Standardized Tests in Maryland
About the Maryland School Assessment (MSA)
If you have a child in elementary, middle or high school in Maryland, then you need to know about the standardized tests your child will be taking. To comply with the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, Maryland administers standardized tests to students beginning in 3rd grade through high school.
Time4Learning, an online education service that teaches many of the skills these exams test, offers this page to help you understand Maryland’s standardized tests and how you can help your children prepare.
All students in 3rd through 8th grade take the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) in reading and math, while students in 5th and 8th grade also take a science test. The MSA is a standards-based test, which means that test items are based on grade-specific Maryland academic content standards.
Students in high school take the Maryland High School Assessments (HSA), which are end-of-course tests administered to students enrolled in algebra, biology, government and English 2. Students are required to pass the HSAs to receive their high school diploma.
What do the MSA and HSA Test Scores Mean?
For the MSA, students will receive one of three scores for each subject area tested:
For the HSA, the established passing scores for each of the four course tests are:
- Algebra = 412
- Biology = 400
- Government = 394
- English 2 = 396
For the MSA, test scores may determine if a student will be promoted to the next grade or held back. Some Maryland school districts may elect to use MSA test scores as a criterion for promotion or retention, while others may choose not to include test scores as a factor.
Beginning with the class of 2009, students must pass all four HSA tests to graduate from high school. A combined score of 1602 will also count as a passing score. This allows students to offset a lower performance on one test with a higher performance on another. Students who do not pass the tests the first time can retake them on multiple occasions as needed to pass.
Preparing for Maryland’s MSA and HSA Tests
For general tips on test preparation, please visit our standardized test overview page. The real preparation for the MSA, HSA and all standardized tests that assess a wide range of fundamental skills, is to steadily build and master skills in math, reading and writing fundamentals.
Parents can help students succeed in school by making a special effort to get involved in their children’s education. You should ensure your children are doing their homework every night and reading and writing on a daily basis. In addition, families can hire tutors or use online learning programs such as Time4Learning and Time4Writing to supplement their children’s schoolwork and help to build fundamental skills.
To help your children prepare for state standardized tests such as Maryland’s MSA and HSA, you can enroll your children in a test prep program or buy books to help them become familiar with test formats and terminology, to learn test-taking strategies (when to guess, when not to), to become comfortable with time restrictions, and to practice answering different types of questions.
For instance, when a reading passage is followed by comprehension questions, many test prep programs teach students to scan the questions prior to reading the passage so that they can pay special attention to the areas addressed by questions.
Most states release copies of tests or sample test questions from previous years. Parents can use these released test questions as resources to help students practice test skills and students can spend the majority of their time reviewing the key concepts within the sample test questions.
Time4Learning is not a test prep program; instead, it is a program that builds the skills that will be tested.
Time4Learning is a new approach that takes advantage of today’s technology. It’s a convenient, online home education program that combines learning with fun educational teaching games.
The online language arts and math curriculum comprise a comprehensive program for preschool, elementary school, and middle school. Science and social studies programs are provided as a free bonus for most grades.
Kids like using the computer to learn and to develop their skills. Time4Learning’s educational teaching games give students independence as they progress at their own pace.
Parents like that it tracks progress and helps kids advance by teaching through individualized learning paths that assure mastery of the skills and concepts that makes kids succeed.
Have a child with math and reading skills at different grade levels? No problem, just tell us in the online registration process.
Time4Learning is proven effective, has a low monthly price, and provides a money-back guarantee so you can be sure that it works for your family, risk free!