MCA Testing Guide for Parents

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MCA scores are not available for 2019-2020

The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs) is an important standardized assessment administered to the majority of students across the state. The MCA-III reading, math, and science tests are required for all students in Grades 3-8, 10, and 11. This assessment is valuable to students, staff, and parents for a variety of reasons listed below:

  • Inform Course Placement
    MCA results are used to help determine student academic supports, such as enrichment or intervention, as well as language arts, math, and science course placement for students at the secondary level.
  • Measure Growth of Individual Students
    MCA results provide important information about individual students and student groups in which school staff use to measure growth from one year to the next. Measuring growth enables staff to know if students are learning the expected standards at each grade level throughout their school careers.
  • Provide Immediate Feedback for Staff
    With online testing comes the ability for school staff to view student results one day after a student completes the test. In the past, MCA scores were not viewable until later in the summer. However, staff have the ability to view preliminary MCA results immediately.
  • Move Beyond Proficiency
    MCA results help school districts move beyond simply measuring student proficiency to ensuring that all students are growing regardless of their ethnic background, language ability, or special programs in which they are receiving services.
  • Meet Legislative Requirements
    The MCA Tests are required by law for all students in the identified grade levels to participate. If schools and school districts do not reach the minimum 95 percent participation rate, they run the risk of not meeting the legal requirements as determined by the newly enacted Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA). Not meeting the participation rate could cause the Stillwater Area Public Schools to receive sanctions, depending on the frequency of falling below the required participation levels.


State Approved Reasons for Refusing Statewide Testing

By law, parents/guardians have the right to refuse Statewide testing of their children. The following are state approved reasons for students not to test: 

  • Medical Refusal – As determined by a doctor, the student is unable to test for medical reasons
  • Student Refusal – The student is a significant distraction to himself/herself or others
  • Parent Refusal – The parent/guardian has strong wishes to have his/her child not take the MCA tests.

A parent or guardian must take the following steps to refuse statewide testing:

  1. Complete and sign the Minnesota Department of Education Option to Refuse Testing Form.
  2. Meet with the school principal or designee to discuss the refusing testing process and turn in the District 834 Testing Refusal Explanation Form. Refusing testing forms will be submitted to the Learning and Innovation Coordinator-Assessment by school personnel following the attainment of appropriate signatures.

*NOTE: The deadline to refuse testing will be determined soon for ACCESS and MCA/MTAS. Requests received after these dates will be considered on an individual basis. The district office may not be able to approve requests within 72 hours of your child's scheduled testing date/time. Please look for communication from your school or child's teacher with regard to the site-based testing schedules.