Minnesota's alternate assessment, the Minnesota Test of Academic Skills (MTAS), is the standards-based accountability assessment designed for, and limited to, students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. It is designed to measure student progress toward Minnesota's academic standards and meet the requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Students who receive special education services and meet the eligibility criteria may take the MTAS. Download the MTAS Eligibility Requirements.
Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015, the alternate assessment participation rate in each state may not exceed 1% of all students tested in any subject. To learn more about the federal regulations, Minnesota’s current participation rates, and what the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has done to support districts, read the Overview of the One Percent Cap and Alternate Assessment Participation in Minnesota.
The Assurance, Rationale and Context (ARC) is the MTAS district assurance process created by MDE. The purpose of the ARC response is to provide a communication tool between Minnesota districts and MDE that assures each district is identifying the most appropriate assessment for each student. Special education directors, district assessment coordinators, special education case managers, and other key district staff should be included in conversations about the completion of the ARC response.