Assessment Information


The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) are the state tests that help districts measure student progress toward Minnesota’s academic standards and meet the requirements of Every Student Succeeds Act. Reading and mathematics tests are given in grades 3 – 8, 10 and 11.  Science tests are given in grades 5 and 8 and once in high school, depending on when students complete their life sciences curriculum.

In September 2017, the Minnesota Department of Education will submit its Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plan to the U.S. Department of Education.  Below is a brief outline of each section of the state plan template, provided by the U.S. Department of Education.  A full final draft of the Minnesota state plan will be made available for public comment on August 1.  For questions or more information, please contact  Information on opting out here.

Parent Guardian Guide and Refusal for Student Participation in Statewide Testing

► Title I, Part A: Improving Basic Programs Operated by Local Educational Agencies

State academic standards and assessments, native language assessments, accountability system and school support and improvement activities, equity in access to educators, school conditions and school transitions.

► Title I, Part C: Education of Migratory Children

Supporting needs of migratory children, promoting coordination of services.

► Title I, Part D: Prevention and Intervention Programs for Children and Youth who are

Neglected, Delinquent or At-Risk Transitions between correctional facilities and local programs, program objectives and outcomes.

► Title II, Part A: Supporting Effective Instruction

Improving equitable access to teachers in Title I, Part A schools, system of certification and licensing, improving skills of educators, data and consultation, and teacher preparation.

► Title III, Part A: English Language Acquisition and Language Enhancement

Entrance and exit procedures, state support for English Learner programs, and monitoring and technical assistance.

► Title IV, Part A: Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants

Use of funds, awarding subgrants.

► Title IV, Part B: 21ST Century Community Learning Centers

Use of funds, awarding subgrants.

► Title V, Part B: Rural and Low-Income School Program

Outcomes and objectives and technical assistance.

► Education for Homeless Children and Youth program, McKinney-Vento Homeless

Assistance Act, Title VII, Subtitle B

Student identification, dispute resolution, support for school personnel, access to services, strategies to address other problems, policies to remove barriers and assistance from counselors.

As federal and state legislators determine what new accountability system they will use to determine school success, Cologne Academy will continue to focus on the growth of each individual learner.


Students in these grades take this nationally normed test so that the school can measure growth and college and career readiness.


All students will take quarterly interim tests in math and reading.  The school’s focus towards these assessments in terms of data review, student success, teacher effectiveness, and curriculum needs is well supported in recent research and uses best practices as directed from our Authorizer and School Board.  These assessments are for internal use.  Children are not “graded” on these assessments.  These are “show what you know” benchmarks.  Tests are designed in house and are used to measure progress towards goals.

Advantages of Interim Tests (Bambrick-Santoyo, 2010):

  • Road Map for instruction:  When educators know precisely what skill level their students must reach on each standard, they will have a clear framework for creating a challenging and dynamic curriculum.
  • Improvement in teaching:  Well-designed interim assessments serve to identify weaknesses during the course of the school year.  Meticulous attention to results and a constant feedback loop allow teachers to improve their craft, changing strategies in response to changing needs.
  • Targeted Focus:  By creating concrete benchmarks, interim assessments allow for classroom strengths and weaknesses to be clearly identified and systematically targeted.
  • Accountability:  The cumulative nature of interim assessments helps hold teachers and principals accountable for student learning results throughout the year.  Rather than waiting for a year-end result, interim assessments make it possible to identify failed teaching strategies while there is still time to fix them.
  • Visibility:  Interim assessments allow for performance to be charted graphically so that school leaders and staff may see visual evidence of improvement.
  • Checking for understanding without teacher support:  Because of their formal written nature, interim assessments measure student understanding without what is often called “scaffolded” support (teacher hints and guidance in problem solving), which can often reveal great differences between student output when supported by the teacher and when not!
  • Preparing students for high-stakes assessment:  The written format can also be used to simulate the high-stakes test by which states measure academic achievement.


Kindergarten – 3rd grade take an individually administered STEP assessment to show progress in reading.  These 12 classrooms are on a continuous rotation and will be assessed in STEP at least 3 times each year.  You will know the week your child is STEP tested and progress will be shared on the student’s learning plan (SLP)

Testing Calendar and Information 2019-2020