Student Participation & Eligibility

In Montana, state law and accreditation require all students to participate in the Board-approved grades and content specific statewide assessments. The expectation for 100% participation may seem unrealistic for all schools and all students, so as a local-control state, the OPI relies on districts to work towards student inclusion to the fullest extent possible. In rare occasions where a student is unable to participate in the assessments, the school must document these circumstances according to the OPI participation policies and report them in the MontCAS Application .


  1. Six Things Stakeholders Should Know About Participation and Testing in Montana - The purpose of this document is to ensure that readers are aware of the significant value to stakeholders (e.g., students, parents/guardians, teachers, school leaders, and others) of the information derived from participating in state-level tests. 
  2. Statewide Assessment Participation and Registration Guide - This guide explains participation policies and registration processes for the Montana Comprehensive Assessment System (MontCAS).  
  3. MontCAS Guidelines for Including All Students - A short overview of how to include all students in statewide assessments.
  4. Student Participation in MontCAS Assessments - A quick, one-page guide outlining who participates in each of the statewide assessments.
  5. Eligibility Criteria Worksheet for Alternate Assessments - Information and form to assist IEP teams in determining whether a student should participate in the alternate assessments.
  6. Eligibility and Identification Criteria for English Learners This document assists STCs with understanding the decision-making process and MontCAS criteria used to inform EL Specialists in the criteria for being considered an EL.
  7. Meaningful Participation in Statewide Assessments Training - This training focuses on increasing educator knowledge about federal requirements and options for participation in statewide assessments.
  8. OPI Parent Notice Letter Customization Checklist - This checklist provides guidance on how to customize the OPI Parent Notice Letter.
  9. OPI Parent Notice Letter Template - This template letter can be used as guidance to communicate with parents/guardians in advance of testing per Administrative Rules for Montana (ARM10.56.102(6)).
  10. OPI Score Report Parent Letter Template - This letter template can be used by schools to send home with individual score reports to inform parents about the importance of the statewide assessments.

References to state and federal participation laws:

Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM) 10.56

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

The restricted-use MontCAS Application allows school officials to report non-participation for proper identification within Montana's state accountability system and federal reporting.