Standardized Testing at MNOHS

MNOHS does its best to keep standardized testing to a minimum. However, as a public charter high school, state law requires us to administer standardized tests at four different points in the year for different reasons. Mostly, these tests are designed to measure MNOHS as a school, not you as a student. There is no such thing as failing these tests—but doing your best on them can help you in several ways, including financially.

If you choose MNOHS as your district, you are required to participate in these tests, with very few exceptions. You will be reminded about each one, so please follow any email instructions you receive from us about testing.

If you have a question that is not answered below, please contact our District Assessment Coordinator, Adrianna Black Bull: a.blackbull@mail.mnohs.org

MCA – Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments – March and April – Grades 10 and 11

What: As a public high school, MNOHS is required to give the MCAs in spring. 10th graders take Reading and 11th graders take Math. Those in both grades who haven’t taken a high school science test, take Science. As a parent/guardian, you may opt your student out of MCA testing.

Why: The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) uses these tests for federal and state accountability measures – that is, to find out how well school are teaching students. Students who receive a college-ready score on the high school MCA are not required to take a remedial, noncredit course at a Minnesota State college or university in the corresponding subject area, potentially saving time and money. (Please note that ACT, SAT and Accuplacer college-ready scores are also accepted by Minnesota State colleges and universities—see the sections about these college readiness exams below.)

Where: The MCA tests can be taken in person at the MNOHS office in St. Paul, or at a few public locations across MN. There is no remote option available.

When: The tests are given in March and April. A survey will be sent to parents/guardians during January to sign up for a testing date and location.

More info: If your student is required to take one or more of the MCA tests in Spring 2023, click here for more information or to opt-out.

ACT – College readiness test – April (or June) – Grade 11 (or 12)

What: All MNOHS students are expected to complete a college readiness exam in 11th or 12th grade, to support post-secondary planning. We highly encourage you to take the ACT Plus Writing exam. MNOHS also offers the Accuplacer for students planning to enroll in a two-year college. To decide which test is right for you, please see the comparison table at the bottom of this page.

Why: ACT can help you with post-secondary planning, placement in courses once you get to college, and access to scholarships and other opportunities.

Where: ACT Plus Writing can be taken at a national test center near you. Most of the time, this is the local high school. There is no remote option available.

When: There is a single national test date, the second Saturday in April. If you enroll at MNOHS in Quarter 4, there is a makeup date on the second Saturday in June.

Also: If you have never taken ACT, MNOHS will reimburse you after you complete the test. If you are eligible for educational benefits (also called free and reduced lunch or FRL), ACT will pay for you to take the test up to two times.

Because of challenges facing students during the pandemic, many colleges and universities, including the University of Minnesota system, and the Minnesota State system, and several private colleges have waived standardized test requirements for admissions. Please check with your intended post-secondary institution to see if they require the SAT or ACT for admissions. Keep in mind that if you’re a freshman or sophomore that these policies might change by the time you’re a senior.

Even if they are not required, or if you have not decided about college, these tests can help you to know your academic strengths and needs, and to qualify for certain scholarships. Additionally, if you feel that your course grades do not show your abilities as well as the ACT or SAT test score might, then consider taking the as an additional way to show the colleges your capabilities.

If you have questions about college applications or specific admissions requirements, please contact your MNOHS school counselor.

Star – Placement and progress monitoring at MNOHS – Fall and Spring – All grades

What and where: These math and reading tests were chosen by MNOHS because they can be taken online at home with a parent or guardian present to act as a proctor, and on your own time. They take about a half hour each, and you can stop and restart them if you need to.

When: Star Reading and Math are given twice per year: in the fall (or when you enter MNOHS) and in the spring.

Why: We use the fall/entrance tests to better understand your learning needs and to determine course placement. We use the spring tests to measure students’ learning growth, which we are required to report to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and to Pillsbury United Communities (PUC), our charter school authorizer.

Also: Student growth is reported as a percent of all students taking the test, so we never report your name. If you are interested in seeing your own growth charts, your MNOHS school counselor can share them with you.

Accuplacer – Alternate college readiness test – By appointment

What: Accuplacer is a test used at many Minnesota two-year colleges. You can take it as a MNOHS student to check your college readiness.

Why: Like ACT, Accuplacer can help you with post-secondary planning and placement in courses once you get to college.

Where: MNOHS can proctor Accuplacer online, through remote (Zoom) testing–by appointment. Accuplacer requires the student to share their screen and web camera throughout the exam, to ensure test security. 

Also: If you are interested in learning about Accuplacer, please contact Adrianna Black Bull at a.blackbull@mail.mnohs.org.


Comparison of College Readiness Tests

Each of the tests described in this table can be used to determine whether you can start college with college-level courses anywhere in the Minnesota State system.

Test Name:ACTAccuplacerMCA
Timed test?Yes, but extended time application available for some documented health conditionsNoNo
Subjects tested:5 (English, Math, Reading, Science, Writing)3 (Reading, Writing, Math)Varies by student grade level but generally 1-2 subjects per school year
Where do I test?National test center near you – usually the local high school, on a SaturdayMNOHS office, or a library near your home – or at a MN State school after graduating high schoolMNOHS office or a designated location near your home
What colleges and universities use this test?2-year and 4-year schools (primarily in the Midwest region)2-year schools onlyMinnesota State schools only
Is there a cost for this test?Yes, but MNOHS will reimburse you after we receive your score. We will give you a prepaid voucher if you qualify for educational benefits.NoNo
Scores required by Minnesota State colleges and universities to avoid needing remedial courses (as of 2017):Reading: 21
English: 18
Math: 22
Reading: 78
Writing: 86
Math: 76 in Algebra portion and 50 in College Math portion
Reading: 1047
Math (College Algebra): 1158
Math (Statistics): 1148
Math (Liberal Arts Math): 1150
How long is my score good for?Minnesota State: 5 years
Others: Varies by school
Minnesota State: 2 years (Math), 3 years (Reading/Writing)Minnesota State: 5 years
Can I take this test after I finish high school?Yes, but you cannot be reimbursed for the feeYes, after enrolling at a Minnesota State college or universityNo
Test Name:ACTAccuplacerMCA

Nationally accredited online learning for grades 9-12

Minnesota Online High School

MNOHS is a public charter school for students in grades 9-12 (and younger students who are ready for high-school) who need a flexible schedule.  We offer full-time and part time enrollment.

2314 University Ave W Suite 10
Saint Paul, MN 55114-1863

Phone: 1-800-764-8166
Fax: 1-866-586-2870

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