Student Resources

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) requires that districts ensure that all students are familiar with the test they will be taking and are able to successfully navigate within the test, use the online tools and accessibility features, and respond to different item types. Each district determines which and how resources will be used, based on student familiarity and experience with the test. Decisions on resources to use may vary by school, grade or student.

While these resources are useful for preparing students for testing, they are not meant to be used as practice tests or be predictive of student performance. Daily instruction aligned to the Minnesota Academic Standards is what prepares students for the content in the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) and Minnesota Test of Academic Skills (MTAS) tests.


Student resources for MCA and MTAS are available on PearsonAccess Next under Preparing for Testing.

The student tutorial and item samplers are two student resources that have different purposes:

  • The student tutorial is used to familiarize students and educators with the general functionality of the online test, including navigation, tools and test item types. The student tutorial is available only for the online MCA.
  • The item samplers are used to familiarize students and educators with how the content is presented in the test. Item samplers are available for the online MCA (with and without available accommodations and linguistic supports), MCA paper-accommodated test materials, and MTAS.
Both the student tutorial and item samplers have Teacher Guides with additional information for educators. See the Purpose of Student Resources for more information, including frequently asked questions. Stand-alone calculators and formula sheets are also available to allow students to practice using them outside of the tests.


Several resources are available on the WIDA website to help students prepare for ACCESS test administration. MDE expects districts to ensure students have had a chance to use the Test Practice and Sample Items so they are familiar with the test format, item types and tools prior to test administration.

  • The Test Practice items can be used to familiarize students with the test format of ACCESS for ELLs. These items are very easy but will help students become familiar with the test environment.
  • The Sample Items can be used to familiarize students with the content and grade-level appropriate language development expectations. These items are representative of the item difficulty a student will experience on the actual test.