Maryland Integrated Science Assessments (MISA)



Grade levels

5, 8, and high school

About the test

The Maryland Integrated Science Assessment is administered to all students in fifth grade, eighth grade, and high school every spring. The test was first administered in the 2016-17 school year for grades 5 and 8, replacing the former Maryland School Assessment (MSA) in science. The high school MISA began as a field test in the 2017-2018 school year, replacing the Biology High School Assessment (HSA).

The MISA are aligned to the Maryland Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The NGSS standards integrate three dimensions necessary to understand science. The dimensions are the Science and Engineering Practices, the Crosscutting Concepts, and the Disciplinary Core Ideas. To assess the three dimensions of the NGSS, a set of interrelated items is required. There are no items on the MISA that are not part of an item set.

The MISA uses the item set as the building block of the assessment. Specific items may focus on two of the dimensions, but together in a set, all three dimensions are covered, and inferences can be made about a student's three-dimensional learning.

Each item set on the MISA has a stimulus that focuses on a specific real-world context or phenomenon. The stimulus may include technical passages to read, a video, charts/diagrams, or a simulation with which the student interacts. The stimulus may include multiple tabs for student interaction. After the student interacts with the stimulus, they will be given six items that are supported by the stimulus. Five items will be a variety of selected response items, multiple select items, or technology enhanced items such as drag and drop or hot spots. The final item in the set will be a constructed response item.

The items will appear on the right side of the screen one at a time while the stimulus will appear on the left side of the screen. The students can refer to the content in the stimulus while answering all the items in the item set.

The MISA consists of four sessions or units, each consisting of two item sets. Each session or unit takes approximately 40 minutes to administer. The MISA can be administered with a session or unit given each day during a regular class period or multiple sessions can be administered in the same day.  Each school system has the flexibility to administer it in a manner which will have the least amount of disruption to the school day.

Specific Information about the grades 5 and 8 MISA

In each of the first three units, students will interact with two item sets. In the fourth unit a student will have one item set and one extended task that includes a simulation. The assessment covers disciplinary core ideas from life science, physical science and Earth and space science.

Specific Information about the high school MISA

The High School Maryland Integrated Science Assessment (HS MISA) will be replaced by the Life Science MISA (LS MISA) in the spring of 2022. The LS MISA is an end of course exam given at the end of the high school life science course, often Biology. It assesses just the concepts of life science taught in the high school life science course. It will count as 20% of a student's grade beginning in the 2023-2024 school year.  


Standards Being Assessed

Accommodations Information

Assessment Results

MISA Rubrics

Performance Level Descriptors (PLD)

Practice Tests

Released and Sample Items