Test Prep

  • MCA (Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment) and MCA (Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment) and GRAD (Graduation-Required Assessment for Diploma) PREP


    Whats Included on the MCA High School Test:

    Reading MCA: You'll read both fiction and nonfiction such as poems, short stories or informational passages. To pass the reading test, you must show your ability to read and understand English passages that you'll run across when you're an adult. You must read a passage, such as a newspaper article, and then be able to:

    • identify the main idea and purpose
    • recognize supporting details
    • identify the meaning of words and phrases
    • recognize the author's point of view
    • draw logical conclusions
    • distinguish between fact and opinion

    Math MCA: You must be able to solve mathematical problems derived from typical situations in life, including how to:

    • solve problems involving whole numbers, fractions, decimals and integers
    • solve problems involving percents, rates, ratios and proportions
    • use concepts of number sense, place value and number relationships to compare, order and determine equivalence of whole numbers, fractions, decimals, percents and integers
    • use estimation in problem solving
    • apply measurement concepts
    • read, interpret and use tables, charts, maps and graphs to analyze data, identify patterns and make predictions
    • use elementary concepts of probability and statistics
    • apply geometric and spatial relationships

    Science MCA: You must know the basics of life science and the history and nature of science, including how to:

    • understand the nature of scientific ways of thinking and that scientific knowledge changes and accumulates over time
    • design and conduct a scientific investigation
    • understand the relationship between science and technology and how both are used
    • recognize the historical and cultural context of scientific endeavors and how they influence each other
    • comprehend that all living things are composed of cells, and that the life processes in a cell are based on molecular interactions
    • classify, compare and contrast the diversity of organisms on Earth
    • describe how the environment and interactions between organisms can affect the number of species and the diversity of species in an ecosystem
    • explain how inherited characteristics are encoded by genes
    • understand how biological evolution provides a scientific explanation for the fossil record of ancient life forms
    • describe and explain the cycling of matter and flow of energy through an ecosystem's living and non-living components
    • understand how all organ systems, including the nervous system, interact to maintain a state of equilibrium

    Written Composition MCA: You must write a clear message in English for an adult reader. Successful compositions must have:

    • a clearly stated message
    • supporting ideas related to the message
    • a clear connection among ideas
    • a logical beginning, middle and end
    • correct use of grammar, spelling and punctuation

    A passing paper is well organized and may only have minor mechanical or spelling errors. Results are based on the overall quality of the composition. A set of criteria (scoring rules) is used to determine if the composition meets the passing score.

     The scoring criteria focus on the following five characteristics of written composition:

    • clarity of central idea
    • coherent focus
    • organization
    • detail support or elaboration of ideas
    • language conventions (sentence formation, vocabulary, word order and other language mechanics)

    Source: http://www.getreadyforcollege.org/gPg.cfm?pageID=1836




    Even though all states don’t administer the MCA, they do administer similar tests.  Therefore, the following sites could be used to prepare our students for the MCA since the components are very similar:

    •  California High School Exit Exam  - HS Tutorials.net – interactive math, reading, writing samples: http://www.hstutorials.net/index.html
    • CT4me.net - "Harnessing the Power of Educational Technology for the Standards Movement" - provides a rich list of test prep sites from across the nation.  Many PDF and online versions of test samples.  Covers mainly math, but within most sites you can also find reading, writing and science samples: http://www.ct4me.net/standardized_test_preparation.htm
    • Illinois Standards Achievement Test – interactive math, reading, writing, science samples grades 3-8: http://metacat2.com/iltestlinks.html
    • LearningExpress Library Interactive Tests Prep (all levels) - you need to register using your public library cardnumberhttp://www.learnatest.com/LEL/index.cfm/general
    • National Center for Education Statistics - U.S. Dept. of Education Interactive tests in many areas.  Reading and math samples for grades 4 and 8.  Science, civics, U.S. History cover grades 4, 8 and 12.  Economics, music and visual arts no grade given:  http://nationsreportcard.gov/testyourself.asp
    • New York Regents Exam Interactive Test Prep Center : http://www.regentsprep.org/
    • Ohio Graduation Test - Reality Math - "What's the Problem" produced by Ohio University students parodies reality tv shows and presents critical thinking/problem solving math problems in 10-12 minute episodes for grades 8-10:http://www.woub.org/wtp/amazing_chase/index.htm
    • Virginia State Standards of Learning Science, Math and Technology samples grades 3-12 – interactive tests:               http://education.jlab.org/solquiz/index.html
    • Washington Assessment of Student Learning - math questions & answers provided for grades K-12 covering number sense, measurement, geometry, algebraic sense, probability and statistics, logic, and problem solving strategies. Students expected to write out how they arrived at the answers: http://www.pasd.wednet.edu/school/mathWASL/



    •  Chompchomp - interactive grammar practice:  http://www.chompchomp.com/
    • Superkids Vocabulary Builders - PSAT, SAT and more and Math exercises - elementary through high school. Select "vocabulary builders" or "math worksheets" in left columnhttp://superkids.com                                                                                   
    • Vocabsushi - builds skills for vocabulary portions of standardized and college entrance tests - available in interactive or printable form - for JH & HS - need to sign up but it's free:   VocabSushi.com
    • Vocabtest.com - interactive vocabulary tests for grades 6 - pre-college: http://www.vocabtest.com/
    • Vocabulary.com - interactive lessons in root words, thematic puzzles, word lists and test prep vocabulary: http://www.vocabulary.com/
    • UnivSource.com - interactive vocabulary builder for pre-college: http://www.univsource.com/vbbeta.php


    • Algebrahelp.com - interactive algebra worksheets: http://www.algebrahelp.com/worksheets/
    • That Quiz - K-12 students can select math practice tests (customized for their needs) with varying degrees of difficulty using integers, fractions, concepts (time, money, measurement, place value, graphs), geometry, algebra, calculus, probability,  and more.  Some are interactive and offer manipulatives (e.g., ruler, protractor).  Select to view in Spanish, if needed:  http://www.thatquiz.org/
    • SAT math practice problems:  http://freesatmath.com