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. (Adobe PDF file, opens in new window)

State Testing

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.

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. Taking the PARCC Algebra I and English 10 exams is required for graduation; passing scores have been required since the 2016-17 school year. See important PARCC Resources here.

Maryland Integrated Science Assessment (MISA) is designed to meet federal testing requirements for grades 5, 8 and 10. MISA  exams measure content aligned to Maryland science standards. In the 2017-18 school year, FCPS will field test the new high school science test, which will meet the grade 10 requirement. Students will typically take this exam at the conclusion of their high school Biology course. Taking the high school MISA exam is required for graduation.

Alternative Assessments The Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA) and Alternate Maryland Integrated Science Assessment (Alt. MISA) are designed to measure academic content that is aligned to and derived from Maryland content standards. They support academic outcomes for students with significant cognitive disabilities. The MSAA is administered in English/language arts and mathematics in grades 3-8 and 11. The Alt. MISA is administered in science in grades 5, 8 and 11.

Government High School Assessment (HSA) The Government HSA is a state-level, end-of-course exam aimed at raising academic standards and preparing graduates to compete in the workplace and post-secondary education. High school students enrolled in Government must take the exam at the completion of the course. Taking and passing the HSA is a graduation requirement.

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

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 September. School-specific schedules are set by each school within the FCPS window, and schools communicate their testing dates to parents/guardians.

National Testing

Advanced Placement (AP) Exams AP is a program of college-level courses available at all FCPS 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. Students may use scores on select exams to meet College and Career Readiness requirements. Testing dates are May 7-18, 2018.

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 (opens in new window). 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 2017-18 are:

October 11 September 9 August 26
  October 28 October 7
  December 9 November 4
  February 10 December 2
  April 14 March 10 (SAT I only)
  June 9 May 5
    June 2


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.