Value of Standardized Testing

The value of standardized testing in Minnetonka

In Minnetonka, two important standardized assessments are administered to the majority of students, the NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) and the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs). Both tests are used to measure Reading, Math, and at some grade levels, Science. The NWEA-MAP allows District staff to measure Minnetonka student performance to their grade-level peers nationally. The MCAs allow District staff to measure Minnetonka student performance against their grade-level peers statewide. In addition, the MCAs allow District staff to know how students are performing against grade-level state standards. Both tests are important accountability measures for staff to measure student progress as they continue through the Minnetonka academic program.

The NWEA-MAP are primarily administered to students in grades K-8. The MCA-III Reading, Math and Science Tests are required for all students in grades 3-8, 10 and 11. The NWEA-MAP and MCAs are valuable to students, staff and parents for a variety of reasons, including:

Informs course placement

    • Both NWEA-MAP and MCA results are used to help determine math placement for students in grades 4 and 5, as well as language arts, math and science placement for students entering grades 6-8.

Measures growth of individual students

    • Both NWEA-MAP and MCA results provide important information about individual students and student groups, which school staff use to measure growth from one year to the next. Measuring growth enables staff to know if students are learning the expected standards at each grade level throughout their school careers.

Provides immediate feedback for staff

    • With online testing comes the ability for school staff to view student results one day after a student completes the test. In the past, MCA scores were not viewable until later in the summer. However, staff have the ability to view MCA results as immediately as NWEA results.

Moves beyond proficiency

    • MCA and NWEA-MAP test results help school districts move beyond simply measuring student proficiency to ensuring that all students are growing regardless of their ethnic background, language ability or special programs for which they are receiving services.

Meets legislative requirements

    • The MCA tests are required by law for all students in the identified grade levels. If schools and school districts do not reach the minimum 95 percent participation rate, they run the risk of not meeting the legal requirements as determined by the Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA). Not meeting the participation rate could cause the Minnetonka School District to receive sanctions, depending on the frequency of falling below the required participation levels.

Additional information regarding MCAs

The MCAs have evolved in recent years. As the MCAs shifted from the MCA II to the MCA III in math, reading and science, significant changes occurred in both the process and the content. The MCA is now administrated online, which allows for more immediate feedback to teachers. The MCA content has also been redesigned to reflect changes in standards of learning in these core content areas.

The MCAs have always been summative in nature, designed to allow school districts the ability to measure student performance over time and to use the data to make programming decisions for students. Because of the updates to the process and content, the MCAs have made a stronger impact on programming for individual students, as well as for programming for general school populations.


Parent Test Refusal

  • To submit an NWEA or MCA testing refusal request, please complete the K-8 test refusal form. MHS parents should complete the 9-12 test refusal form. Completed forms may be sent electronically to the building principal or printed.
  • After the form is completed, it is required that the parent/guardian schedule an appointment to meet or speak with the building principal to discuss test refusal.