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Assessment

The Assessment Department assists schools and the school district by collecting, interpreting and communicating findings. Our goal is to engage, educate, and inspire all stakeholders to utilize multiple measures of data to drive decisions impacting students’ live. We assist staff to integrate data into the district improvement process and encourage data-based decision making. We provide state-of-the-art research, evaluation and assessment expertise and information for diverse stakeholders to maximize educational decision-making and student outcomes.

Teacher helping student on computer

Assessment is an integral part of instruction, as it determines whether or not the goals of education are being met. Assessment affects decisions about grades, placement, advancement, instructional needs, and curriculum. Today's students need to know not only the basic reading and arithmetic skills, but also skills that will allow them to face a world that is continually changing. They must be able to think critically, to analyze, and to make inferences. Changes in the skills base and knowledge our students need require new learning goals; these new learning goals change the relationship between assessment and instruction. Our teachers take an active role in making decisions about the purpose of assessment and the content that is being assessed.

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. It includes 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; it was updated in May 2018. When completed, it must be returned to your student's district; your student’s district may require additional information. To opt out of statewide assessments, this form must be completed by the parent/guardian & a meeting must be scheduled with the school principal.

Mankato Area Public Schools Parent/Guardian Guide and Refusal for Student Participation in Statewide Testing 

For more information visit the Minnesota Department of Education Assessment Website: Statewide Assessment: Minnesota Department of Education

EARLY CHILDHOOD

Early Childhood Screening (Ages 3-5)

Early Childhood Screening is a free, developmental check-up required by the State of Minnesota for all preschool-aged children (ages three to five) before attending public school. Please visit the Early Childhood Screening page for more information and forms.

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (K-5)

DIBELS

The Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) are a set of procedures and measures for assessing the acquisition of early literacy skills from kindergarten through sixth grade. They are designed to be short (one minute) fluency measures used to regularly monitor the development of early literacy and early reading skills.

DIBELS are comprised of seven measures to function as indicators of phonemic awareness, alphabetic principle, accuracy and fluency with connected text, reading comprehension, and vocabulary. DIBELS were designed for use in identifying children experiencing difficulty in acquisition of basic early literacy skills in order to provide support early and prevent the occurrence of later reading difficulties.

State Assessments

MINNESOTA COMPREHENSIVE ASSESSMENTS (MCA)

MCAs are mandated by the state of Minnesota. They help schools and districts measure student progress toward the state’s academic standards. Purpose: To measure achievement on the Minnesota Academic Standards and measure academic progress of students over time.

Minnesota Statutes, section 120B.30 and ESEA
Minnesota Statutes 120B.30 ESEA

GRADE TEST
3-4 MCA Reading and Math
5 MCA Reading, Math, and Science

Nationally Normed Tests

NWEA MEASURES OF ACADEMIC PROGRESS

The Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) assessment determines your child's instructional level and measures academic growth from year to year in mathematics, reading and science. They are computer-based adaptive tests (presenting easier or more challenging questions based on incorrect or correct responses) that pinpoint each student's instructional level. Learn more about NWEA testing.

GRADE TEST
K-5 NWEA Reading and Math

WIDA FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS (ELL)

WIDA is a federally mandated test to monitor students' progress in acquiring academic English language proficiency.

ACCESS and Alternate ACCESS
Purpose: To annually assess English language proficiency of all English learners ESEA
ESEA Law

Grade test
K-5 WIDS for ELLs

Minnesota Student Survey

The Minnesota Student Survey provides students, parents, and their communities a dynamic vehicle for on-going communication about issues vital to the health, safety and academic success of youth. It is a valuable too for school districts, county agencies and state agencies in planning meaningful and effective ways of supporting students and families. 

The survey asks students questions about their activities, opinions, behaviors and experiences. It includes questions on an array of issues – substance abuse (tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs), school climate, violence and safety concerns, healthy eating, out –of-school activities, connections with school and family, and many other topics. At the senior high level, questions are also asked about gambling and sexual activity. 

The survey is administered to students in grades 5, 8, 9, and 11 statewide.

