School Improvement in Maryland

This Week’s MSA Item

MSA Items of the week can be used in a variety of ways by teachers, students, parents, tutors and other interested parties. They may be used as warm-up activity at the beginning of the class or as a review at the end of instruction. Students and parents can use them as an ongoing review to ensure that students have mastered and retained the content they are expected to learn.

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Use your mouse to select a grade from the subject categories below. This week’s MSA Item for that category will appear at right.




Student Handout with Answer Key, and Objective Information.

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Monitoring Reports

Students can keep a record of their progress on these assessment items by using the Monitoring Report, a tool that lists of of the grade level objectives assessed on MSA. The Monitoring Report contains space for entering multiple assessment results and diagnostic comments.

Monitoring Report for Science Grade 4

MSA Item of the Week

This item is one of the many resources available in the Science State Curriculum Toolkit.

Science Grade 4

Use the information below to answer the following:

Brown-headed cowbirds are small birds found throughout North American grasslands and along edges of forests. For food, the brown-headed cowbirds rely on grazing animals to uncover insects and seeds.

When a female brown-headed cowbird sees eggs in the nest of another bird, she lays her own egg in the nest. She usually chooses nests with eggs that are smaller than hers. The other bird species then raises the brown-headed cowbird hatchling. The brown-headed cowbird hatchling grows quickly and is larger than the other hatchlings in the nest.

The brown-headed cowbird often lays eggs in the nest of the yellow warbler. The yellow warbler lives near forests, builds nests in trees and thick brush, and eats insects and fruit.

Question Image

Why is the appearance of the brown-headed cowbird hatchling different from the other hatchlings in the nest?

  1. Physical likenesses are learned.
  2. Physical features are not inherited in birds.
  3. The brown-headed cowbird hatched before the other hatchlings.
  4. The brown-headed cowbird is not related to the mother of the other hatchlings.

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