Our Testing Program

Testing is an important way for us to measure how our students are learning and growing, and to ensure our schools are providing students with what they need to be successful.

Our schools use a variety of tests. The two most common tests - which are taken by the majority of our students - are the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) and Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) measures of academic performance.

What’s the difference between the MCA-II and the NWEA tests?




How often is it given?

Once per year – in the spring

Up to 4 times per year – in the fall, winter, spring and summer

When are results available?

Over the summer/fall

Within 72 hours

Who takes it?

Grades 3-8, 10 & 11

Grades 2-9 (selected 10-12)

How is it administered?

Standard paper and pencil test


What’s it measure?

Student, school and district performance on academic standards

Individual student growth and academic performance

How is it used?

System accountability: Measures how students are meeting the Minnesota Academic Standards and determines if individual schools and the entire district is making adequate yearly progress (AYP) as defined by the No Child Left Behind Act.

Placement in district programs; Measuring individual student growth; Uncovering individual student’s academic strengths and weaknesses; Assists teachers in modifying instruction to meet the needs of students.

Additional Resources: