Friday, December 22, 2006

Maryland High School Assessments (HSA)

This post is in response to a question regarding the new testing requirements for graduation.
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The Maryland High School Assessments (HSA) are tests that measure school and individual student progress in four core subjects: English, government, algebra/data analysis, and biology. Students take each test whenever they complete the course. For example, some students may take algebra in seventh grade while others may not take it until tenth grade.

The tests contain multiple-choice questions and questions requiring written responses. These questions are based on the content outlined in Maryland’s Core Learning Goals. (See link below for specifics)

Beginning with the graduating class of 2009, students are required to earn a satisfactory score on the HSA, in addition to all credit, service-learning, and attendance requirements, in order to earn a Maryland High School Diploma. Students have several options in fulfilling this requirement:

  • Pass all four HSA (See scores below)

OR

  • Earn at least the minimum score on each HSA and earn a combined score of 1602. This combined-score option benefits students because it allows higher performance on one test to offset lower performance on another test.

OR

  • Earn passing scores on state-approved substitute tests and substitute one or more of those scores for passing scores on the HSA. The state has not yet named acceptable substitute tests, but possibilities include the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate tests.

HSA Passing Score/Minimum Score
Algebra/Data Analysis= 412/402
Biology= 400/391
Government= 394/387
English= 396/386

Students who do not pass an assessment will receive academic assistance from the local school system. After completing an academic assistance program, students can retake the assessment during the next administration of the test.

To help with intervention and remediation, the state has created a series of online courses in HSA subject areas. Teachers may use the courses with students as an intervention strategy, and students may take the courses themselves to review tested material.

Maryand's High School Core Learning Goals http://www.mdk12.org/mspp/high_school/what_will/index.html

HSA Fact Sheet http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/281D7160-FD8E-4333-B4A5-D6B48C490BF3/9121/HSA_1_March2006.pdf

HSA Scores http://mdreportcard.org/

Practice Taking an HSA Online http://www.mdk12.org/mspp/high_school/look_like/index.html

HSA Technical Report http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/divisions/planningresultstest/hsa_tech_report.htm

2 comments:

Duck said...

WOW! Talk about a "full service" board member. Thanks Jennifer. As I said elsewhere, to me, this sounds like a reasonable and valid requirement. Yet during the campaign I observed several candidates (some now board members) trying to convey the thought that perhaps not so. For the life of me, I couldn't (and still don't) see why. Again, many thanks.

Jennifer Abell said...

Thanks Duck! I've tried to make my self and Board/CCPS information as accessible as possible. Just ask the question and you shall receive the information (sometimes it might take a few days, but I'll get for you if possible)
I don't know why people would be against it. To me it's common sense. You must have to be able to answer these questions and perform these analysis in order ot graduate.

I think what I remember hearing during the campaign is the fear that we will have hundreds if not thousands of students not graduating. Personally, I don't see it coming to that. We already have remedial classes in place and in use to assist students in danger of not meeting the requirement.
In addition, in my opinion, again just me, the requirements change so frequently...by the time 2009 gets here, the state could change the rules again. Who knows?

Bottom line...I like it. If a student can't perform the basics, they should not receive a diploma.