Maryland State


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MSA Performance Level Standards for Reading Grade 5
What basic students likely can do:
  • understand basic literary elements (e.g., character, simple plot, conflict)
  • make low-level inferences from information in a text
  • use context clues to determine appropriate meanings of words
  • respond in writing to questions about a text with only minimal textual evidence
What basic students likely cannot do:
  • provide adequate textual evidence to support or develop ideas about a text
  • consistently apply basic word-level knowledge (e.g., synonyms)
  • demonstrate more than a minimal understanding of the text
What proficient students likely can do that basic students likely cannot do:
  • pull appropriate details or information from across a text to summarize briefly or demonstrate a general understanding of the text
  • define words using contextual evidence
  • recognize synonyms of grade-appropriate words and use synonyms to draw a simple conclusion
  • demonstrate a general, often literal, understanding of a literary or informational text
What proficient students likely cannot do:
  • reason deductively when drawing conclusions or making inferences
  • read critically to evaluate text
  • demonstrate understanding of the complexities of a text
What advanced students likely can do that proficient students likely cannot do:
  • apply deductive reasoning to draw conclusions and make inferences
  • provide appropriate and sufficient textual evidence to clarify effectively ideas in a text
  • read critically to evaluate text
  • recognize synonyms of both grade-level and above-grade-level words
  • synthesize ideas and information to uncover the complexities of a text

Performance Level Standards

Standards are measures of performance against which yearly results are compared. Standards help to examine critical aspects of instructional programs; help to ensure that all students receive quality instruction; hold educators accountable for quality instruction; and help to guide efforts toward school improvement.

Maryland School Performance Program (MSPP) performance standards were determined through deliberative processes by educators with involvement of critical stakeholders such as the legislators and members of the business community. The State Board of Education adopted all standards.

The purpose of the MSPP standards is to:

  • provide statewide equity and quality assurance in terms of student outcomes;
  • establish a mechanism for instructional accountability useful to schools, school systems, and the state;
  • stimulate self-examination and appropriate action by local district staff and the Maryland State Department of Education; and
  • set improvement expectations that guide school and school system objectives, decision, and efforts.

Maryland standards are divided into three levels of achievement:

  • Advanced is a highly challenging and exemplary level of achievement indicating outstanding accomplishment in meeting the needs of students.
  • Proficient is a realistic and rigorous level of achievement indicating proficiency in meeting the needs of students.
  • Basic is a level of achievement indicating that more work is needed to attain proficiency in meeting the needs of students.

MSA Performance Level Descriptors

Reading 345678
Mathematics 345678
Algebra / Data Analysis
Science 58

Other Performance Level Standards

Performance Level Standards for ALT-MSA
Performance Level Standards for MOD-MSA

Standards for the MFTs, Attendance Rate, and Dropout Rate were adopted in 1990.