At your service...

Contact us via email or call us in-state toll-free between 9:00am and 5:00pm MT at 1.888.231.9393, Local 406.444.3095

Have a Media Inquiry?
Contact, Communications Director, 406.444.3160


Questions or concerns about this webpage?
Please contact the OPI Help Desk at or 406.444.0087


MontCAS Montana Comprehensive Assessment System

Welcome to the Montana Comprehensive Assessment System

This site provides information and tools that System Test Coordinators and schools need to administer Montana statewide assessments.

MontCAS: Things to Know and Do 2016-17

Are you a NEW System Test Coordinator? Please click here.
Are you an EXISTING System Test Coordinator and need to update your contact information? Please click here.


2017-18 Assessment Calendar


Field Test Administration, Accommodations, Accessibility
and other General Assessment Questions:

Jessica Eilertson
Assessment Director

Pam Birkeland
Assessment Special Projects

Yvonne Field
Assessment Specialist

Paula Schultz
Smarter Balanced Accommodations Lead

Marcy Fortner
Administrative Assistant

Ashley McGrath
NAEP State Coordinator



The Smarter Balanced assessment is an online, computer adaptive assessment in English Language Arts, Literacy and Mathematics that is aligned to the Montana Common Core Standards.



The ISAAP (Individual Student Accessibility Assessment Profile) is intended for gathering information regarding designated supports and accommodations for the Smarter Balanced summative assessment. The tool is specifically designed for compiling information for ART, but it cannot be used to upload the information into ART.

ISSAP Individual Student Accessibility Assessment Profile – This tool is a resource for IEP and 504 plan teams to create an Individual Assessment Accessibility Profile (ISAAP).

Introduction to ISAAP – This Smarter Balanced Digital Library Module will show how Smarter Balanced generates results that are a fair and accurate estimate of each student’s achievement. The module offers an overview of the Smarter Balanced Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines, the Individual Student Assessment Accessibility Profile (ISAAP) Process, and the ISAAP Tool. Smarter Balanced suggests a process and tool by which each student’s need(s) can be matched with appropriate Universal Tools, Designated Supports, and/or Accommodations. States, districts, or schools can use the ISAAP if they feel it is helpful. This module also includes three orientations to familiarize educators with the Smarter Balanced Assessment System, the assessment literacy modules of the Digital Library, and the Formative Assessment Process. ​​Please note that to view all module components in your browser, pop-ups must be enabled.

ISAAP Tool Instructions – This document explains how to use the ISAAP tool.




What is SBAC?

SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium
A Summary of Core Components

To help achieve the goal that all students leave high school ready for college and careers, the Office of Public Instruction joined the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), a 31-state organization charged with developing an assessment system for the Montana Common Core Standards in English Language Arts, Literacy and Mathematics.

The SBAC system will:

  • Align with the Montana Common Core Standards;
  • Focus on supporting teachers' instructional practice and implementation of new standards;
  • Provide a comprehensive reporting system on classroom practices and student progress for teachers, administrators, students and parents;
  • Ensure every student is able to show what they know and can do to meet new standards; and
  • Offer classroom formative assessment processes and tools, as well as computer adaptive interim and summative assessments.

Formative Assessment Processes take place in the classroom to determine a student's learning needs, check for understanding and/or to provide evidence of progress toward learning goals.

Interim Assessments take place after a particular segment of learning such as a chapter or unit of study.

Summative Assessments are required, occur near the end of the school year, and the results are collected by the Office of Public Instruction to provide a comprehensive set of data on student achievement at the school, district and state levels.



The Science Criterion-Referenced Test (CRT) is aligned to Montana Content Standards. The Sci-ence Criterion-Referenced Test– Alternate (CRT-ALT) is aligned to Alternative Achievement Standards (AAS). Students in grades 4, 8, and 10 will take the Science CRT. Students with significant cognitive disabilities in grades 4, 8, and 10 will take the CRT-Alt.

Assessment/Data Conference 2016 - Using the Score Report Modules in the Digital Library

Student Results
Printed individual student reports will be mailed from Measured Progress to Test Coordinators for distribution to parents/ guardians. Systems can expect to receive them in early September.




There is no technology information for this assessment.


