School Improvement in Maryland

How do I support my child in being successful on the Maryland 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.

Parent interest in supporting their child's success on state assessments is 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.

What do the state assessments look like?

Maryland releases assessment items used on the MSA to provide students, parents, teachers, and the public an example of how students are being assessed.  These Public Release items measure students' knowledge of skills, processes and concepts listed in the State Curriculum objectives.


MSDE recently released selected Public Release items. These are the first MSA items to be released for the mathematics assessment.

Print version (PDF)
3  •  4  •  5  •  6  •  7  •  8


MSDE has also provided examples of items similar to the assessed items on MSA.

The links below will enable you to view all the released items on that assessment and their answers, see sample student responses to constructed response questions, view the rubric used for scoring constructed responses and see how scorers applied the rubric to selected student responses.

The items released represent varying difficulty levels, and each item represents only one way to assess an indicator.