Category Archives: World Languages

American Institutes for Research selected to administer Smarter Balanced assessments

The following Priority Notice was distributed to educators on Monday, July 7.

Dear Educators,

Earlier this year, the Department made clear our commitment to rigorous standards and aligned assessments. To that end, I wanted to let you know we have just selected the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to administer our Smarter Balanced aligned State assessments in grades 3-8 and grade 11 for the 2014-15 school year.

AIR was chosen through a competitive process and we are confident their selection is best for Maine students and educators. Because they were the vendor that delivered the Smarter Balanced field test that many of your schools participated in this spring, their assessment engine and experience will be familiar to tens of thousands of Maine students and educators when it is first used statewide for State and federal accountability purposes in the spring of 2015.

AIR’s package includes summative and interim assessments for grades 3-8 and grade 11. Additionally, through our one-year contract with them, we will be able to provide high schools the option of utilizing interim and formative assessments for grades 9 and 10, though doing so of course remains entirely a local decision. The optional assessments will be provided at no cost to districts.

As you likely know, since 2007 Maine has used the SAT for State and federal accountability at the high school level and required all third-year students to participate. As the Department has previously communicated, the Smarter Balanced aligned assessment to be administered next year by AIR will replace the SAT as the mandatory grade 11 measure in math, critical reading and writing. That said, we know many high school students and families have appreciated that the State offered a free college readiness exam and it is our intention to again make one available in 2014-15, though certainly taking it would not be mandatory. We are currently exploring the best options for Maine students and schools, and will send out a priority notice as soon as decisions have been made.

We greatly value our relationship with our previous assessment administrator, Measured Progress, which will continue to provide our State science assessment and alternate, as well as our system for accountability reporting to the U.S. Department of Education. And we look forward to developing our new partnership with AIR in the year ahead as together with your help, we implement a fair, accurate and comprehensive assessment system that better provides parents and educators the information they need to help all Maine kids be college and career ready when they leave our schools.

If you have questions about the changes in our assessment program or would like technical assistance, please contact our Chief Academic Officer Rachelle Tome at rachelle.tome@maine.gov or 207-624-6705 or our Assessment Coordinator Sue Fossett at susan.fossett@maine.gov or 207-624-6775.

Sincerely,

Jim Rier, Commissioner
Maine Department of Education

Materials released in advance of Commissioner’s Conference

The following Priority Notice was distributed to school superintendents today in advance of the 103rd Annual Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents:

Dear Superintendents,

We look forward to working with you next week during the 103rd Annual Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents, scheduled to begin at noon on Monday, June 23 at Point Lookout in Northport. Continue reading

Registration open for World Languages Summer Institute

World Language teachers are encouraged to mark their calendars for the 3rd Annual World Languages Summer Institute, a highly successful part of the World Languages in Maine Schools: A Standards-Based Instruction and Assessment Initiative.
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Maine DOE opens registration for free online AP classes

The offering of free Advanced Placement courses through AP4ALL is another way the Maine Department of Education provides digital learning opportunities to all Maine students

AUGUSTA – Student registration is now open for free online Advanced Placement courses that will start next September.

As part of its commitment to providing digital learning opportunities to all Maine students, the Maine Department of Education’s AP4ALL program allows all high school students who are educated at the public expense access to the year-long online Advanced Placement courses. The Department also covers the cost of books and materials.

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AP4ALL registration now open

Student registration is now open for AP4ALL, which provides online Advanced Placement courses free of charge to any student residing in a Maine school administrative unit who is educated at the public expense. By offering online Advanced Placement courses at no charge, AP4ALL provides equity of access to any student residing in a Maine public high school regardless of where they live and the limits of resources available in their local school. Continue reading

Proficiency in World Languages more than just vocabulary

As Maine moves to a proficiency-based diploma, students will be required to demonstrate proficiency in content areas including World Languages.

World Languages are specific linguistic systems that involve not just vocabulary or “term sets,” but also reveal perspectives, expose cultures, allow students to interpret authentic cultural materials and engage in conversation in languages other than their own, and are organized and expressed through a structuring grammar and syntax. Continue reading

Regional standards-based instruction and assessment workshop for World Language teachers

The Standards-Based Instruction and Assessment Initiative is an ongoing collaborative effort between the Maine DOE, the Foreign Language Association of Maine and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Regional workshops are being offered through the collaborative to educate and support World Language teachers on standards-based instruction and assessment of student proficiency as districts implement the proficiency-based diploma law. Continue reading

Foreign languages teaching conference comes to Boston

K-12 World Languages teachers and administrators are encouraged to mark their calendars for the upcoming Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Continue reading

Jay Ketner joins Maine DOE as World Languages Specialist

Dr. Jay Ketner has joined the Maine DOE as its World Languages Specialist. In his new role, Ketner will support districts in their implementation of best practices in world languages education and serve as the regional representative for Cumberland County. Continue reading

Chinese guest teacher and trainee program applications due

The College Board Chinese Language and Culture Initiatives is sponsored through a collaboration with the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) and offers programs to support the growth of Chinese language and culture education in U.S. schools. Schools can apply now to host a Chinese guest teacher or teacher-in-training for the 2014-15 school year. The application deadline is Friday, Feb. 7.  Continue reading