CRT Development

CRT Alignment

Two external alignment studies have been conducted of MontCAS, Phase 2, the Criterion-Referenced Test (CRT) and Montana content standards.

August 2002
The Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory ( NWREL) prepared an alignment study of the foundation of the Montana CRT and Montana content standards prior to the development of the Montana CRT.   The foundation of the Montana CRT is a bank of items from Measured Progress, the CRT testing company.   These items are named Progress Towards Standards (PTS).   The alignment study conducted by NWREL provided the information for augmenting the PTS items with items specifically developed in Montana by Montana educators. (need to link)






The Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA) is a new online alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards that address the inclusion of Montana’s students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in the MCCS.

MSAA Website

Date Activity
TBD OPI prepares and uploads student file to the test platform
TBD System open for STCs to access trainings and see registered students
TBD Materials Shipment Arrives at Districts
March 27 - May 12, 2017 Test Administration Window
TBD (Tentative Mid-August, 2017) Results Reports Available Online

Sample items can be found on the MSAA Website. They are available in an online and PDF format. ELA Sample items are currently available for grades 4, 8, and 11. Math sample items are available for grades 3, 6, and 11. Available assessment features for the online sample items include alternate color themes, answer masking, audio player, line reader, and magnification.




A well designed summative assessment alone is insufficient.

NCSC Framework


All partners share a commitment to the research - to - practice
focus of the project and the development of a comprehensive model of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and supportive professional development.

Key Ideas


  • Assessment Triangle (Pellegrino, Chudowsky, & Glaser, 2001)
  • College - and career-readiness for SSCD
  • Evidence-centered design
  • Balancing standardization and flexibility (Gong & Marion, 2006)


The Timeline:


  • Learning Progressions • Curricular modules
  • Big ideas/enduring understandings and
    prioritization of content
  • Alignment • Entry points


  • Communities of Practice
  • Scaling up use of CCSS-aligned academic curriculum
  • Communication by Kindergarten/Communication Triage
  • Technology and training




In addition to the participation of limited English proficient (LEP) students in the statewide CRT assessment, an annual assessment of English language proficiency (ELP) for limited English proficient students is required.

WIDA Website

ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Assessment Management System

Montana's English Language Learners: Guidance for School Districts

  • WIDA Website
    • Test Administration Training
    • Access W-APT (ELP Screening Assessment)
    • Curriculum, Assessment, Professional Development, Teacher Resources
    • Some areas require log in, talk to your System Test Coordinator
  • WIDA Assessment Management System
    • Log in required
    • Test Management site
    • Access digital results reports
    • Technology setup/training resources for ACCESS for ELLs 2.0
    • Sample items

ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Webinars/Q & A Sessions 2016–17

ACCESS 2.0 Administration Dates (2016-2017)
Pre-Testing Testing Specifics Start Date End Date
Deadline to update LEP status in AIM 10/3/16 10/28/16
Pre ID Files to WIDA- OPI Staff 10/28/16 10/28/16
WIDA AMS Test Setup Available 11/4/16 2/1/17
Districts Receive Test Materials (On) 11/29/16 1/25/17
During Testing Test Window 12/7/16 2/1/17
Additional Test Material Window in AMS 11/19/16 1/25/17
Post-Testing Deadline for Shipping Completed Test Material to DRC 2/8/17 2/8/17
Districts Receive Reports - Printed and Online (On) 4/21/17 4/21/17


Both the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) require that all students participate in statewide assessments.  This includes all students who receive special education services no matter what their disability or level of service.  All students, including students with IEPs, identified at the time of statewide testing as Limited English Proficient (LEP) must be accounted for when the assessment results are reported to the Department of Education (ED) and calculated for Annual Measureable Achievement Objectives (AMAOs).   


Sample items are available on the WIDA website, accessible with a WIDA user account login.




Test Administration Manuals are available on the WIDA website, accessible with a WIDA user account login.


ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Webinars/Q & A Sessions 2016–17

2016 English Language Proficiency (ELP) Webinars
Month Offering Delivery Method

Registration/Links for Webinars

1-3 PM

ELP Kickoff Webinar:
Identification/Assessment Overview
New Paper Screener Options
Webinar Directions:
Click on link (Survey is available starting 1 hr. prior to the webinar)
Complete Survey
You will be redirected to the webinar page.
TBD-Fall Teaching and Assessing ELs
9/26/16-9/27/16 Interpreting Score Reports for Instruction and Differentiation   Interpreting Score Reports for Instruction and Differentiation
To register contact: 
Joan Franke
10/20/16-10/21/16 ELP 101:
Assessment Overview
Montana ELP Data
  MEA/MFT Educators Conference


World-Class Instruction Design and Assessment (WIDA) Consortium

The World-Class Instruction Design and Assessment (WIDA) Consortium is a coalition of state departments of education that acts in collaboration to research, design and implement a standards-based educational system that promotes equitable educational opportunities for students with Limited English Proficiency in pre-kindergarten through grade twelve.  As a member of WIDA, OPI will be a member of the governing board that makes decisions about test development and research to improve both the instruction and assessment of LEP students.  More information about WIDA is online at

Montana educators have access to:

  • W-APT, a placement test for determining appropriate initial placement of students with limited English Proficiency 
  • WIDA professional development opportunities scheduled through OPI
  • Research resources to inform state policy decisions
  • Member pricing on WIDA products, such as the resource guides
  • WIDA Help Desk
  • Serving on Consortium-wide committees, such as item review teams
  • On-line test administrator training







The OPI has a critical need to find panelists for Montana’s high school assessment peer review process to align Montana’s standards to the ACT per federal requirements. The panel will convene in Helena on September 21st and 22nd. Please help the OPI find interested participants to serve on the peer review panel. This work will be greatly appreciated and will benefit all Montana schools and communities.

We are hoping for a diverse group of applicants to serve on the panel, including but not limited to: parents, business leaders, students, and other interested community and education leaders. The ACT is an important resource for Montana students to be college ready. College, career, and community readiness is important to Montana! The OPI promises to continue making the ACT as accessible as possible for our high school students.

Please see the attached application formfor additional information.

My Access
Through the GEAR UP Grant, Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) has purchased 4,000 student licenses for the MY Access! writing application. MY Access! is a web-based, cross-curricular writing program from Vantage Learning.
Contact Judy Snow at 406.444.3511 or if your school is interested in taking advantage of this opportunity.

Please submit your My Access writing application online by November 18, 2015.


ACT Testing: Montana
This site provides many resources to help educators administer the ACT with Writing test including, but not limited to a Schedule of Events, Forms, Manuals and Supplements, Training and Customer Service contacts.




No technology information for this assessment.


ACT Testing: Montana
This site provides many resources to help educators administer the ACT with Writing test including, but not limited to a Schedule of Events, Forms, Manuals and Supplements, Training and Customer Service contacts.

ACT OPI Webinar March 3, 2016Revised



Assessment Newsletters and Updates

Welcome to the OPI Assessment Division newsletter. The newsletter is published monthly during the school year to announce important assessment and data events. It provides up-to-date information necessary for the standardized administration of statewide assessments and the accompanying data.

Subscribe to our news HERE.

Are you a new system test coordinator? Are you a superintendent who has a new system test coordinator? Click here to let us know

2017-18 Assessment Calendar



OPI Assessment and Data Conference 2018

February 8-9, 2018, Red Lion Hotel & Convention Center, Billings
February 12-13, 2018, Radisson Colonial Hotel, Helena

Sign up to sponsor the 2018 Assessment & Data Conference!
Take this opportunity to reach Montana educators and administrators!
We anticipate over 500 of Montana’s finest educators, assessment and curriculum directors, administrators, special education and special education cooperative directors, and informational technology staff.
Sponsorship perks: with your sponsorship of $500 or more, you will receive

  • Acknowledgement during our keynote presentations
  • Recognition in conference materials
  • Registration and meals for your representatives at the conference
  • Free exhibition space

Not able to sponsor this year? Take advantage of a vendor space. Vendor space is $150 to include registration and meals for up to two representatives.

For more information, please contact Marcy at 406.444.3511 or

Learn to:

  • Administer the statewide assessments
  • Meet student needs in administering the statewide assessments
  • Use assessment results to inform instruction
  • Use data to better understand your students and your school

Intended Audience:

  • Curriculum Directors
  • Test Coordinators
  • Department/Grade Level Chairs
  • Teachers
  • Staff responsible for entering data into AIM