Goals of the Survey 

  • To help identify problems that confront young people in our community. 
  • To assist educators, parents, and community groups in responding to young people’s needs. 
  • To monitor the effectiveness of prevention initiatives in our schools and our community. 

MAPS Minnesota Student Survey Results - 2013-2016 Trend data
Minnesota Department of Education 2013-2016 Results
Minnesota Department of Education 2010 Results

MIDDLE SCHOOL (6-8)

DIBELS

The Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) are a set of procedures and measures for assessing the acquisition of early literacy skills from kindergarten through sixth grade. They are designed to be short (one minute) fluency measures used to regularly monitor the development of early literacy and early reading skills.

DIBELS are comprised of seven measures to function as indicators of phonemic awareness, alphabetic principle, accuracy and fluency with connected text, reading comprehension, and vocabulary. DIBELS were designed for use in identifying children experiencing difficulty in acquisition of basic early literacy skills in order to provide support early and prevent the occurrence of later reading difficulties.

State Assessments

MINNESOTA COMPREHENSIVE ASSESSMENTS (MCA)

MCAs are mandated by the state of Minnesota. They help schools and districts measure student progress toward the state’s academic standards. Purpose: To measure achievement on the Minnesota Academic Standards and measure academic progress of students over time.

Minnesota Statutes, section 120B.30 and ESEA
Minnesota Statutes 120B.30 ESEA

GRADE TEST
6-7 MCA Reading and Math
8 MCA Reading, Math, and Science

Nationally Normed Tests

NWEA MEASURES OF ACADEMIC PROGRESS

The Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) assessment determines your child's instructional level and measures academic growth from year to year in mathematics, reading and science. They are computer-based adaptive tests (presenting easier or more challenging questions based on incorrect or correct responses) that pinpoint each student's instructional level. Learn more about NWEA testing.

 

GRADE TEST
6-8 NWEA Reading and Math

WIDA FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS (ELL)

WIDA is a federally mandated test to monitor students' progress in acquiring academic English language proficiency.

ACCESS and Alternate ACCESS
Purpose: To annually assess English language proficiency of all English learners ESEA
ESEA Law

Grade test
6-8 WIDA for ELLs

Minnesota Student Survey

The Minnesota Student Survey provides students, parents, and their communities a dynamic vehicle for on-going communication about issues vital to the health, safety and academic success of youth. It is a valuable too for school districts, county agencies and state agencies in planning meaningful and effective ways of supporting students and families. 

The survey asks students questions about their activities, opinions, behaviors and experiences. It includes questions on an array of issues – substance abuse (tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs), school climate, violence and safety concerns, healthy eating, out –of-school activities, connections with school and family, and many other topics. At the senior high level, questions are also asked about gambling and sexual activity. 

The survey is administered to students in grades 5, 8, 9, and 11 statewide.

Goals of the Survey 

  • To help identify problems that confront young people in our community. 
  • To assist educators, parents, and community groups in responding to young people’s needs. 
  • To monitor the effectiveness of prevention initiatives in our schools and our community. 

MAPS Minnesota Student Survey Results - 2013-2016 Trend data
Minnesota Department of Education 2013-2016 Results
Minnesota Department of Education 2010 Results

HIGH SCHOOL (9-12)

State Assessments

MINNESOTA COMPREHENSIVE ASSESSMENTS (MCA)

MCAs are mandated by the state of Minnesota. They help schools and districts measure student progress toward the state’s academic standards. Purpose: To measure achievement on the Minnesota Academic Standards and measure academic progress of students over time.

Minnesota Statutes, section 120B.30 and ESEA
Minnesota Statutes 120B.30 ESEA

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ON LAW REQUIRING MCA SCORES BE USED FOR COURSE PLACEMENT
Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) scores will soon be used in determining course placement at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. A student’s MCA score could potentially save them significant money by demonstrating that they do not need to take non-credit bearing developmental courses. Read the full announcement.

GRADE TEST
10 MCA Reading (or MTAS)
11 MCA Math (or MTAS)
11 MCA Science (for students who are enrolled in or have completed biology)

Nationally Normed Tests

NWEA MEASURES OF ACADEMIC PROGRESS

The Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) assessment determines your child's instructional level and measures academic growth from year to year in mathematics, reading and science. They are computer-based adaptive tests (presenting easier or more challenging questions based on incorrect or correct responses) that pinpoint each student's instructional level. Learn more about NWEA testing.

