Prep for Minnesota State Testing with MCA Practice Tests

With the right preparation, Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments can be a breeze. But what is the right preparation for these annual online tests?
Short answer: MCA practice tests in a virtual environment.
For the long answer, keep reading. Below, we provide everything you need to know about Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments and how to prepare your students with MCA practice tests. Let’s get after it.

What Is MCA?

Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) are exactly what they sound like: comprehensive tests that assess students’ academic progress on an annual basis. MCA tests measure student learning against Minnesota’s K-12 Academic Standards. The untimed tests are primarily administered online, though exceptions are available for eligible students such as the vision-impaired who may access large print or Braille versions of the tests.
MCA tests cover the following subjects and grade levels:
  • Reading (grades 3–8, 10)
  • Mathematics (grades 3–8, 11)
  • Science (grades 5, 8, and once in high school when the students take a life science or biology course)
The reading and math MCA tests are computer-adaptive, so the tests adjust based on the student’s response. For example, on the reading test, a student’s responses in response to a particular reading passage will determine what passages and questions the student will receive next. MCA tests are not time-restricted, but generally students spend an average of 2–3 hours testing on each subject.
Minnesota students with special education needs may be eligible to take the Minnesota Test of Academic Skills (MTAS) instead of the MCA tests. MTAS is an alternate assessment that covers the same subjects and grade levels as MCA based on alternate achievement standards. MTAS is administered one-on-one using paper test materials.
English language learners in Minnesota take the annual ACCESS for ELLs to assess their English language proficiency. English language learners with significant cognitive disabilities take the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs.
The 2021-2022 Minnesota testing window for MCA and other tests is as follows:
  • MCA and MTAS Reading and Math tests: March 7–May 6, 2022
  • MCA Science tests: March 7–May 13, 2022
  • ACCESS for ELLs and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs: January 31–March 25, 2022
Local school districts determine when within the above statewide testing windows their students will take the required exams. After MCA tests are administered, student guardians are provided with the Individual Student Results (ISR) report, which can identify areas of strong achievement as well as areas where the student may need more support.

How to Prep Your Students with MCA Practice Tests

MCA tests are, by default, administered online so students need to be well-versed in virtual testing technology in order to navigate the test smoothly and confidently on test day. To gain this confidence, your students need opportunities to practice in a virtual testing environment.
This is where MCA practice tests come in.
MCA practice tests serve a dual purpose:
  • They provide insight on the sorts of the content students will be tested on.
  • They enable students to practice navigating through the virtual testing environment and using digital testing tools to provide answers to technology-enhanced questions.
Technology-enhanced questions take advantage of the unique offerings of digital technology to provide deeper insight into student learning. Whether drag-and-drop, drop down, hot spots, graph building, or table filling, these questions call on students to interact with their screen in order to arrive at their answer to the question at hand. The insights provided by technology-enhanced questions go deeper than an old-school multiple choice test could, measuring critical thinking and problem-solving skills along with subject matter understanding.
To make sure your students get the most out of MCA practice tests, have them take the practice tests on the same device they’ll use for the real test. Whether tablet, laptop, or desktop computer, this will help them develop an ease-of-use with the technology built through experimentation and experience. When test day rolls around, they’ll know exactly what to expect because the MCA practice test helped them iron out any kinks in using the testing technology on their device.

MCA Practice Tests Are Available in Edulastic

Edulastic provides the perfect environment for administering MCA practice tests — and guess what? We’ve already uploaded MCA practice test content into the platform (find it on this page and in our Edulastic Public Library), so you don’t have to do any legwork to get things set up.
If you do want to tweak pre-made assessment items or make your own, that’s an option too! And all questions can be tied to Minnesota learning standards which makes tracking mastery easier. With the results from students’ online practice, you’ll be able to better understand what additional instruction or guidance is needed.
All you have to do is sign up for a free account, and you’ll be able to access the MCA practice tests and administer them to your students.
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MCA Practice tests

MCA Grade 10 ELA Released Items
21 questions | MCA
MCA Grade 8 ELA Released Items
12 questions | MCA
MCA Grade 7 ELA Released Items
20 questions | MCA
MCA Grade 6 ELA Released Items
10 questions | MCA
MCA Grade 5 ELA Released Items
10 questions | MCA
MCA Grade 4 ELA Released Items
10 questions | MCA
MCA Grade 3 ELA Released Items
7 questions | MCA
MCA Grade 11 Math Released Items
16 questions | MCA
MCA Grade 8 Math Released Items
19 questions | MCA
MCA Grade 7 Math Released Items
18 questions | MCA
MCA Grade 6 Math Released Items
25 questions | MCA
MCA Grade 5 Math Released Items
16 questions | MCA
MCA Grade 4 Math Released Items
24 questions | MCA
MCA Grade 3 Math Released Items
25 questions | MCA