High Stakes Testing


PARCC Assessments

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a consortium of states working together to develop a common set of K-12 assessments in English and math anchored in what it takes to be ready for college and careers. These new K-12 assessments will build a pathway to college and careers. These new K-12 assessments will build a pathway to college and career readiness by the end of high school, mark students’ progress toward this goal from 3rd grade up, and provide teachers with timely information to inform instruction and provide student support.

Testing Accommodations

Maryland High School Assessments (HSAs)

The Maryland High School Assessments (HSAs) are four tests—one each in algebra/data analysis, biology, government, and English—that students must pass to graduate. All students who entered 9th grade in or after 2005 are required to take and pass the HSAs to receive a Maryland High School Diploma, including students in special education, English language learners (ELLs), and students with 504 plans. Students may also satisfy the HSA graduation requirement by achieving the required combined score of 1208 or successfully completing the Bridge Plan for Academic Validation.


Maryland Alternate School Assessment (Alt-MSA)

In Maryland, students with disabilities participate in either the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) in reading, mathematics and science (with or without accommodations, as appropriate) or in the Alternate Maryland School Assessment (ALT-MSA), as determined by the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team. The MSA is administered to students in grades 3-8 and 10 and tests students’ attainment of grade level objectives in reading and mathematics. In addition, the Alt-MSA measures a student’s attainment of science Mastery Objectives in grades 5, 8 and 10.

Testing Accommodations

Maryland School Assessment (MSA)

In Maryland, the state assessment is called the Maryland School Assessment (MSA). It is a test of reading and math achievement that meets the testing requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The test is given each year in early March in reading and math at grades 3 through 8. The science test is given in April or early May.

Student and teacher reading

The New Alternate Assessment

The National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) is a project led by five centers and a consortium of states to build an alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. This new assessment will replace Maryland’s current Alternate Maryland School Assessment (Alt-MSA) in the 2015-16 school year.