Maryland State


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MSA Performance Level Standards for Reading Grade 8
What basic students likely can do:
  • identify information directly stated in the text
  • draw simple conclusions and make simple inferences from information in the text
  • apply basic summary and paraphrasing skills to grade-appropriate text
  • respond in writing to questions about a text with only minimal textual support
What basic students likely cannot do:
  • cite adequate textual evidence to support or explain ideas about a text
  • identify a main idea
What proficient students likely can do that basic students likely cannot do:
  • draw conclusions about characters from their words and actions
  • identify a main idea
  • support ideas about text with appropriate textual evidence
  • demonstrate a general understanding of a literary or informational text (e.g., make inferences, draw conclusions)
What proficient students likely cannot do:
  • use textual information effectively to clarify ideas in and about a text
  • analyze the implications of literary elements
  • analyze an author's use of language
  • demonstrate an understanding of the text beyond literal reading
What advanced students likely can do that proficient students likely cannot do:
  • choose appropriate text effectively to clarify ideas
  • draw conclusions about multiple elements of both informational and literary texts (e.g., word meanings, comparison, poetic devices, implications of text features)
  • analyze narrative elements (e.g., relationships between characters, character traits, plot structure)
  • apply language skills (e.g., recognize synonyms, define words in context, analyze poetic language, determine tone)

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.