(a) School districts and charter schools may elect to participate in the Educational Planning and Assessment System (EPAS) program offered by ACT, Inc. to provide a longitudinal, systematic approach to student educational and career planning, assessment, instructional support, and evaluation. The EPAS achievement tests include English, reading, mathematics, science, and components on planning for high school and postsecondary education, interest inventory, needs assessments, and student education plans. These tests are linked to the ACT assessment for college admission and allow students, parents, teachers, and schools to determine the student's college readiness before grades 11 and 12.
(b) The commissioner of education shall provide ACT Explore tests for students in grade 8 and the ACT Plan test for students in grade 10 to assess individual student academic strengths and weaknesses, academic achievement and progress, higher order thinking skills, and college readiness.
(c) Students enrolled in grade 8 through the 2011-2012 school year who have not yet demonstrated proficiency on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, the graduation-required assessments for diploma, or the basic skills testing requirements prior to high school graduation may satisfy state high school graduation requirements for assessments in reading, mathematics, and writing by taking the graduation-required assessment for diploma in reading, mathematics, or writing under Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 120B.30, subdivision 1, paragraph (c), clauses (1) and (2), the WorkKeys job skills assessment, the Compass college placement test, a nationally recognized armed services vocation aptitude test, or the ACT assessment for college admission.
(d) The state shall pay the test costs for public school students to participate in the assessments under this section. The commissioner shall establish an application procedure and a process for state payment of costs.