Understanding the Purpose of Assessment
- Assessment OF Learning is a summative measure of what a student has learned after instruction has ended, such as: unit test, mid-year exam, final exam.
- Assessment FOR Learning is a formative measure of what the student already knows and does not know so the teacher may plan future instruction accordingly, such as with the MAP.
- Assessment AS Learning occurs when the assessment is the learning activity, such as the a Capstone project, an activity or project designed to also be a measure of learning. These are also known as performance assessments and typically include a scoring rubric.
Standardized Tests given in Edina Public Schools
Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA)
The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) are state tests in reading, mathematics, and science that are used to meet federal and state legislative requirements. The tests are administered every year to measure student performance relative to the Minnesota Academic Standards that specify what students in a particular grade should know and be able to do.
Reading and mathematics tests are administered in grades 3–8 and high school (students in grade 10 take the Reading MCA, and students in grade 11 take the Mathematics MCA). The Science MCA is administered to students in grades 5 and 8 and in the high school grade when students take a life science or biology course. With very few exceptions, all public school students in the above grades are given the MCA.
More information about MCA tests can be found on the Minnesota Department of Education’s Parent/Guardian Fact Sheet for MCA Testing.
The Minnesota Test of Academic Skills (MTAS)
The MTAS may be appropriate for certain students with IEPs who have the most significant cognitive disabilities. Students may take the MTAS in reading, mathematics, and/or science instead of the MCA. The IEP team is responsible for determining how the student participates in statewide testing. It is part of the Minnesota assessment program. These skills represent high expectations for students with significant cognitive disabilities, but tasks to measure these skills are considerably less difficult than the items on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA)\
More information about MTAS tests can be found on the Minnesota Department of Education’s Parent/Guardian Fact Sheet for MTAS Testing.
ACCESS for ELLs/Alternate ACCESS for ELLs
ACCESS for ELLs™ stands for Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners. It is a large-scale test that provides a snapshot of how well students are using the English language within the school context. It is administered to Kindergarten through 12th grade students who have been identified as English language learners (ELs).
ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 is aligned with the World-class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) consortium English Language Development Standards and assesses each of the four language domains of Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing and are used to meet federal and state legislative requirements. These assessments are used to monitor English learners’ progress as they develop academic language skills in reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
More information about ACCESS tests can be found in the Minnesota Department of Education’s Parent/Guardian Fact Sheet for ACCESS Testing.
Student Participation in Statewide Assessments
Minnesota Statutes, section 120B.31, subdivision 4a, requires the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) to publish a form for parents/guardians to complete if they refuse to have their student participate in state-required standardized assessments.
The Parent/Guardian Guide to Statewide Testing document provides some basic information to help parents/guardians make informed decisions that benefit their child and their school and community. The form to meet this legislative requirement is available at the link below and must be submitted to the office of the Director of Research and Evaluation.
More information about participation and refusals to test can be found in the Minnesota Department of Education’s Parent/Guardian Guide to Statewide Testing (Parent/Guardian Guide to Statewide Testing_Spanish; Parent/Guardian Guide to Statewide Testing_Somali).
Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)
Northwest Evaluation Association Measures of Academic Progress (NWEA MAP)
Edina Public Schools chooses to administer MAP tests to students in grades 2-8. MAP tests are aligned with Minnesota state standards and can be useful in predicting how students will perform on the Reading and Math MCA in the spring. They can also be used to predict academic preparedness for college readiness exams like the ACT as well as measure student growth across school years. MAP are nationally normed and provide feedback to students, parents and teachers regarding the student's growth and progress toward academic goals and college readiness.
For more information and parent resources, download NWEA's Parent's Guide.
Edina Public Schools
Research and Evaluation
5701 Normandale Road
Edina, Minnesota 55424
Research and Evaluation
Departmental Specialist for
Research & Evaluation