School Improvement in Maryland

Assessment Guidelines: MMSR Exemplars


The Maryland Model for School Readiness (MMSR) is a statewide school readiness framework. It is defined by early learning standards that outline expectations for what all children should know and be able to do in all developmental areas by the end of kindergarten. The MMSR standards reflect the State Curriculum content standards, indicators and objectives. In addition, the MMSR Fall/Entry Exemplars were developed to provide assessment criteria or guidelines for the kindergarten, prekindergarten, and preschool-3 MMSR standards. The Exemplars have been designed using language that includes children with disabilities.

Note: The Arts and Physical Education and Health State Curriculum are still in draft form.

MMSR/ECAS Kindergarten Fall EntranceSpring Exit
MMSR/ECAS Prekindergarten Fall EntranceSpring Exit
MMSR/ECAS Preschool - 3 Fall EntranceSpring Exit


What are the new MMSR Exemplars?

The MMSR Exemplars are descriptions of typical student skills and behaviors that a teacher looks for when evaluating performance. They were developed to provide criteria or guidelines for evaluating student performance by determining ratings — proficient, in process, needs development — for all of the 66 Kindergarten WSSTM Checklist indicators, all 55 Prekindergarten WSSTM Checklist indicators, and all 49 Preschool-3 WSSTM Checklist indicators for Fall/Entry and Spring/Exit. The exemplars are based on the MMSR standards, indicators, and learning objectives. They describe documented student skills and behaviors at the objective level, linking learning objectives to MMSR indicators.

Those school systems that are making performance ratings on students using the 30 item WSSTM Checklist for kindergarten and/or the 29 item WSSTM Checklist for prekindergarten can use the Expanded MMSR Exemplars, but teachers should focus only on using those exemplars that are designated in the following way:

  • The pencil icon is in the upper left corner of the page - Pencil Icon
  • The WSS Indicator is bolded (Ex: III C2 Recognizes, duplicates, and extends patterns)
  • The objectives and exemplars are formatted in shaded gray scale.

How to use the MMSR Exemplars?

The MMSR Exemplars are intended to be used to make summative evaluations of students in the Fall during the first two weeks in November, or in the Spring during the last two weeks in May. The Exemplars offer descriptive examples of student skills for each of the three levels of performance ratings: proficient, in process, and needs development. Using the student's portfolio of work samples and documentation of learning based on ongoing observation, the teacher rates student performance by asking, "Based on what I know about the student and the information I have collected, which set of examples and corresponding rating most effectively describes the student's performance on the indicator?"

It is important to remember that:

  • Fall/Entry exemplars describe expectations for the Fall of the school year.
  • Spring/Exit exemplars describe expectations for the end of the school year.

Please note that all kindergarten teachers in Maryland submit only Fall evaluations on the 30 designated WSS Indicators to MSDE. However, some local school systems may require teachers to also collect Spring information1 on students. In addition, according to new federal special education requirements and Early Childhood Accountability System (ECAS) additional information may need to be collected on students with IEPs when they 'enter' or 'exit' special education services. Therefore, to provide clarification for professionals using the WSS to assess kindergarteners and preschoolers upon 'entry' to or 'exit' from preschool special education services in compliance with the ECAS, the Fall/Entry Exemplars have been designated for "Fall" or "Entry," and the Spring/Exit Exemplars have been designated for "Spring" or "Exit."

Teachers are encouraged to become familiar with the MMSR exemplars, discuss them during the training sessions and with colleagues, use them to guide their evaluations, and communicate student learning and progress as students move from one grade to the next.

1Kindergarten teachers working at schools with Judy Centers evaluate students in the spring.