Sample Questions

 

This page contains Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released items, as well as links to data about each item.

Educators may choose to use sample questions to better understand how the MCA is aligned to the Minnesota K–12 Academic Standards and how the items are written to reflect the rigor and complexity of these standards. The released content, data table, and rationales can be used by educators to explore examples of questions that evaluate the knowledge and skills expected in the standards.

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MDE Released Items and Passage Sets

Minnesota's Released Items and Passage Sets are items that were previously used on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA). Because this is a small group of items, not every item type of benchmark is represented. However, they do provide a sampling of how the content standards are assessed on the MCA. To get the most out of the information presented here, please start by reading the User Guide for Released Items with Data Tables

Educator Application

Educators may choose to use them to better understand how the MCA is aligned to the Minnesota K–12 Academic Standards and how the items are written to reflect the rigor and complexity of these standards. The released content, data table, and rationales can be used by educators to explore examples of questions that evaluate the knowledge and skills expected in the standards.


Caution: Released items should not be used as a predictor of success on the MCA. The items are only a sampling of the operational item bank and, therefore, do not match the test specifications for the MCA.

NAEP Released Items

Each time NAEP releases the results of a subject-level assessment, a portion of the items used in the assessment is released to the public via free online tools-the NAEP Questions Tool and NAEP Item Maps. NAEP assesses what our nation's students know and can do in various subjects at grades 4, 8, and 12. NAEP uses a variety of item formats, including multiple choice and constructed response. 

NAEP items are developed to measure the NAEP subject-specific frameworks. The NAEP frameworks are guidelines that define subject-specific content and thinking skills needed by students to deal with the complex issues they encounter in and out of the classroom. They are devised through a development process that ensures they meet current educational requirements and be both forward thinking and responsive, balancing current teaching practices with research findings. They also provide a starting point for constructive conversations about high-quality educational standards and assessments. The NAEP frameworks are not a set of standards and are designed to be independent from all other standards, curriculum and instructional approaches. Even though the NAEP frameworks are not aligned to any particular grade or content standards, the NAEP items are still a great resource for educators.

Educator Application

Educators can use NAEP items to supplement classroom instruction and to extend the level of instruction to include more complex exercises. NAEP items can also be used as models for using innovate and challenging assessment practices. Educators can use NAEP items and their corresponding scoring rubrics to construct their own items and improve the way they score student responses.

The NAEP Questions Tool is a database of more than 3,000 multiple-choice and constructed-response items in 10 subject areas that were used on the NAEP assessments. Educators can search questions by subject, grade, and content area; view actual student responses; and create customized tests. You can bookmark questions for later use and create customized tests for your students to complete then compare their performance with that of the nation's students.

The NAEP Item Maps are tools that help answer the question, "What does it mean for students to be at each NAEP achievement level in terms of what they know and can do?" This is done by plotting question descriptions along the NAEP scale. Where the item is plotted on the scale indicates a dividing line: students who score above this position are likely to answer the question correctly, while those who score below are less likely to do so.