Category Archives: Assessment

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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Notice regarding “opting-out” of statewide assessments

The following Priority Notice from Maine DOE Acting Commissioner Tom Desjardin was sent to schools on Wednesday, May 20.

Dear Educators,

On Monday (5/18/15) 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.

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Commissioner’s Update – May 14, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

LD 131 “An Act To Amend the Laws Related to Public Funding of Charter Schools” was signed May 8, 2015 by Governor LePage. Under the new law  Maine DOE will make monthly payments directly to approved public charter schools starting in FY16, the same way the Department has long distributed funds to traditional public school districts.

Currently, districts that lose students to public charter schools are billed directly by the receiving charter school. The Maine DOE will provide financial relief to traditional school units since they no longer must include these payments in their annual budgets.

The new funding method will relieve the unpredictable financial impact of charters to individual (sending) districts and was overwhelmingly supported by leaders of Maine’s school districts, including the 100 or so that now have at least one student enrolled in one of the state’s five bricks-and-mortar charter schools or the virtual Maine Connections Academy. The change also allows Maine to move beyond the divisive debate about charter school funding and refocus on how to create opportunities for students to be most successful at Maine public schools, whether they be charters or traditional.

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Notices and Reporting

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News & Views

First Lady LePage, Acting Education Commissioner announce 2015 County Teachers of the Year

First Lady Ann LePage and Acting Education Commissioner Tom Desjardin marked Teacher Appreciation Week by announcing the top teacher from each Maine county. | More

Maine Department of Education pledges additional funding to support autism resource, research institute

The Maine Department of Education is committing over $150,000 to continue the work of the state’s first autism institute. | More

Department seeks feedback on ESEA waiver renewal

The Maine DOE is seeking feedback on Maine’s proposed Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Waiver Renewal application. | More

Alternate assessment for math, ELA closing May 15

The deadline to submit the National Center and State Collaborative Alternate Assessment (NCSC), used to assess students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in mathematics and English language arts is this Friday, May 15. | More

Maine DOE joins library advocates in Washington, D.C. for National Library Legislative Day

Last week the Maine DOE was represented along with hundreds of library supporters in Washington, D.C. to speak with their legislators about the importance of libraries. | More

Notice to 30th annual school wellness conference applicants; due date extended to May 29

If your school submitted an application for the 30th Annual Maine Schoolsite Health Promotion Program “Wellness” Conference to the Maine DOE but has not yet received a confirmation please contact the Department. | More

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Alternate assessment for math, ELA closing May 15

The deadline to submit the National Center and State Collaborative Alternate Assessment (NCSC), used to assess students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in mathematics and English language arts is this Friday, May 15.

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Commissioner’s Update – April 30, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

As parts of its commitment to ensuring all students have access to great teachers and leaders, the Maine DOE has developed a resource that districts can use to self-assess their readiness to pilot their Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth (PEPG) systems in the 2015-16 school year. The Pilot Readiness Guide provides:

  • The current implementation timeline
  • Key system components that districts must and/or should pilot
  • Indicators of readiness to pilot each component
  • Relevant resources, with page and section references
  • Questions that school administrative units might seek to answer during the pilot
  • Guidance for Teacher Incentive Fund districts (TIF 3 and TIF 4)
  • DEMO student learning and growth effectiveness rating scales

This guide is intended for local district use. It is not for reporting purposes. As a follow-up to this resource, in June, the Department will ask districts to confirm their intent to pilot by completing a short online survey. Details about this process will be provided with the release of the survey.

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Notices and Reporting

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News & Views

Maine DOE invites educators to performance assessment webinar

The Maine DOE is inviting Maine educators to participate in a free webinar, Laying the Foundation for Performance Assessment: Lessons Learned from the Innovation Lab Network Pilot in New England, on Wednesday, May 27 at 3 p.m. | More

Regional school calendars past due

The Department is reminding school administrative units (SAU) and private schools approved for tuition purposes that they are now required to establish regional school calendars, in coordination with their local secondary Career and Technical Education (CTE) school. | More

Educators encouraged to save the date for MLTI Summer Institute

The Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) is encouraging educators to save the date for its 2015 Summer Institute, scheduled July 21-23 at Bowdoin College in Brunswick. | More

MaineCare Seed payment adjustments made, report review due May 22

The Maine DOE is reminding school administrative units (SAUs) that the remaining 2014-15 subsidy checks for General Purpose Aid for local schools will reflect adjustments for MaineCare Seed payments paid by the Department on behalf of districts. | More

Alternate assessments closing soon

The deadline to submit the MEA Alternate Science (PAAP) portfolios electronically is 5 p.m. today, April 30. | More

Maine teachers invited to participate in assessment hand scoring

Maine’s teachers are invited to apply for part-time work available now through June as a reader/evaluator in the scoring process for students across states who participated in the 2015 Smarter Balanced developed assessment.| More

Newly released ACCESS for ELLs® score reports a resource for supporting students

The Maine DOE is reminding schools that the ACCESS for ELLs® score reports received earlier this month can be used to determine if individual English learners are meeting expected English language proficiency growth. | More

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LATEST DOE Career/Project Opportunities

Maine teachers invited to participate in assessment hand scoring

Maine’s teachers are invited to apply for part-time work available now through June as a reader/evaluator in the scoring process for students across states who participated in the 2015 Smarter Balanced developed assessment. Continue reading