Testing Programs

FCPS uses a variety of tools and instructional strategies to observe and analyze how students are performing on their enrolled grade-level curriculum. Curricular expectations are monitored formally and informally through assessments, quizzes, assignments and conferencing with students about their progress. Based on these measures, instruction is modified and refined to support student needs towards mastery of Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards.

FCPS Local Testing

Local assessment includes required and optional assessments that teachers select to assist with identifying and closing gaps in achievement, ensuring equity in instruction and informing strategies to increase performance across all student groups.

Secondary Benchmark Assessments Middle and high school students may take secondary benchmark assessments in some courses. For updated details, please see Regulation 500-26.

Testing Update

State Testing

Maryland School Assessments (MSA) for Science The state's testing program is designed to meet federal testing requirements for grades 5, 8 and 10. The MSAs in grades 5 and 8 are being phased out and will be replaced in March 2017 with new assessments aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards. FCPS will continue to meet the grade 10 MSA requirement using the Biology high school and end-of-course assessment, which will not be phased out until the 2017-2018 school year.

Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) PARCC assessments are designed to measure whether students are on track to be ready for college and careers. They are given in English language arts/literacy and mathematics in grades 3-8 and in designated high school courses. PARCC Algebra I and English 10 exams are required for graduation. Scores on English 10, English 11, and Algebra II may be used to meet the College and Career Readiness requirements.

See important PARCC Resources here.

The Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA) is designed to measure academic content that is aligned to and derived from Maryland content standards. It supports higher academic outcomes for students with significant cognitive disabilities in preparation for post-secondary outcomes. The MSAA is administered in English/language arts and mathematics in grades 3-8 and 11.

High School Assessments (HSA) HSAs are state-level, end-of-course exams aimed at raising academic standards and preparing graduates to compete in the workplace and post-secondary education. High school students enrolled in Biology and Government must take the exams at the completion of each course. Taking the HSA is a graduation requirement. For more information, see High School Assessments on this website and the Maryland State Department of Education's website

English Language Proficiency Assessment are administered to English language learners in grades kindergarten through 12 upon their entry into the school system and annually during the second semester. The assessments measure a student's English language proficiency in the areas of listening, speaking, reading, writing, comprehension and literacy.

Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) is administered to kindergartners, measuring school readiness in four developmental domains: social foundations, physical well-being and motor development, language and literacy, and mathematics. The KRA identifies children's individual needs, enabling teachers to make informed instructional decisions.

Test Dates for State Assessments are selected from within allowable state-determined windows and published in the online FCPS Testing Calendar by the first week in August. School-specific schedules are set by each school within the FCPS window, and schools communicate their testing dates to parents/guardians.

National Testing Programs

Advanced Placement (AP) Exams

AP is a program of college-level courses available at all high schools. National exams administered by the College Board allow students to potentially earn college credit for high scores. FCPS strongly urges students to challenge themselves by taking AP classes and exams. Sstudents may use scores on select exams to meet College and Career Readiness requirements. Testing dates are May 1-12, 2017.

College-Entrance Exams

FCPS offers opportunities for high school students to take the optional SAT and ACT examinations as well as the PSAT, a preliminary exam. Registration and other college-entrance information are available in high school counseling offices and online at www.CollegeBoard.com. Registration deadlines are typically a month before the test date. Students may use scores on select subtests of the SAT and ACT exams to meet College and Career Readiness requirements.

Test dates for 2016-17 are:

October 19 September 10 October 1
  October 22 November 5
  December 10 December 3
  February 11 January 28
  April 8 March 11 (SAT I only)
  June 10 May 6
    June 3


Changes in Data Reporting: FCPS is making changes to the reporting of data in order to ensure compliance with the federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). FERPA (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) prohibits the release of individually identifiable information to the public. Beginning in 2011, FCPS will implement necessary limits on publicly released data in accordance with FERPA guidelines and direction from the Maryland State Department of Education. The changes are designed to maximize the information provided to the public while also protecting the privacy of small identifiable groups of students.