External data result from standardized assessments that are written and scored outside the school. Because they have been constructed by the Maryland State Department of Education or large testing companies using rigorous measurement criteria, they are generally considered to be the most reliable and valid assessments administered. The results of external assessments tend to be seen as the most credible by parents, communities, and the media and may be publicized in the community or used in state or district accountability reports.
Examples of external assessments are the:
External data are most appropriately used for:
External assessment data have the following potential limitations:
The most instructionally useful scores from MSA and HSA are those that report student performance on the content standards. External assessments, such as MSA and HSA, must use only a few questions to measure a broad range of standards. Therefore, these data are not designed to be frequent or specific enough to provide precise instructional guidance on an ongoing basis.