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Assessment Program Testing is one way that student achievement is measured in the Duluth Public Schools. The Duluth Public School administers three categories of assessments during the school year: state assessments, district benchmark assessments, and classroom assessments.  State assessments take place once a year, district benchmark assessments take place up to three times a year, and classroom assessments are continuous and ongoing.  All three types of assessments provide educators with the necessary information needed to measure student learning.

State Assessments
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.  

District Assessments
In addition to the required state assessments, students in grades K-5 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.

Classroom Assessments
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.

Research Requests

The Department of Assessment and Evaluation manages all requests to conduct research within the Duluth Public Schools. Before applying, you must first obtain conditional approval from the building principal(s) or district administrators with whom you wish to work. All research conducted in the Duluth Public Schools must be formally approved following the process below:

  • Complete Research Request Form
  • Forward an electronic copy of your approved IRB application to Dr. Tawnyea Lake at
  • Once submitted, please allow 1-2 weeks for review of the completed Research Request Form and IRB application.

Note: Due to staffing limitations, the Duluth Public School District does not have the capacity to support external research at this time. Currently, only research requests made by Duluth Public Schools employees who are required to conduct research as a part of advanced degree fulfillment will be approved. 



Tawnyea L. Lake, Ph.D. 
Director of Assessment and Evaluation

Wendy Braun
Executive Assistant

Main Office:

4316 Rice Lake Road, Suite 108
Duluth, MN  55811

218-336-8700 x1039