Category Archives: Assessment

Maine DOE seeking online panel members to set achievement levels

As a governing state in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, Maine continues to support the efforts to develop a rigorous assessment system that will become operational in the 2014-15 school year. As part of those efforts, the Maine DOE is seeking qualified educators, administrators, parents and business/community leaders to participate in an online process to recommend cut scores for achievement levels on Smarter Balanced developed assessments.

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Optional high school assessment opportunities in 2014-15

To assist in preparing students for college and career readiness and post-secondary opportunities, the Maine Department of Education is pleased to announce our continued partnership with the College Board to provide high schools the opportunity to offer students the ReadiStep, PSAT, SAT and AccuPLACER as outlined below.
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Governing board for high school equivalency test selected

Educational Testing Service, the provider of the new ETS high school equivalency test program known as HiSET, has partnered with the Maine DOE and other states who administer HiSET to appoint a governing board to help set overall direction for the program.

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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

Commissioner’s Conference focuses on Proficiency-Based Diplomas and Educator Effectiveness

In closing comments of the 103rd Annual Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents, Education Commissioner Jim Rier applauded attendees for their attention and participation in the general and break-out sessions during the 3-day event. The Department collaborated with Maine School Management Association in planning the conference, which was designed to provide superintendents and other district administrators with guidance, technical assistance and practical tools to use in implementing recently-passed legislation.

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Maine DOE releases results from proficiency-based Readiness Inventory

The Maine DOE has released results from the proficiency-based diploma Readiness Inventory, a tool designed to help school districts better understand their progress toward proficiency and to help determine which of the six extension options is best for them to pursue.

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New resource for performance evaluation and professional growth systems

Following enactment of the Maine Educator Effectiveness law in 2012, the Maine DOE worked for over a year to finalize the rules that govern the development and implementation of performance evaluation and professional growth (PEPG) systems for teachers and principals.

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National Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) released

The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) has released the final version of its voluntary national standards in dance, media arts, music, theater and visual arts.

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Maine DOE to distribute funds to support proficiency-based diploma transition

Maine school administrative units (SAUs) will receive targeted funds to support the transition to a proficiency-based diploma again this year. Beginning in the fall, the Maine DOE will distribute to each SAU a grant in the amount of 1/10th of 1 percent of that SAU’s total cost of education, as calculated under the Essential Programs and Services (EPS) school funding formula. Under Maine law, the funds are to be spent “in the manner determined by the school administrative unit to fund the costs of the transition (to proficiency-based graduation) not otherwise subsidized by the State.”

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Maine DOE announces preview period for Smarter Balanced digital resources

The Smarter Balanced Digital Library preview launched on June 3.These on-demand materials are aligned to the Smarter Balanced assessment targets and will be an important resource for Maine teachers to understand progress in student learning. Continue reading