MCA Test Structure


Understand the functionality and types of questions asked on the MCA  

 
This page contains information about the types of questions (called items) students are asked to interact with on the MCA, and how they affect their score. The information below is from the Procedures Manual and Test Specifications, and is organized by grade and subject, so teachers have quick access to assessment details relevant to their work. 
 
There are three types of items on the MCA that differ in terms of how they are scored. The Reading and Mathematics tests will have operational, field test, and off-grade items. Science tests include operational and field test items. To learn more about the various item types, and numbers of items on tests according to benchmark, review the tables and resources below, or watch the Minnesota Test Development Life Cycle Course Modules in Pearson's Training Management System.  
  
Types of items that appear on the MCA
Type
Definition
Operational Item
Operational items are test questions that are scored and calculated toward a student's final MCA score.
Field Test Item
Field test items do not count toward a student's MCA score. These items are questions and passages which are currently under review, and are added to the MCA in order to collect data that will help determine if they will be viable options for future assessments. Learn more about the field testing process here.
Off-Grade Item

Off-grade (CCR) items appear on the Reading and Mathematics MCA and do not count toward the MCA score. They count toward the College and Career Readiness (CCR) Score. These items can span two grades before or after the tested grade. The structure for this portion of the test will be a proportional extension of the on-grade accountability blueprint.

    

 Student Tutorial Resources - The online student tutorial is one type of student resource used to familiarize students and educators with the general functionality of the online test, tools, and all test item types. The online student tutorial contains three components: navigation, tools, and item types.

  • Purpose of Student Resources- The Minnesota Department of Education requires districts to ensure that all students are familiar with the test they will be taking and are able to successfully navigate, use the online tools and accessibility features, and respond to different item types. This document explains the available student resources and their purposes. Which resources students need to review will be determined by the school, based on familiarity and experience with the test. Decisions may vary by school, grade, or student.
  • Item Types Teacher Guide - This guide provides additional details for educators about the functionality students will experience in the online Student Tutorial. 

 

Grade 6 Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item Types Tutorial Image

Mathematics MCA-III Structure

Online Test and Data Entry
March 4 – May 3, 2019

Assessment Format
The Mathematics MCA-III is a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT). Each student begins the test with a test item of average difficulty. When the student answers the item, the response is immediately scored. If the response is incorrect, the CAT algorithm selects a slightly easier question for the student to answer next. If the response is correct, the CAT algorithm selects a slightly more difficult question for the student to answer next. 
 
Item Types
There are three types of items on the MCA. The Mathematics tests have operational, field test, and off-grade items. To learn more about the various item types, review the table above and the Minnesota Test Development Life Cycle Course in Pearson's Training Management System.
 
To learn more about the navigation, tools, and item types students will encounter on the Mathematics MCA-III, click on the document in the table below that corresponds to your subject and grade level, or visit the PearsonAccess Next Student Tutorial page.

 

Reading MCA-III Structure

Online Test and Data Entry
March 4 – May 3, 2019
 
Assessment Format
The Reading MCA-III is a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT). Each student begins the test with a passage set of average difficulty. A passage set is a passage and a series of predetermined test items associated with the passage. The student then answers the test items associated with the passage. The CAT algorithm scores the set as a whole and selects a slightly easier or more difficult passage set based on the student’s responses to the first set.
 
Item Types
There are three types of test questions (items) on the MCA. The Reading tests will have operational, field test, and off-grade items. To learn more about the various item types, review the table above and the Minnesota Test Development Life Cycle Course in Pearson's Training Management System.
 
To learn more about the navigation, tools, and item types students will encounter on the Reading MCA-III, click on the document in the table below that corresponds to your subject and grade level, or visit the PearsonAccess Next Student Tutorial page.

Science MCA - III Structure

Online Test and Data Entry
MCA: March 4 – May 10, 2019
MTAS: March 4 – May 3, 2019
 
Assessment Format
The Science MCA is an online fixed form test, which means the content of the test is pre-determined. There are several forms, or versions, of the test that use different scenarios and questions, but all are of equal difficulty. A fixed form test uses the same scenarios and items for all students. However, each student’s performance on the test will result in a unique score.
 
To learn more about the navigation, tools, and item types students will encounter on the Science MCA-III, visit the PearsonAccess Next Student Tutorial page. 
 

Grade Level Assessment Details

Reading Mathematics Science

Grade 3

Grade 3

N/A

Grade 4

Grade 4

N/A

Grade 5

Grade 5

Grade 5

Grade 6

Grade 6

N/A

Grade 7

Grade 7

N/A

Grade 8

Grade 8

Grade 8

High School

High School

High School