Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments

Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments

NEW and Effective for 2017-2018: Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) Used In Course Placement

2016 Minnesota legislation now enables college students to be placed into college-level courses based on their high school Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) scores. For students who attended a Minnesota high school and entering Minnesota State colleges and universities in the 2017-2018 academic year and beyond, scores from the grade 10 MCA Reading assessment and grade 11 MCA Math assessment will be used in the course placement process. Students who meet the designated MCA scores benchmark in a subject area, within the validation window, are not required to take a developmental level course in that subject area.

The table below shows the course type and scores for course placement:

Intended Course of Enrollment (or equivalent)

Enrollment in Developmental Course Unless Additional Information Indicates Otherwise*

Need More Information on Readiness*

Enrollment in College Level Course**


1041 and below


1047 and above

College Algebra

1151 and below


1158 and above


1145 and below


1148 and above

Liberal Arts Mathematics

1145 and below


1150 and above


* Additional college readiness measures for course placement purposes include ACT scores, SAT scores, or Accuplacer scores. In addition, a system college or university may use other college readiness measures according to institutionally-based criteria. A college or university shall specify the type(s) of additional evidence that will be considered and the processes that will be used to make the decision.

** Students who obtained the MCA benchmarks in the upper ranges are not required to take the Accuplacer in reading and mathematics and can enroll in college-level courses in those subject areas.

High school MCA scores are not used for writing course placements. Students who want to enroll in courses that require college-level writing as a pre-requisite must demonstrate academic readiness in writing with ACT scores, SAT scores, or Accuplacer scores. 


Validation Window for MCA Scores

Legislation requires that a state college or university must not require an individual to take a developmental education course in a subject area if the individual has met a college-ready MCA, ACT, and SAT benchmark in that subject area in the previous five years. For any student enrolling for fall of 2017, grade 10 MCA Reading scores from 2013 or later and grade 11 MCA Mathematics scores from 2014 or later can be considered. MCA Reading scores from 2012 and earlier and MCA Mathematics scores from 2013 and earlier result from different MCA test versions and the Minnesota State college ready benchmarks do not account for those test versions. If students have MCA test scores from these earlier dates, campuses would use additional measures to determine college readiness. Current high school seniors entering fall 2017 can use their MCA scores from their 10th grade reading (2015) and 11th grade mathematics (2016).


Submitting MCA Scores

For MCA scores to be considered in the course placement process, students must request that official scores be sent from the high school to the college/university. Students can accomplish this in two ways: 1) communicate directly with their high school on their own and request MCA scores to be sent to the college/university; or 2) sign a release on the High School Transcript Release of Information Form on the Minnesota State online application and send it to the high school for the MCA scores to be released to the college/university.

The following are resources for secondary schools:

These FAQs will be updated periodically as additional questions and responses arise.

Greg Rathert
System Director of P-20 and College Readiness