The MCA

Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) are administered every year to measure how much of the academic standards students know and are able to do in reading, mathematics, and science.

Teachers and principals look for areas where students do well so they can strengthen the ways they teach these skills.  They also look for areas that need improvement so they can increase teaching & learning time or adjust their teaching methods.

  • MCA Reading is administered to grades 3–8 and 10
  • MCA Mathematics is administered to grades 3–8 and grade 11
  • MCA Science is administered to grades 5, 8, & 10.

Reading, Mathematics, and Science MCA are administered online only.

Click to go to Testing calendar for Sy2016-2017.
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MCA Reading and Mathematics are adaptive assessments. This means that the test adjusts to each student’s skills.

Unlike the Mathematics tests, which adjust at an item level, the Reading MCA adjusts at a passage level. In other words, a student’s responses on a set of items associated with a passage or passages determine the next group of passages and items a student will receive.
Adaptive testing method provides a more precise measure of students’ skills and knowledge.

The high school Science MCA is given to students in the year they complete their instruction in life science, usually in a biology course. 

The Reading MCA assessments contain multiple-choice items along with technology-enhanced items where students manipulate reading content, such as demonstrating a sequence of actions or events, making connections between a cause and its effect, and choosing supporting details of a main idea. 

Each student receives an individual student report (ISR) card with a score that falls in one of four achievement levels—

  • Does Not Meet the academic standards,
  • Partially Meets the academic standards,
  • Meets the academic standards, and
  • Exceeds the academic standards.


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For more information, contact, Doris Adera, DAC.  doadera@bugschool.k12.mn.us. 218-665-3000 ext. 2164