School Improvement in Maryland

This Week’s HSA Item

HSA Items of the week can be used in a variety of ways by teachers, students, parents, tutors and other interested parties. They may be used as warm-up activity at the beginning of the class or as a review at the end of instruction. Students and parents can use them as an ongoing review to ensure that students have mastered and retained the content they are expected to learn.

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Use your mouse to select a grade from the subject categories below. This week’s HSA Item for that category will appear at right.


Student Handout with Answer Key, and Objective Information.

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Monitoring Reports

Students can keep a record of their progress on these assessment items by using the Monitoring Report, a tool that lists of of the grade level objectives assessed on HSA. The Monitoring Report contains space for entering multiple assessment results and diagnostic comments.

Monitoring Report for Biology

HSA Item of the Week

This item is one of the many resources available in the Science CLG Toolkit.


Use the information below to answer the following item.

Scientists genetically modified a variety of corn to protect it against pests like the corn borer. The corn borer is an insect caterpillar that feeds on the corn stalk, which weakens the stalk and makes it fall over. A new gene in the genetically modified corn causes the plant to produce a chemical that is toxic to the corn borer. Some people are concerned that the genetically modified corn could harm other insects such as the monarch butterfly caterpillar. The monarch caterpillar eats leaves of milkweed plants that might be coated with toxic corn pollen. However, not all researchers agree with the concerns regarding the monarch butterfly caterpillar. They state that it is unusual for large amounts of harmful corn pollen to be found on milkweed leaves. Also, only a small percentage of caterpillars feed on the milkweed plants near corn fields.

Which of these describes the trophic level of the corn borer?

  1. carnivore
  2. herbivore
  3. producer
  4. decomposer

View answer and objective assessed