What is the OLPA?
The Optional Local Purpose Assessment (OLPA) is available in reading for students in grades
3–8 and 10 and in mathematics for students in grades 3–8. It provides a risk-free environment
for students to familiarize themselves with online testing and provides teachers with information
to target instruction before the reading and mathematics MCA tests used for accountability in the
spring. The OLPA uses Minnesota-specific items.
The grades 3–8 and 10 Reading OLPA are fixed-form tests developed using the same test
specifications used for the online Reading MCA. The online assessment contains traditional
multiple-choice items along with technology-enhanced items where students use the capabilities
of the computer to manipulate reading content, such as demonstrating a sequence of actions or
events, making connections between a cause and its effect, and choosing supporting details of
a main idea.
The grades 3–8 Mathematics OLPA uses the same adaptive algorithm used for the online
Mathematics MCA. This means that the mathematics test adjusts to each student’s skills. Every
time a student answers a question, the response helps to determine the next question that the
student must answer. This testing method provides a more precise measure of students’ skills
and knowledge. Although each student answers different test questions, the OLPA only
assesses the standards for that subject and grade level. The online assessment contains
traditional multiple-choice items along with technology-enhanced items where students use the
capabilities of the computer to select one or more points on a graph, drag and drop an object
from one location to another, or manipulate a graph.