Minnesota MCA-II/GRAD Test Prep

About the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment – Series II (MCA-II)

If you have a child in elementary, middle or high school in Minnesota, then you need to know about the standardized tests your child will be taking. To comply with the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, Minnesota administers standardized tests to students beginning in 3rd grade through high school.

Time4Learning, an online education service that teaches many of the skills these exams test, offers this page to help you understand Minnesota’s standardized tests and how you can help your children prepare.

Minnesota schools administer the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment – Series II (MCA-II) to students from third through eighth grade and high school. The MCA II is a standards-based test, which means that test items are based on grade-specific Minnesota academic content standards.

MCA II tests are administered as follows:

  • 3rd through 8th and 10th grade students in reading
  • 3rd through 8th and 11th grade students in math
  • 5th and 8th grade students and once in high school in science

In addition, students in the 9th grade take a standards-based writing test known as the Written Composition GRAD, or Graduation-Required Assessments for Diploma.

The tenth grade MCA-II reading test and eleventh grade MCA II math test comprise the GRAD component of the MCA (MCA-II/GRAD).

What do the MCA Test Scores Mean?

For the MCA, students will receive one of four scores for each subject area tested:

  • Exceeds standards
  • Meets standards
  • Partially meets standards
  • Does not meet standards

For the MCA-II/GRAD writing test, students are scored on a scale of 1 to 6 and must receive a score of 3 or better to pass. To graduate from high school, students must pass the MCA II/GRAD tests in reading and math (meet or exceed the standards) and the GRAD writing test. Students who do not pass the first time can retake the tests on multiple occasions as necessary.

Preparing for Minnesota’s MCA II Tests

For general tips on test preparation, please visit our standardized test overview page. The real preparation for the MCA and all standardized tests that assess a wide range of fundamental skills, is to steadily build and master skills in math, reading and writing fundamentals.

Parents can help students succeed in school by making a special effort to get involved in their children’s education. You should ensure your children are doing their homework every night and reading and writing on a daily basis. In addition, families can hire tutors or use online learning programs such as Time4Learning and Time4Writing to supplement their children’s schoolwork and help to build fundamental skills.

To help your children prepare for state standardized tests such as Minnesota’s MCA, you can enroll your children in a test prep program or buy books to help them become familiar with test formats and terminology, to learn test-taking strategies (when to guess, when not to), to become comfortable with time restrictions, and to practice answering different types of questions.

For instance, when a reading passage is followed by comprehension questions, many test prep programs teach students to scan the questions prior to reading the passage so that they can pay special attention to the areas addressed by questions.

Most states release copies of tests or sample test questions from previous years. Parents can use these released test questions as resources to help students practice test skills and students can spend the majority of their time reviewing the key concepts within the sample test questions.

Time4Learning is not a test prep program; instead, it is a program that builds the skills that will be tested.

Time4Learning is a new approach that takes advantage of today’s technology. It’s a convenient, online home education program that combines learning with fun educational teaching games.

The online language arts and math curriculum comprise a comprehensive program for preschool, elementary school, and middle school. Science and social studies programs are provided as a free bonus for most grades.

Kids like using the computer to learn and to develop their skills. Time4Learning’s educational teaching games give students independence as they progress at their own pace.

Parents like that it tracks progress and helps kids advance by teaching through individualized learning paths that assure mastery of the skills and concepts that makes kids succeed.

Have a child with math and reading skills at different grade levels? No problem, just tell us in the online registration process.

Time4Learning is proven effective, has a low monthly price, and provides a money-back guarantee so you can be sure that it works for your family, risk free!

For more information or resources on the MCAS and Minnesota education, visit:
Minnesota Department of Education
Minnesota Homeschooling Information
Minnesota State Parent Forum

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