MCA testing

Grace Miller discusses whether MCA’s are helpful or not.


Students taking a test

The students walk into the classroom, put their things on the floor and leave only their Chromebooks on the desks. The teacher begins the dreaded class with these words, “You will have 50 minutes to take this test. I will hand out your testing tickets and you can log in. Make sure that your name is at the top of the screen. Remember to take your time. Once you are logged in, you may begin.” Finally, the students begin the torturous MCA’s.

All middle and high school students know this as they hear this at least 6 days every year. Each MCA test usually takes 3 days at minimum. The reading and math MCA’s are something to be dreaded by nearly all students. Eighth grader Jessica Baszuro proclaims her hate of the MCA’s by stating that, “The MCA’s are the death of all good things in this world.” So what makes the MCA’s so widely hated? Ava Brokate says that “MCA’s are a waste of time, and I don’t need them to tell me that I am smart.” Furthermore, she says, “The only good thing about the MCA’s is the candy!”

The only thing that could even remotely be considered good about the MCA’s is that they could determine more material that is stressed in our high school classes. However for many people, they may know the material very well, but when they are put on the spot, their brain goes blank and they answer wrong. quotes, “It’s not clear exactly how many students have it, but severe test anxiety could affect as much as 20 percent of the school-going population.” Test anxiety can lead to lower test scores and therefore could not adequately show how much of the material the student actually knows. Should such high stress tests determine our high school classes? Senior Hannah Singewald says “I think that they should affect our high school classes because it tells the teachers what to work on. However, I think that students take them seriously enough.”

I think that students take them seriously enough”

— Hannah Singewald

Even though many middle schoolers may be thinking about what careers they may like, it is usually not set in stone. If you do well on the MCA’s, you may have more opportunities in high school, which has a snowball effect into college and potential careers. The pure weight of these tests are tremendous, and if we are having an off day, it may affect our classes three or more years from now.

According to, MCA’s are to “measure student achievement”. But for many people who are not as good at tests and quizzes, this is not an accurate way to “measure student achievement”. Wouldn’t overall grades that are not weighted by tests and quizzes be a better and more accurate solution to this widespread problem? Singewald says that “I think that that would be a good way to solve the problem.”

Although widespread dislike of the MCA’s is all across Minnesota, it is unlikely that the Minnesota Department of Education will change or remove the MCA’s; at least not anytime soon.