How Edulastic MCA Practice Tests Assist To Prepare Students For Their Final Exams

What is MCA?

MCA (Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments) are statewide tests administered to students in Minnesota with an aim of helping to measure the progress of students in relation to satisfying Minnesota’s academic standards along meeting both state legislation and federal requirements. Teachers and parents rely on the MCA test to determine student areas of strength as well as weak areas that need to be addressed for improvement. Data from this assessment is shared with the relevant stakeholders for purposes of reviewing individual student performance. There is an alternative assessment known as Minnesota Test of Academic Skills (MTAS) which is sat by students who undertake special education services.
MCA encompasses reading, mathematics and science. Students in grades 3-8 sit for the reading test, grades 3-8 and grade 11 sit for the mathematics test while grades 5, 8 and high schoolers (only sit once) for the MCA test in science. Each of these MCA tests also has an alternative MTAS test offered to students who are eligible.

Background of MCA

Minnesota statewide assessment requirements received a major boost in 2001 after the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was passed. This law required the state to come up with academic content standards, provide a measure for the standards, and formulate a student proficiency system where students take their exams and are graded individually to determine their academic competency. An academic standards movement that began in the late 1980s fully evolved into an MCA test and assessment standard even before the NCLB act came into place. From 1993-1995, a Minnesota legislature was enacted into law putting in place a graduation rule for all students in public schools. In 1997, the legislature introduced a statewide testing system to measure academic standards and promote student accountability. From 1998, students in grades 3, 5 and 7 sat for a single statewide test. Since then the assessment system has evolved and undergone many changes including technology incorporation in line with the changing curriculum demands.

MCA Testing Window, Duration of Tests and Format of Questions

Each school can have its own MCA test window so long as it lies within the mandated statewide testing window. Typically, most of the MCA tests are administered between March and May. For 2019, the test window is active between March and May even though some schools could have begun earlier. Edulastic has online MCA practice test platforms that enable students to practice in advance and know what to expect in the final exam.
The duration of the test depends on the subject being administered and the grade level. However, reading test taken by grade 3-8 students that has 7-9 passages with test duration varying between 2.5-3.5 hours. Mathematics test durations vary ranging from 1.5-3 hours depending on the grade and number of test items.
All the grades that take Reading, Mathematics and Science tests do them online. However, eligible special students may receive paper administered tests including braille. Both Reading and Mathematics tests are adaptive where the next of items a student should respond to are based on the responses they provide. In mathematics, every response a student provides helps to determine the next question that will be presented

Skills Required to Take MCA Test

Since MCA tests are administered online for a majority of students except for those with special needs, it is important for teachers to adequately prepare their students for an online testing experience. MCA practice test is a unique way of allowing students to practice regularly and familiarize themselves with the format of the exams. The use of computers and tablets is a fundamental area of focus as students need to familiarize themselves with various skills to help them answer and navigate test questions.
Edulastic online assessments teach students key skills such as how to effectively use the keyboard and understand its various commands and functions. Edulastic practice tests also allow students to learn technical maneuvering skills such as table filling, drag and drop, selection and de-selection and use of online calculators among others. With continuous practice, students gain confidence as each area and skill needed for the final exam is adequately catered for. Edulastic empowers students with the relevant tech skills and wide exposure to questions and scenarios to be encountered in a real exam session.

Instructional Topics or Areas to Cover During the Year

Missouri Comprehensive Assessment cover a wide range of subject topics that are tested during the exams. Teachers are advised to cover these areas so that students are adequately prepared to tackle their examinations. Some of the key subject areas to cover for MCA Reading include literature, poetry and passages. On the other hand, Mathematics topics include algebra, numbers and operations, measurement, geometry and data analysis and probability.

Links for more information:

https://education.mn.gov/MDE/fam/tests/
http://minnesota.pearsonaccessnext.com/resources/resources-training/manuals/2018-19_Procedures_Manual_Final.pdf
https://education.mn.gov/mdeprod/idcplg?IdcService=GET_DYNAMIC_CONVERSION&dID=95314

MCA Practice tests

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MCA Grade 4 Math Released Items
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MCA Grade 3 Math Released Items
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