School Improvement in Maryland

How do I support my child in being successful on the High School Assessments?

Over thirty years of research show that early and active involvement by a parent throughout their child’s education—helping with homework, talking about school, attending school activities—is the most powerful influence and has benefits that reach far beyond a student’s preK-12 years. Parent interest in supporting their child’s success on state assessments gives students a huge advantage.

State tests assess the Maryland Content Standards that describe what students are expected to know and be able to do and teachers are expected to teach these standards at the appropriate grade level or course. Assessment items on the state assessments should be an extension of classroom instruction and assessments. Consequently, the best way to support your child in being successful on state assessments is to support their active engagement in core classes and monitor their progress in those classes. This would include asking your child what he/she was learning; showing an interest in class work, homework, and test results; and talking to the teacher whenever you need more information about your child’s mastery of the content standards. Though report card grades will be useful information in assessing how well your child performed in that class, you would not want to wait until a nine week quarter had been completed to find out if your child was struggling and needed help in any area.

How can my child review for the assessment?

Each year, the state releases one sample HSA per subject to the public. These are actual tests that students have taken and that have since been retired. The state uses these public release forms to create and post mini-assessments in each subject—short, online quizzes that are broken down by topic area. When the quiz concludes, students can see their answers, the correct answers, and which CLG goal and expectation were tested by the question.


Skills and Processes 20090807060504
Biological Molecules 20090807060504
Cells and Organisms 20090807060504
Inheritance of Traits 20090807060504
Evolutionary Change 20090807060504
Interdependence of Organisms 20090807060504

The mini-assessments include a combination of selected response, student produced-response and constructed response items. Correct answers are provided for the selected response and student produced response items. Scored student responses are available for the constructed responses. Constructed responses are no longer included in the high school assessments.

Parents and students can use the mini-assessments on the public release forms to help diagnose student strengths and needs. Students must keep in mind that the items of these sample assessments represent varying difficulty levels, and each item represents only one way to assess an indicator. Therefore, scoring correctly on a particular item does not necessarily indicate proficiency on the indicator assessed.