Assessment, Evaluation, and Performance
Tawnyea L. Lake, Ph.D.
The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) and the Minnesota Test of Academic Skills (MTAS) are the state tests that measure student progress toward mastery of Minnesota’s academic standards as required by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Most students take the MCA; however, students who receive special educations services and meet specific requirements may take the MTAS instead. College and career readiness assessments will be required for graduation for Minnesota students in grades 8, 10, and 11 starting the 2014-2015 school year.
In addition to the required state assessments, students in grades K-8 take district benchmark assessments up to three times a year. Benchmark assessments measure student progress on academic standards, determine programmatic needs, and identify students who may need extra support or enrichment.
Individual teachers administer many types of assessments throughout the school year and may include quizzes, mid-terms, chapter tests, and final exams, among others. The results are used to determine mastery of skills and help inform instruction.