The OPI has prepared these student eligibility and participation guidelines to support education stakeholders and school partners with the requirements for participation in state assessments. These resources will assist System Test Coordinators (STCs), Authorized Representatives/Building Coordinators, and Test Administrators, Parents, and Students with the expectations for state assessments. The primary goal of participation is to ensure these data are representative so results are accurate and meaningful.

Administering the Montana Comprehensive Assessment System (MontCAS) state summative assessments is required under federal and state law. In Montana, the Board of Public Education adopts rules for state-level assessment in all public schools and accredited non-public schools.



  • ESSA State Plan - The purpose of the consolidated state plan is to provide parents with quality, transparent information about how Montana will meet all requirements for each federal program including state assessments.

  • MontCAS Test Security Collection Schedule This document is the MontCAS data collection schedule and timeline.

  • MontCAS Policies and Procedures for Participation in State Assessments - This guide explains the participation policies and procedures to register and include students in each of the state assessments.

  • English Learner Guidance for School Districts - Information to assist educators and STCs with identifying, serving, and assessing English learner (EL) students.

  • Alternate Assessment Eligibility Guidelines These policies were published in 2021-2022 school year to support school districts with the training and technical assistance needs prior to implementation on August 1, 2022. The new eligibility guidelines explain the OPI’s policies and procedures for assessing students with significant cognitive disabilities (SwSCDs) using Montana's Alternate Assessments and are designed to assist IEP Teams in decision-making around participation needs for the alternate summative state assessments.

  • Appendix A - Participation Form. The four questions are the same in the AIM Statewide IEP Editor. The requirement for these data is to have school districts is to electronically complete these steps in AIM/Infinite Campus. The new PDF form is used by the IEP team to document the conversations, evidence, and decisions when determining whether a student should participate in Alternate and can assist conversations locally but is not required to submit to the OPI.

  • Appendix B - Decision Flowchart. The Decision Flowchart is designed to guide the sequence of decisions to be made by IEP teams when determining whether a student should participate in Montana’s Alternate Assessments.

  • Learner Characteristic Inventory (LCI) for Alternate Assessments - survey questions collected in the MSAA Assessment. The survey provides the OPI and school districts with a general picture of the characteristics for most student with significant cognitive disabilities (SwSCDs) in the state of Montana.

  • Special Circumstances for Test Registration and Participation  - This document provides information on special circumstances and educational situations that do not fall under the typical accredited school and primary enrollment criteria for student registration and guidance on these unique special circumstances.


  • For sample parent notice and score report letters, visit the Parent Corner page.

Below are three documents to assist STCs and School Principals with reporting non-participation as a result of medical reasons to the OPI:

References to state and federal participation laws:


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