Insight News

Feb 06th

Using Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) data to help my child be successful?

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Did reading that sentence make your head spin?  Well spin no more, there is help

Did you receive your child's MCA scores in the mail recently from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE)?  You should have if your child is in the third grade or higher.  What did you do when you looked at the data?    Did you look at the graph chart and say to yourself, what am I supposed to do with this information?  I want to help my child but where do I begin?  What can I do at home?  I, too, struggle even though I consider myself to be a fairly knowledgeable person.

When I opened the envelope that came from the school, I just assumed that it was another letter telling me about the bus route, a thirty page lunch form, or a reminder that I need to bring 10 boxes of tissue and 240 sharpened pencils to the open house.  To my surprise it was a letter that explained how I can help my child be more successful by using the test data from the MCA’s?   I was ecstatic.

I began to play with the information, even calling my neighbor and getting her children’s MCA data so I could compare notes. I had a great time playing around with it.

You too can learn more about how to help your child by following the directions below:

Start by visiting the Perspective for Families website at
(this information is also located at the bottom of your childs MDE student report)

On the Perspective for Families home page, enter your students learning locator into the code box (this number is located on the front page of the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments- Series II student report that came in the mail recently). If you do not have the report call your child’s school and ask for assistance.  Then click the show materials button.

Select a strand on the left side of the page by clicking on the desired strand.

Click on any resource.  Some may be printed and some are interactive.

Click the close button to exit a resource and return to the main page where you can click another strand.

It was amazing.  My children played with the worksheets and interactive website and they actually enjoyed it.  I felt better as a parent because now I, too, could use the data that is constantly talked about at school conferences, school open houses, and district forums and understand what all the information is about.  You can even visit your local library if you don’t have a computer and give your child the opportunity to improve their knowledge and skills.  What a great way to start the new year.

Sonal Desai Redd is the Associate Director for the Center for School Change at Macalester College.  She can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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