MISA 2017-18


Maryland Integrated Science Assessment



Grade levels

5, 8, and high school

About the test

The Maryland Integrated Science Assessment is administered to all students in fifth grade, eighth grade, and high school every spring.  The test will first be administered in the 2016-17 school year for grades 5 and 8, as it replaces the former Maryland School Assessment (MSA) in science.  The high school MISA will begin as a field test in the 2017-2018 school year.

Information about the grades 5 and 8 tests:

The test is made up of four “units.” In each of the first three units, students will read information about three separate phenomena and answer questions about each. One of those questions will be a constructed response question, and the other questions will be a combination of multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, matching, and other technology-enabled item types.

  • Units 1–3
    • 3 tasks in each, which are based on scientific phenomena
      • 1 constructed response question for each task
      • 5 other types of questions for each task
  • Unit 4
    • 1 task similar to those in units 1–3
    • 1 extended task that may include a simulation

Information about the high school MISA:

The High School Maryland Integrated Science Assessment (HS MISA) is the final assessment in a series of science assessments that a student will take aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards. The HS MISA will be field tested in the 2017-18 school year, as it replaces the HSA Biology assessment at the high school level. The HS MISA will be given in January and May of each school year and in the 2019-2020 school year it will also be given in the summer.

The assessment consists of five sessions. In each of the sessions, students will read information about two separate phenomena and respond to items about each. One of those items will be a constructed response item, and the other items will be a combination of selected response, fill-in-the-blank, matching, and other technology enhanced item types.

Each session will be administered for approximately 40 minutes. The assessment can be administered with a session given each day during a regular class period or multiple sessions can be administered in the same day. Each school system has the flexibility to administer it in a manner which will have the least amount of disruption to the school day.

Sessions 1-5

– 2 item sets in each session, which are based on scientific phenomena
– 1 constructed response item for each set
– 5 other types of items for each set

Standards being assessed

Next Generation Science Standards

Accommodation information

Coming soon…

Archive from prior years

None. The 2016-17 school year is the first time this test has been given to Maryland students. For information about past administrations of the MSA science test (2007–2016), please visit this MSDE website. To see how students performed on the MSA science test, please visit Md Report Card.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which schools will give the MISA? All public elementary and middle schools (5th and 8th grade) will participate in MISA in the spring of 2017 and 2018.  High schools will begin participating in MISA in the spring of 2018.  Other non-public schools in Maryland who traditionally take MD state assessments may also participate.

Who developed the MISA? MISA was developed by MSDE Science and Assessment Office staffs. Additionally, educators from local education agencies participated in content, bias, and sensitivity reviews during the summer of 2016. The vendor for MISA is Pearson.

What pilot testing was done? In the fall of 2015, several LEAs participated in MISA cognitive labs at both the 5th and 8th grade levels.  MISA in 2016-2017 was a field test for grades 5 and 8.  MISA is a field test for high school students in 2018.  MISA does not go operational for grades 5 and 8 until the spring of 2018.  For high school, MISA will not go operational until the 2018-2019 school year.