Category Archives: Assessment

Notice of proposed rule changes: Chapter 13, Qualifying Examinations for Teachers, Educational Specialists and Administrators

The Maine DOE and the State Board of Education are proposing changes this fall to the rules regarding the qualifying examinations for credentialing purposes for teachers, educational specialists and administrators.

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Final deadline for proficiency-based diploma extension applications Oct. 18

The final deadline for districts looking for an extension in implementing a proficiency-based diploma requirement is next week.

Earlier this year, the Department released six extension request options to provide the time and support districts say they need to undertake the thoughtful, systemic change needed to ensure quality implementation of systems that support the awarding of proficiency-based diplomas starting in 2018.

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All students, all standards but different demonstrations of proficiency

As Maine moves toward a proficiency-based education system that will ensure students graduate from our high schools having mastered State learning standards, I am often asked what this expectation means for our nearly 30,000 students with disabilities.

A free appropriate public education must include support to allow students with disabilities to achieve the same high standards as other students.

I – like all of my colleagues at the Department and so many of you – believe that Maine students with disabilities deserve to graduate knowing that they have the knowledge and skills needed for future success. And I am confident that they can, even if their path toward proficiency sometimes looks different than that of their classmates. After all, in the true learner-centered system envisioned in Maine’s Education Evolving strategic plan, all students are active participants in and directors of their own learning, taking a meaningful role in planning learning activities and being allowed to choose the manner by which they display proficiency, whether it be a final exam, paper, project or other demonstration.

Maine law states that a diploma may be awarded to a child with a disability if that child achieves proficiency in the same standards as required of other children “as specified by the goals and objectives of the child’s individualized education plan.” The Department has always interpreted that language to mean that an IEP team may modify the means by which a student with a disability demonstrates proficiency in the standards and reflect that on the student’s IEP but they may not modify the standards themselves, which are codified in Department rule.

The federal Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS) and the U.S. Department of Education recently affirmed that, issuing a letter to the State of Louisiana in which they expressed significant concern about that state’s recently enacted law permitting IEP teams to change and lower the expectations for students with disabilities. The position set forth in their letter supports our Department’s own: to qualify for a diploma a student with disabilities must meet the same level of proficiency in the same standards as students without disabilities; however, the manner in which they demonstrate their eligibility for a diploma may differ.

Our Department means it when we say “all standards, all students.” And we are backing up that commitment by providing resources to support your local efforts including free coaching and tools.

For more information or technical assistance in supporting all students, please contact Maine DOE’s Director of Special Services Jan Breton at janice.breton@maine.gov or 624-6713. For more information about the proficiency-based diploma requirement and related resources, visit Getting to Proficiency: Graduating Every Student Prepared.

Smarter Balanced Digital Library surpasses 2K item mark, workshops offered

The Maine DOE is pleased to announce the Smarter Balanced Digital Library, a collection of vetted instructional, assessment and professional development resources, currently contains more than 2,000 resources, including each grade level, K-12, in the content areas of mathematics and English language arts.

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Fourth cohort of Maine Governor’s STEM Academy graduates

The 23 Academy Fellows who graduated from the Governor’s Academy for STEM Education Leadership program this summer were provided with professional development opportunities designed to build leadership qualities with a focus on STEM integration.

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Resources available to support transition to computerized English language proficiency assessment

In 2015-2016, ACCESS for ELLs 2.0, a computerized assessment, will replace the current paper-based version of ACCESS for ELLs for Grades 1-12. The paper-based assessment will continue to be available as an accommodation and for districts that do not have the technology to administer the assessment online. Kindergarten is not included in the changes and will remain an interactive, paper-based kit for the near future.

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Invitation to participate in NECAP science inquiry task field test

The Maine DOE is recruiting schools to serve as field testing sites to administer the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) Science Inquiry Tasks in grades 5, 8 and 11. The field tests give students the opportunity to engage with science content in non-traditional assessments and students are asked to provide feedback about their experience.

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NAEP tools available, board members sought

The National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), has unveiled a Back-to-School section on its website with resources for schools and stakeholders to prepare students for the upcoming assessment.

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Dine and Discuss to focus on formative assessment, digital library

The Maine Council of English Language Arts (MCELA) with support from the Maine DOE is inviting educators to attend an evening of collegial discussion and a light dinner to learn about formative assessment with an introduction to the Smarter Balanced digital library. Aligned with comprehensive assessments that provide more information about student learning and achievement than previous tests, the library will give educators high-quality, vetted tools to tailor instruction to individual student and classroom needs. Educators will also be able to submit resources and engage in online discussions to share information and learn from colleagues in Maine and across the country.

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2014-15 school year: We’re in this together

Congratulations on the start of the 2014-15 school year!

This week, Maine students are fortunate to be heading back to schools where they will be welcomed by educators who encourage their love of learning and are deeply dedicated to ensuring every one of them is successful.

On behalf of Governor LePage and all of us at the Department, I want to thank those teachers, administrators and other school staff for their care for and commitment to our students. Maine kids are increasingly being inspired in their classrooms and achievement in their studies is rising as a result, putting them on a path for future college and career success.

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