MSDE Modifies HSA Pass/Fail Diploma Requirement
The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) recently announced a welcome change to the daunting, all or nothing, pass/fail rule currently in place regarding the four part test all students must pass before receiving a high school diploma. Until just recently, students had to pass all four parts of the Maryland High School Assessments (HSA) exam, including English, Math, Science and Social Studies, with its multi year, core content curriculum. Thankfully, MSDE very recently softened that requirement in two significant ways when the school agrees the student holds special need.
First, students who score 1602 or better on all four parts of the HSA need not actually achieve a passing score on more than three of the tests. Second and more sweeping, students who repeatedly fail to pass the HSA are now able to demonstrate mastery of the subject through completion of a special project to be designed by the school and the student. Upon successful project completion, such students will receive the same high school diploma as their peers.
The HSA diploma requirement has been very worrisome to virtually all educators, attorneys and lay advocates, parents and most of all students, who for any number of reasons, are unable to pass the written HSA exam. Thank you MSDE and thanks to the special board of 15 educators drawn from around the State who helped keep standards high while allowing for sorely needed flexibility now available in special cases.
While not yet updated to reflect this new change, here is a link to the MSDE web site on the HSA which will provide a ton of information on the HSA. http://marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/testing/hsa/