Monday, March 3, 2014 6:05 AM



The MCA testing window begins on March 10th and runs through early May.  This year, the three content areas of reading, math and science will be assessed in an online format.

2013- 2014 MCA Testing Schedule

Math 3rd - 8th, 11th March 10th-May 9th

Reading 3rd - 8th, 10th March 10th-May 9th

Science 5th, 8th, at the completion of biology March 17th-May 16th

Tips for Students

Preparing for Tests:

  • Maintain good study habits
  • Tell your parents about schoolwork and homework.
  • Follow directions.
  • Get a good night’s rest and eat a good breakfast before testing.
  • Set goals. Make and follow a plan to meet the goals you have set. Share your goals with your parents and teachers.
  • Take responsibility for classwork and homework.
  • Ask questions at school and home to ensure you understand material.
  • Ask for additional help when needed.
  • Practice strategies that will help you do well so they are automatic when you are taking tests.
  • Ask your teacher to identify a particular area of focus that would help your performance.
  • Think positively!

During Tests:

  • Read and pay careful attention to all directions.
  • Survey the items and questions to get an idea of the task(s) ahead.
  • Reread the parts of the passage(s) or problems the help you to select the best answer.
  • Read every possible answer – the last one could be the best one!
  • Decide exactly what the question is asking and find evidence in the text to support it.
  • Skip difficult questions. Then, go back & use good strategies to figure out the trickier ones.
  • Keep a good attitude. Think positively!
  • When you finish each section, take time to go back and check your work.
  • Don’t make uneducated guesses.
  • Try to get the correct answer by reasoning and eliminating wrong answers.

After Tests:

  • Examine your test scores; ask the teacher to explain your test scores if needed.
  • Congratulate yourself on identified areas of strength.
  • Identify areas of weakness which you want to improve for a better performance next time.
  • Ask your teacher to suggest areas of study that will help you perform better on the next text.
  • Set new goals. Make and follow a plan to meet your new goals.  Share your goals with your parents and teachers.

Tips for Parents

Preparing for Tests:

  • Note test dates on your home calendar; schedule appointments on non-testing days.
  • Encourage your child to take responsibility for homework and class study.
  • Encourage your child to ask questions at home and in class.
  • Get to know your child’s teachers.
  • Attend parent-teacher conferences.
  • Confer with teachers on a regular basis.
  • Help your child to set realistic, yet ambitious goals. Support them in reaching their goals.
  • Gather available test preparation materials and information.
  • Assure your child knows that you value a good education.
  • Praise your child’s efforts.  Recognize hard work and persistence, particularly when facing difficult tasks.

Day of Test:

  • Ensure your child is well rested and eats a healthy breakfast.
  • Make sure your child arrives at school on time.
  • Encourage your child to do their best work and to be persistent.
  • Do not remove your child from school on test days for appointments.
  • Maintain calmness about tests.  They are small portions of a child’s overall education and performance.
  • Ask your child how they are feeling about the upcoming test.  Do your best to calm any anxieties.
  • If your child is experiencing anxiety, communicate this to the teacher so the teacher can work to alleviate test anxiety.

After Testing:

  • Ask your child about the test.
  • Examine any reports that are sent home and share them, as appropriate with your child.
  • Determine areas of strength and weakness.
  • Share your child’s areas of strength and help them make a plan to address any weaknesses.
  • Talk with the teacher if other information is needed.
  • Support your child in setting and achieving new goals.

Test Anxiety

How Students Can Alleviate Test Anxiety:

  • Share your feelings of anxiety with parents and teachers.
  • Think of the test as the opportunity to show what you know.
  • Review homework and materials which pertain to test topics.
  • Relax, breathe deeply and stay focused on the test.
  • Remember, the test is only one way your academic performance is measured.
  • Think positively. Think of other times you were successful when facing a challenge.

How Parents Can Alleviate Test Anxiety:

  • Discuss the test openly and in a positive way.
  • Have realistic expectations of your child’s performance while encouraging his/her best efforts.
  • Emphasize that the test is only one measure of academic performance.
  • Emphasize that test scores do not determine a person’s worth.
  • Help your child identify times they were anxious or faced challenges that had positive results.

How Teachers Can Alleviate Test Anxiety:

  • Discuss the purpose of the test and how it can help students progress academically.
  • Have realistic expectations of students’ performance while encouraging students to do their best.
  • Allow students to express their anxiety verbally or in writing.
  • Be careful not to over emphasize the importance of the test.

Students may experience anxiety about tests and may experience heightened anxiety before a testing situation. A certain degree of anxiety is normal and may help teachers prepare more effectively, work more efficiently, and remain focused during testing. Too much anxiety, however, can negatively affect performance. The following strategies may assist students, parents, and teachers in reducing anxiety.

Below is a process that can help you be successful on any test, but especially on the MCAIIIs.

M - Mind & materials ready

  • Breathe, stay calm, remember your goal
  • Make sure you have scratch paper, sharpened pencil, and allowed tools

P - Prepare to succeed

  • Think positive thoughts – Remember times you were successful!
  • Think about all you’ve learned to prepare yourself

S - Survey the items & questions

  • Look over the title, the passage(s)/items, and the questions
  • Identify information that will help you be successful, such as genre, graphic features, math needed

R - Read & re-read

  • Go back to the passage or item to identify key information
  • Use evidence from the text (reading)

E - Evaluate what is being asked

  • Identify what the question is asking and make a plan to solve it

A - Action – Use strategies & tools

  • Apply good test taking strategies such as eliminating wrong answers
  • Read and annotate

D - Display persistence

  • Don’t give up – Keep working at it!

Y - (Why?) Prove your answer

  • Make sure you have support for your answer

! - You’ve GOT this!

A Process for Success

*Information from the MPS teaching and learning department 2014