Free MontCAS Practice Test

All students in Montana in grades 3-8 and 10 must take the Montana Comprehensive Assessment System (MontCAS). The MontCAS uses a program of criterion-referenced tests to assess student achievement and progress in mathematics, reading, and science. These tests were created so that the assessment is directly aligned with standards developed by the state of Montana. In other words, students taking the exam are not competing against each other but rather are being judged by pre-existing standards of knowledge and achievement.

The MontCAS is important in recognizing individual student achievement, but it also factors into the measurement of adequate yearly progress at each school or school district. This is a federal requirement as a result of the No Child Left Behind Act, and one of its goals is that 100 percent of students be deemed proficient in reading and mathematics by the year 2014.

Testing in reading and mathematics takes place for all students in grades 3 through 8. Science assessments are given in grades 4 and 8. Tenth grade students take the assessments in reading, mathematics, and science.

All questions in the reading assessment are in either a multiple-choice or constructed-response format. Students will be required to answer questions based on provided literary and/or informational passages. A total of 78 questions are asked, though only 52 count towards the score (students will not know which questions will count and which will not). Questions in the mathematics assessment are in a multiple-choice, short-answer, or constructed-response format. Students will be provided with reference sheets that contain formulas, rulers, or protractors, depending on the grade level. A total of 73 questions will be asked; students will be scored on 60 of them. Questions in the science assessment are in a multiple- choice or constructed-response format. There are 78 questions and students are scored on 53 of them.

In the reading assessment, students are assessed on their ability to construct meaning as they respond to readings presented to them and will apply a wide variety of strategies in responding to questions. In the mathematics assessment, students are expected to be proficient in the areas of problem solving, numbers and operations, algebraic concepts, geometry, measurement, data analysis, statistics, statistics, and finally patterns, relations, and functions. In the science assessment, students will be tested on the scientific investigation processes, physical science, life science, earth and space science, the impact of science, and the historical development of science.

All students are given one of four proficiency levels: advanced, proficient, nearing proficient, or novice. For those who do not score at or above the proficient level, MontCAS results will help to determine the specific areas in which a student may need more instruction inside or perhaps outside of the classroom.

Starting in the spring of 2014, Montana was allowed to substitute the assessments in reading and math given to students in grades 3 through 8 and 10 with the Smarter Balanced Field Test, given instead to students in grades 3 through 8 and 11. Some aspects of the Smarter Balanced Field Test are taken on the computer and are proctored as a Computer Adaptive Test. With this type of test, the computer program adjusts the difficulty of questions based on how many questions were answered correctly and how difficult those questions were. A field test is not a test of individual students, but rather a test of the test. It is a practice run to ensure that the new assessments are valid, reliable, and fair. If deemed to be all three of those, all students may take the new test in the future.

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Last Updated: 03/01/2017


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