Design purposeful assessments aligned to the standards  

Assessment informs learning
  • Educators assess student learning, because assessment is a crucial part of improving student outcomes.
  • Assessment can transform student learning when assessments are designed to collect information aligned with targeted learning goals based on the Minnesota Academic Standards
A well-balanced system of assessment has a greater emphasis on formative assessment
  • A balanced system of assessment effectively combines formative, interim, and summative tools in the assessment of student learning.
  • Classroom-based formative techniques are most likely to impact student learning and growth, since they can be individualized. 
  • Formative assessment tools become even more powerful when they articulate student-facing learning goals that are aligned and promote mastery of the standards. When students understand the learning goals and receive direct feedback from formative assessment, it can motivate learning and increase student engagement.
MCA results are not intended to be used as the only evidence to inform decisions
  • Summative assessments like the MCA provide information on a broader level, and are not serving their intended purpose if they are individualized in the same way as teacher-designed formative assessments.
  • The use of state assessment data as the only piece of evidence to justify decision making, or to target individual student growth is not an effective practice, and can be detrimental to student learning and teacher growth.
  •  A comprehensive and balanced assessment system integrates the right balance of all three assessment types, since all three are needed in order to motivate learning and promote growth for both teachers and students.  

Resources for the assess section are organized into these pages:
  • Balanced Comprehensive Assessment System - Explore resources for understanding the purpose and uses of assessment at the state, district, and school layers.
  • Classroom Assessment - Explore resources for improving classroom assessments and questions for assignments and tasks. 
  • Statewide Assessments - Gain an overview of Minnesota's statewide assessments and their purpose in the education system.
  • MCA Test Structure - Find specific details related to question types and format of the MCA. 
  • MCA Content Resources - Teachers can find subject specific MCA information to better understand how the content from the standards is assessed.
  • Released MCA Questions - Teachers can explore released MCA questions from past exams, as well as links to data about each question.


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