The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires that states administer annual statewide assessments to all students in English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics (in grades 3-8 and once in high school), as well as in science once in each grade (5 & 8 and high school), and annual English language proficiency assessments in grades 3-8 and 11. Additionally, the majority of Maryland kindergartners are administered the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) to determine their readiness for kindergarten.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004 also requires states to provide an “alternate assessment” when implementing statewide accountability systems. An alternate assessment is an assessment designed for students with significant cognitive disabilities who are unable to participate in a regular assessment, even when accommodations are provided. Maryland provides Alternate Assessments written to Alternate Standards for those students who require this accommodation.
Students accessing the general education curriculum and receiving special education services may participate in the PARCC, HSA Government, HSA MISA, and MISA.
Students receiving special education services and meeting all alternate assessment eligibility criteria may participate in the Alt-MISA and MSAA.
All students with special needs—regardless of the test they take—are entitled to accommodations during instruction and testing. The accommodations your child needs are indicated in his or her Individualized Education Program (IEP). If you have a child with a disability and have questions about his or her program of study or participation on State assessments, send a note to your child’s special education teacher or case manager.
A Quick Guide to Understanding the Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program (MCAP)
Maryland Assessment Chart, outlining differences among Maryland State assessments
Maryland Assessment, Accessibility and Accommodations Policy Manual
Maryland Alternate Assessments Crosswalk: Changes to the Maryland Guidance for IEP Teams on Participation Decisions for the Alternate Assessments
Guidance for IEP Teams: Participation Decisions for the Alternate Assessments and Instruction Using Alternate Standards