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Maryland School Assessment

The Maryland School Assessment (MSA) is a test of reading and math achievement that meets the testing requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The test is given each year in early March in reading and math at grades 3 through 8. The science test is given in April or early May. Your child's school system will choose the exact testing dates within the testing window designated by the State. Scores from the MSA and other state tests are posted on the Web at www.mdreportcard.org. The pdf icontestingcalendar is available as an Adobe PDF document. Sample test items are available on mdk12.org.


A Parent's Guide to the MSA
pdf iconEnglish - Spanish
(The Spanish version is currently under revision)
Cover of A Parent's Guide to the MSA - English
December 2012


In Focus


MSA Technical Reports


General MSA Information:

  • The test includes multiple-choice questions and questions requiring written responses.
  • It measures basic as well as higher level skills.
  • Students take the tests for approximately 90 minutes each day. There are four days of testing––two days for reading and two days for math.
  • The testing vendor sends the scores for individual students to local school systems. The school systems then distribute the scores to parents.
  • The MSA scores show how well students learned the reading and mathematics skills in the State Curriculum. A norm-referenced score is also provided to show how students performed compared to other students across the nation.

The documents below explain more about the test. For even more information, and to see sample MSA test questions, visit the MSA section of the School Improvement in Maryland Web site.

The following links provide additional information about the Maryland School Assessment:

  • Sample MSA Home Reports
    These are sample versions of the Home Report that is sent home to parents of children who took the MSA.

  • Maryland School Assessment Facts
    The School Improvement in Maryland Web site, designed especially for educators, provides sample MSA test items in reading and math. For more MSA information from School Improvement in Maryland, click here.

  • pdf iconInformation Sheet: MSA Reading
    This information sheet on the MSA reading test is designed to give educators specific information about test items, content covered, scoring and more. This attachment will launch a PDF file in Adobe Acrobat.

  • pdf iconInformation Sheet: MSA Mathematics
    This information sheet on the MSA mathematics test is designed to give educators specific information about test items, content covered, scoring and more. This attachment will launch a PDF file in Adobe Acrobat.

Contact Information:
Maryland State Department of Education
200 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201