is not intended to be used in isolation; it is intended to be used alongside all data points gathered throughout the year. When looking at the MCA data, educators need to ensure they are also looking at their local formative and interim assessment data points. The MCA data and reports generated are one measure among many that educators should use when making decisions about curriculum and instruction.
Once you are familiar with the standards that will be assessed, review your grade level specific assessment details. Information about test design and question types from the MCA are also included. Then review the Minnesota Assessment Life Cycle Course – Module 4 to see a breakdown of how each assessment is administered to students.
Achievement Level Descriptors (ALDs) describe the skills and knowledge associated with each of the four levels students may achieve on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) and Minnesota Test of Academic Skills (MTAS). Developed by panels of Minnesota teachers, ALDs provided on the Individual Student Reports for reading, mathematics, and science are found on the Statewide Testing page.
DOK levels, or cognitive complexity, refers to the cognitive demand associated with an item. The level of cognitive demand is dependent upon the number of cognitive processes involved in determining the correct answer to an item. Levels of cognitive complexity for MCA-III are based on Norman L. Webb's Depth of Knowledge levels.
This website provides instructional resources tied to each standard and provides additional resources. It is part of the STEM Teacher Center developed by SciMathMN and the Minnesota Department of Education.
The heart of standards-based education is a system that supports effective instruction and learning for all students. The Standards Portal helps teams of educators implement policies, programs and practices that systematically impact teaching, learning and assessment so that all students achieve Minnesota's K-12 academic standards
Results are provided by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) at the individual student, school, district and state level. It is imperative that the interpretation resources are used alongside the results to fully understand the intricate details of the data and how to use them. There are also cautions to heed when using the data.