 

GRADE TEST
9 NWEA Reading and Math

WIDA FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS (ELL)

WIDA is a federally mandated test to monitor students' progress in acquiring academic English language proficiency.

ACCESS and Alternate ACCESS
Purpose: To annually assess English language proficiency of all English learners ESEA
ESEA Law

Grade test testing window
9-12 WIDA for ELLs  

ACT

Each spring, all 11th grade students in Mankato Area Public Schools take the ACT test.
MN Statutes 120B.30

The ACT is an entrance exam used by most colleges and universities to make admissions decisions. It is a multiple-choice, pencil-and-paper test administered by ACT, Inc. 

The purpose of the ACT test is to measure a high school student's readiness for college, and provide colleges with one common data point that can be used to compare all applicants. College admissions officers will review standardized test scores alongside your high school GPA, the classes you took in high school, letters of recommendation from teachers or mentors, extracurricular activities, admissions interviews, and personal essays. How important ACT scores are in the college application process varies from school to school. 

Overall, the higher you score on the ACT and/or SAT, the more options for attending and paying for college will be available to you.

When should I take the ACT?

Most high school students take the ACT, SAT, or both during the spring of their junior year or fall of their senior year. It's important to leave time to re-take the test if you need to raise your score before you apply to college. The ACT exam is offered nationally every year in September, October, December, February*, April, June, and July*. View all upcoming ACT test dates

For more information, click here: The ACT Test: US Students

AP Exam Information

Each spring, all Mankato Area Public Schools high school students have the opportunity to take AP exams at the conclusion of the course.

An AP exam is basically a test of all you learn in an AP class. You earn college credit if you pass the exam given at the end of the year in May. (AP tests are scored between 1 and 5, with anything above 3 considered passing.)

AP Exam Dates and Fees

PSAT: Option

The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) is a standardized test administered by the College Board and cosponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) in the United States.

The PSAT, a test designed to help students practice for the SAT, is an optional test given to students in 10th or 11th grades. Colleges DO NOT receive PSAT score reports. The PSAT is STRICTLY PRACTICE. The exam is one half of a full-length SAT. There is no essay on the PSAT, only 2 reading sections, 2 math sections, and one grammar section.

To learn more about the PSAT click here: College Board: PSAT

SAT: Option

The SAT is an optional standardized test meant to show schools how prepared you are for college by measuring key skills like reading comprehension, computational ability, and clarity of expression. Because so many students take the test, it also provides schools with data about how you compare to your peers nationwide.

MN Statutes 120B.30

You'll almost certainly need to take the SAT or ACT if you're applying to any colleges or universities in the United States, since most require you to submit test scores with your application. Depending on where you want to apply, your ACT or SAT score can account for as much as 50% of the admission decision, so a strong standardized test score is vital.

If a student would like to take the SAT test, please see your guidance counselor. For more information about the SAT click here: College Board: SAT

Minnesota Student Survey

The Minnesota Student Survey provides students, parents, and their communities a dynamic vehicle for on-going communication about issues vital to the health, safety and academic success of youth. It is a valuable too for school districts, county agencies and state agencies in planning meaningful and effective ways of supporting students and families. 

The survey asks students questions about their activities, opinions, behaviors and experiences. It includes questions on an array of issues – substance abuse (tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs), school climate, violence and safety concerns, healthy eating, out –of-school activities, connections with school and family, and many other topics. At the senior high level, questions are also asked about gambling and sexual activity. 

The survey is administered to students in grades 5, 8, 9, and 11 statewide.

Goals of the Survey 

  • To help identify problems that confront young people in our community. 
  • To assist educators, parents, and community groups in responding to young people’s needs. 
  • To monitor the effectiveness of prevention initiatives in our schools and our community. 

MAPS Minnesota Student Survey Results - 2013-2016 Trend data
Minnesota Department of Education 2013-2016 Results
Minnesota Department of Education 2010 Results

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