Maryland Integrated Science Assessments (MISA)

About the Assessment

The Maryland Integrated Science Assessment (MISA) is administered to all students in fifth grade, eighth grade, and high school. The MISA is aligned to the Maryland Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The NGSS integrates 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. All items on the MISA are part of an item set.

Each item set on the MISA has a stimulus that focuses on a specific real-world context or phenomenon. The stimulus may include text, videos, charts, diagrams, or simulations in which students interact. The stimulus may be divided up using tabs to focus on different details about the real-world content or phenomenon. The student interacts with the stimulus and is given six items that assess the student’s scientific literacy by requiring them to demonstrate their ability to make sense of the given information. 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 is a constructed response item, which requires students to write a detailed response to a question or prompt.

Specific Information about the grades 5 and 8 MISA

The grade 5 MISA assesses the Elementary Grade NGSS for grades 3, 4, and 5. The grade 8 MISA assesses the Middle School NGSS for grades 6 through 8. The assessment includes disciplinary core ideas from life science, physical science as well as Earth and space science.

Specific Information about the high school MISA

The Life Science MISA (LS MISA) is an end of course exam given during the high school life science course, often Biology. It assesses the life science NGSS standards taught in the high school life science course.


The following blueprints provide a high-level overview of the structure as well as scoring categories of each science assessment


Constructed response items can be worth two, three, or four points. The MISA utilizes a holistic rubric to determine each student’s score based on how well the student demonstrated their ability to apply the three NGSS dimensions.

Test Preparation and Practice

The following links provide resources that can help students prepare for the MISA.

  • Grades 5 and 8 Practice Tests

  • High School Practice Test (LS MISA)
    Select the version of the Practice Test from the dropdown menu.

  • MSDE Public Release Site
    This site provides access to released questions from former MCAP tests. MCAP released questions are representative of the content and skills included on the MCAP and are provided to help students recognize the nature and format of the questions.

Additional Resources and Information


Jeremy Marcus-Wenger
Project Manager of Science Assessments
Office: (410) 767-0860