Skip Navigation

All About MCAP

College and Career Readiness Standards

The Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program (MCAP) assessments of Maryland College and Career Ready Standards (MCCRS) will build a pathway to college and career readiness by the end of high school, mark students’ progress toward this goal from grade 3 through high school, and provide teachers with timely information to inform instruction and provide student support.

College and Career Readiness Standards

The College and Career Readiness Standards Initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The standards were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and experts, to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our children for college and the workforce. The standards are informed by the highest, most effective models from states across the country and around the world, and provide teachers and parents with a common understanding of what students are expected to learn. Consistent standards will provide benchmarks for all students, regardless of where they live.

These standards define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education careers so that they will graduate high school able to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs. The Standards: 

  • Are aligned with college and work expectations; 
  • Are clear, understandable and consistent; 
  • Include rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills; 
  • Build upon strengths and lessons of current state standards; 
  • Are informed by other top performing countries, so that all students are prepared to succeed in our global economy and society; and are evidence-based. 


  • There are three types of writing: arguments (Opinion), informative, and narratives. 
  • Strong across-the-curriculum emphasis on student writing. 
  • Students will be expected to use standard English conventions in formal writing and speaking. 


  • Strong across-the-curriculum emphasis on students' ability to read and comprehend informational text. 
  • "Staircase" of growing text complexity across grades. 
  • High-quality literature and informational texts in a range of genres.


  •  Build's across the grade levels.
  • Focus on key topics at each grade level. 
  • Fosters reasoning and sense-making in mathematics. 
  • Content standards require both conceptual understanding and procedural fluency (How we do it and why we do it) 


  • Inquiry based with a strong across-the-curriculum emphasis.   

College and Career Readiness Frequently Asked Questions

Do the College and Career Readiness Standards apply to all grades K-12?

The English language arts and math standards are for grades K-12. Research from the early childhood and higher education communities also informed the development of the standards.

Will College and Career Readiness Standards replace MSA?

The College and Career Readiness Standards will not replace the Maryland State Assessment (MSA). The College and Career Readiness Standards are essentially a single set of clear educational standards. Mastery of these standards will be assessed on the MCAP Assessment, which will replace the MSA. 

How often are students taking the MCAP Assessment?

Students will take the MCAP Assessment once a year.

How are the teachers at NVES and throughout the county being equipped to deliver the standards?

Teachers in Prince George's County Public Schools have been receiving Professional Development on the College and Career Readiness Standards since 2011. Prince George's County has gone through several stages to inform and educate teachers about the standards and their requirement. Those stages include (i) awareness, (ii) application and experimentation, (iii) ownership, and (iv) advocacy and innovation. Rose Valley is currently in the “ownership” stage and is providing in house monthly professional development as well as outside professional conference opportunities to equip teachers with the necessary tools to effectively teach the College and Career Readiness Standards.

How do the College and Career Readiness Standards compare to the previous state standards?

The College and Career Readiness Standards were written by building on the best and highest state standards in existence in the U.S., examining the expectations of other high performing countries around the world, and careful study of the research and literature available on what students need to know and be able to do to be successful in college and careers. No state in the country was asked to lower their expectations for their students in adopting the College and Career Readiness Standards. The standards are evidence-based, aligned with college and work expectations, include rigorous content and skills, and are informed by other top performing countries. They were developed in consultation with teachers and parents from across the country so they are also realistic and practical for the classroom.