MCAs are the tests that happen every year in the spring. MCA stands for Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments. They are standardized tests to find how well individual students are doing, as well as how good district averages are. Starting in third grade, all students will take the reading and math tests. In addition to this, the 8th and 5th graders also take a science one. Last year they did not do the MCAs because of the COVID pandemic. This year, however, the tests have been scheduled and will be happening. The MCA tests shouldn’t take that long, but it’s different for every person taking this stressful and long test. Many people think that the MCAs are pointless tests that waste precious school learning time, others think they help students learn and remember the things they have learned over the school year.
These long boring tests are things that test what students have learned over the years. Though Sydney Larson, a 7th grader, believes that the MCAs are “Not all that bad,” most people would disagree with this statement. Most middle schoolers (grades 6-8) don’t like the MCA tests. This year, just a few weeks ago, the MCAs were planned, but because of the COVID outbreak, they had to reschedule the MCAs two weeks later than the original testing date. Mr. Strauss, the district assessment coordinator for Cannon Falls Middle and High School, is in charge of the organization and scheduling of these exams.
The Reading MCA is for grades 3rd-8th, and 10th; the Math MCA is for grades 3rd-8th, and 11th; the Science MCA is for grades 5th, 8th, and 10th. Barb Templin, a former eighth grade English teacher, states that, “I think there is a need for some assessment to help identify any problem areas in individual student’s learning, as well as being a guideline for schools and curriculum. However, I don’t believe how one performs on one test can accurately evaluate a student. These tests don’t measure student’s effort, creativity, or critical thinking skills. The test can be influenced by so many outside factors such as how tired or hungry a student is that day, or how stressed they may be taking a test. I believe the MCAs should be used as only one piece of student, school, or teacher evaluation.” Most people would agree with this assessment of the MCAs.