MCA Content Resources


Understand how the academic standards are assessed on the MCA  

On the MCA content page, educators can explore resources that outline how the content of the academic standards is assessed on the state assessments in mathematics, reading, and science.

Since the state assessments measure achievement of the Minnesota Academic Standards, the best preparation is classroom instruction that is aligned to the depth and breadth of the standards, and integrates frequent formative checks for student understanding through formal and informal assessment practices. Educators are encourages to use the Standards Portal for implementing standards-based instruction.

Item Sampler Image ScienceImage

Content Resources 

Test Specifications- Test specifications are specific rules and characteristics that guide the development of a test's content and format. They indicate which strands, sub-strands, standards and benchmarks will be assessed on the test and in what proportions. Test specifications are excellent tools for gaining an in-depth understanding of the content and format of the tests. However, they are not meant to be used as the basis for curriculum and instruction. Some concepts in the academic standards can only be assessed in the classroom and not on a standardized statewide assessment.

Pearson Perspective - Minnesota's Perspective system contains instructional resources aligned to the Minnesota Academic Standards. Educators can explore thousands of resources which can be used to create assignments, activities, and build assessments. On a student's individual score report, they receive a Learning Locator code that can be used on this site to access resources aligned to the student's individual code.

  • To access the Educator Quick Start Guide and gain access to the full system for educators, ask your school administrator for your login and pass phrase credentials. Creating an account allows educators to save, edit, and share assignments, and gives access to answer keys for test items and learning resources.

Depth of Knowledge (DOK) - Cognitive complexity refers to the cognitive demand associated with a test question. The level of cognitive demand is dependent upon the number of cognitive processes involved in determining the correct answer to a question. Levels of cognitive complexity for MCA-III are based on Norman L. Webb's Depth of Knowledge levels.

 

Reading Content Resources

  • The item samplers are used to familiarize students and educators with how the content is presented in the test. Item samplers are available for the online MCA (with and without available accommodations and linguistic supports), MCA paper accommodated test materials, and Minnesota Test of Academic Skills (MTAS). Educators can find direct links to item samplers for each grade and subject in the table at the bottom of this page.
  • Item Sampler Teacher Guide - contains screenshots of every item in the sampler, along with the correct answer, DOK, benchmark, and rationales for each answer option for the multiple-choice (MC) items. Educators can find direct links to teacher guides for each grade and subject in the table at the bottom of this page.

Please note that while test specifications and item samplers are provided as a resource for educators to see how the academic standards are addressed on the test, they are not meant to be used as the basis for curriculum and instruction as some items in the standards are not assessed on the state assessments. Nor are they meant to limit instruction based on the limits in the test specifications. Additionally, while the content in the item samplers is aligned to the standards, they are not representative of all content outline in the test specifications. They are therefore unable to reliably predict how students will perform on the actual test.

 

Math Content Resources

  • Students may use stand-alone versions of online calculators to practice using the same versions that appear in the online test. These calculators also appear in the item samplers.
  • The item samplers are used to familiarize students and educators with how the content is presented in the test. Item samplers are available for the online MCA (with and without available accommodations and linguistic supports), MCA paper accommodated test materials, and Minnesota Test of Academic Skills (MTAS). Educators can find direct links to item samplers for each grade and subject in the table at the bottom of this page.
  • Item Sampler Teacher Guide - contains screenshots of every item in the sampler, along with the correct answer, DOK, benchmark, and rationales for each answer option for the multiple-choice (MC) items. Educators can find direct links to teacher guides for each grade and subject in the table at the bottom of this page.

 Please note that while test specifications and item samplers are provided as a resource for educators to see how the academic standards are addressed on the test, they are not meant to be used as the basis for curriculum and instruction as some items in the standards are not assessed on the state assessments. Nor are they meant to limit instruction based on the limits in the test specifications. Additionally, while the content in the item samplers is aligned to the standards, they are not representative of all content outline in the test specifications. They are therefore unable to reliably predict how students will perform on the actual test.

 

Science Content Resources

  • Minnesota Frameworks for Science and Mathematics Standards – 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.
  • Item Samplers - used to familiarize students and educators with how the content is presented in the test. Item samplers are available for the online MCA (with and without available accommodations and linguistic supports), MCA paper accommodated test materials, and Minnesota Test of Academic Skills (MTAS). Educators can find direct links to item samplers for each grade and subject in the table at the bottom of this page.
  • Item Sampler Teacher Guide - MCA Item Sampler Teacher Guides contain screenshots of every item in the sampler, along with the correct answer, DOK, benchmark, and rationales for each answer option for the multiple-choice (MC) items. Educators can find direct links to teacher guides for each grade and subject in the table at the bottom of this page.

Please note that while test specifications and item samplers are provided as a resource for educators to see how the academic standards are addressed on the test, they are not meant to be used as the basis for curriculum and instruction as some items in the standards are not assessed on the state assessments. Nor are they meant to limit instruction based on the limits in the test specifications. Additionally, while the content in the item samplers is aligned to the standards, they are not representative of all content outline in the test specifications. They are therefore unable to reliably predict how students will perform on the actual test.