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High School Assessment


The percentage of public school students in grades 9 through 12 performing at the passing level in three or four core subjects of the Maryland High School Assessment (HSA):  Algebra, Biology, English 2, and Government.


Percentage of Maryland High School Students Receiving a Passing Score in the Maryland High School Assessment, by Academic Year
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Algebra 84.4% 85.1% 83.6% 83.6% 83.9% 84.2%
Biology 82.0% 82.5% 81.0% 81.3% 81.7% 82.6%
English 82.0% 83.5% 80.1% 81.7% 83.1% 83.0%

Data Source: Data compiled by the Maryland State Department of Education

Story Behind the Data:

The achievement of minimum academic standards affects graduation, adult achievement, future academic pursuits, and ultimately contributes to the competitiveness of Maryland’s workforce.  Students take each High School Assessment (HSA) at the completion of the corresponding course. Accordingly, students may take these exams during any high school grade.  The English 2 HSA replaced the English 1 HSA in Academic Year 2005.  In 2004, the State Board of Education ruled that, beginning with the class of 2009, public school students must pass the High School Assessments (HSA) to graduate.

On April 24, 2012, the State Board approved the reinstatement of the Government HSA as a graduation requirement.  The entering 9th graders in the 2013-2014 school year are required to pass or obtain a combined score of 1602 on the four high school assessments, algebra/data analysis, English, biology, and government to meet the graduation requirement.  The first administration of the Government HSA in the 2013-2014 school year will be a January 2014 administration.

Each assessment test covers about 60% of a course’s content, and takes approximately two and one-half to three hours to complete.  In 2013, the percentage of students passing in Algebra and Biology subject areas increased slightly and English decreased slightly from the 2012 percentage of students passing the HSAs.  For students who do not pass the HSA, additional instruction is available through the local school systems and students may retake the assessment multiple times.  For students unable to pass the HSA after two attempts, the Bridge Plan for Academic Validation offers alternatives to the assessment.

As Maryland implements the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) assessments, beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, the HSA exams in English 10 and Algebra/Data Analysis will be replaced by PARCC assessments in English 10 and Algebra.  As in previous years, however, all students must still pass the Government and Biology HSAs in order to graduate.  Achievement information for schools, school systems, and the State will continue to be published in the annual Maryland Report Card.

Additional Information: