This week are the big-deal high-stakes bubble-in multiple-choice standardized tests, that Maryland calls the High School Assessments (HSAs).
For about five years, it has been a graduation requirement that all students pass the four HSAs, in Algebra I / Data Analysis, Biology, Government, and 10th grade English. Depending on a school’s and a student’s schedule, the exams are administered in May near the end of the relevant course, spread out over several years anywhere from 8th to 11th grade. Some recent changes, relaxing the graduation requirement slightly, have been to allow combined scores of 1602 instead of passing all four tests (1602 is the sum of the minima required to pass each test, this means a high score in one subject can balance out a low/failing score in another); also Maryland has allowed some students to demonstrate content knowledge in each subject by “bridge projects” after trying and failing to pass the HSA.
Over the next year or two, HSA scores will begin to factor into a teacher’s evaluation, by a Maryland state law passed last year. They have for years counted in a school’s evaluation, and it is primarily because of our low HSA scores that our school is undergoing the turnaround EGO process.
The English HSA was yesterday; I shall be proctoring the Biology HSA today. Algebra follows tomorrow, and Government on Thursday. Good luck throughout this week to the students at my school, to the students in Baltimore, and to students across the state!