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.


MontCAS Guidelines for Including All Students - A short overview of how to include all students in statewide assessments.

Student Participation in MontCAS Assessments - A quick, one-page guide outlining who participates in each of the statewide assessments.

Eligibility Criteria Worksheet for Alternate Assessments - Information and form to assist IEP teams in determining whether a student should participate in the alternate assessments.

Meaningful Participation in Statewide Assessments Training - This training focuses on increasing educator knowledge about federal requirements and options for participation in statewide assessments.

References to state and federal participation laws:

Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM) 10.56.101

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

The OPI requires all students who are unable to participate in the statewide assessments to be reported in the MontCAS Application for proper identification within our state accountability system and federal reporting. The restricted-use MontCAS reporting application allows for documentation and proper state and federal reporting of instances of non-participation. 

The OPI can use this reporting mechanism to also provide guidance to support schools with these rare participation decisions contrary to state law, but in accordance with federal participation laws.