Category Archives: Assessment

Reclassification using Alternate ACCESS for ELLs composite score

Recent federal guidance allows Maine to define English language proficiency for an English learner with a disability who participates in Maine’s alternate English language proficiency (ELP) assessment, the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs.

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Department provides support for computer-based administration of ACCESS 2.0

The Maine DOE continues to support schools as they prepare for a successful administration of the computer-based ACCESS FOR ELLs 2.0, Maine’s English language proficiency assessment for English learners during the Nov. 30, 2015 to Jan. 29, 2016 testing window.

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Narrowing down the process

The Standardized Assessment Task Force and a few hundred stakeholders and educators all weighed in as the Maine DOE crafted a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking a new vendor for the 2015-16 administration of the MEA for math and ELA/literacy. The comments and feedback were crucial to the process and helped inform the writing of the document that is in its final stages. The finalized RFP goes to the Maine State Bureau of Purchases and Sales for approval, which includes securing the Governor’s approval. After that, Maine DOE will make the RFP publicly available.

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Reporting of 2015 math and ELA/literacy results

Results from the spring 2015 Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) for mathematics and English language arts/literacy are being carefully rolled out. The steps in that process include:

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Standardized Assessment Task Force update

Work continues as the Standardized Assessment Task Force participates in an email exchange of questions and answers, a system which was designed to be less invasive on members’ summer vacation and repeated travel to Augusta (even from as far away as St Agatha) for structured meetings.

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Standardized Assessment Task Force created to inform RFP process

The Standardized Assessment Task Force of 21 Maine educators are busy at work this summer as the state seeks a vendor/partner to carry out the Maine Educational Assessment for public school students in grades 3-8 and 11. In June, the task force met to discuss the successes and needed areas of improvement of the last assessment. Now the role of this group is to engage in a question and answer exchange that will act as a guide to help the Department draft a Request for Proposals (RFP). These proposals will be scored according to the RFP to determine which organization will serve as Maine’s next vendor.

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Updates on Smarter Balanced and results

With the legislative enactment of LD 1276 An Act to Improve Educational Assessments of Maine Students, approved by the governor on June 16, now Private and Special Law 2015, Chapter 10, “Directs the Department of Education to terminate the State’s membership in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.” The discontinuation of membership in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium means that we will not be able to use the Smarter Balanced Assessment in future years. It also terminates Maine’s access to the Smarter Balanced Digital Library.

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Commissioner’s Conference

In case you missed the 104th Annual Commissioner’s Conference, here is a recap with valuable links.

Acting Commissioner of Education, Thomas Desjardin opened and closed the conference at Sunday River with timely updates on the ongoing FY16 budget discussions and voting at the State House at the time. He also acknowledged the ever changing educational climate and the hard work and successes of school leaders and Maine DOE’s support through its multi-faceted services.

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Smarter Balanced bill passes committee

The following Priority Notice from Maine DOE Acting Commissioner Tom Desjardin was sent to schools on Thursday, May 21.

Dear Educators,

On Monday (5/18/15) the legislature’s Joint Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs held a work session on LD 1276 “An Act To Improve Educational Assessments of Maine Students.” This bill required that the Department of Education withdraw from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and not engage with SBAC on any future statewide assessments.

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Commissioner’s Update – May 21, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

On Monday May 18 the legislature’s Joint Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs held a work session on LD 695 “An Act To Empower Parents in the Education of Their Children by Allowing an Opt-out from Standardized Assessments.” The end result was that 11 of the 13 committee members voted not to force local school districts to inform parents of their right to opt-out of statewide assessment. Two of the eleven voted to pass a version of the bill without that requirement. The bill now goes to the Maine House and Senate.

Discussion of the bill included a lot of information regarding the legal aspects of this potential action. This included legal opinions from attorneys with both the Office of the Maine Attorney General and the legislature’s Office of Policy and Legal Analysis.

Both attorneys advised the committee that parents and students have a right to not take the standardized statewide assessment. No one is going to force a child to sit and take the test. They do not, however, have a right to be shielded from the consequences of that act which could range from action by the school district or loss of federal funding for the school. Local school districts in Maine have the authority under state law to place requirements on students and not award a diploma if the student does not meet these requirements. This could include things such as community service, a senior year graduation exam, or participation in statewide or local assessments.

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Notices and Reporting

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News & Views

Annual MLTI student technology conference brings 1000+ to UMaine Thursday

Over 1,000 students and educators will bring their Maine Department of Education provided digital devices to UMaine on Thursday for a one-day conference. | More

Maine DOE announces teacher leadership summit

The Maine DOE is promoting the Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers (ECET2) summit at Colby College in Waterville on August 6-7. | More

Hiring standards for school nutrition program directors take effect July 1

Beginning July 1 school nutrition program directors will be required to meet new hiring standards as a result of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recent ruling establishing national professional standards for all school nutrition employees. | More

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