Category Archives: From the Commissioner

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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Opening day of new statewide online assessment a success

The following Priority Notice from Maine DOE Acting Commissioner Tom Desjardin was sent to Maine schools on Tuesday, March 17, announcing that the first day of the new statewide assessment had been a success and outlining Department support for schools throughout the March 16-May 29 testing window.

Dear Educators,

Yesterday, thousands of Maine students began the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced. More than a decade after we began putting technology in the hands of Maine students and teachers to support their 21st century learning and teaching, our state is finally using this familiar environment to assess what students know and are able to do.

From what you’ve told us, the first day of online testing was a success. In the words of one district: “So far. So good.” Schools reported no major problems and expressed appreciation that our Department’s staff had quick answers to any questions asked.  Continue reading

Maine DOE provides final preparation guidance to assessment administrators

The following Priority Notice was sent to those overseeing the administration of the new statewide assessment at the district and school level to overview resources available from the Department to support their final local preparations.

Dear District/System Administrators and School Test Coordinators,

With just a few days until the test window opens for the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced, we wanted to provide some final guidance to help School Test Coordinators (SCs) prioritize their efforts to best prepare their Test Administrators (TAs) to successfully give the test. Continue reading

Maine DOE reminds educators of MEA administration resources, new trainings

The following Priority Notice was sent to District/System Administrators, School Test Coordinators and Technology Directors on March 2 to highlight resources from the Maine DOE to support the successful administration of the upcoming State assessment, as well as announce upcoming regional technical assistance sessions.

Dear District/System Administrators, School Test Coordinators and Technology Directors,

With the window for giving the new online Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced opening in just two weeks, we want to make sure you have the resources you need to feel prepared for a successful test administration.

On our assessment website, you can find an extensive library of administration materials. With so many supports available, we wanted to draw your attention to a few including: Continue reading

Maine DOE renews efforts to support local change

The following Priority Notice was sent on Monday, Feb. 23 to inform Maine educators about the efforts of the Maine DOE to support the continued quality implementation of key initiatives that will improve teaching and learning in Maine, including the administration of new assessments, educator evaluation and the awarding of proficiency-based diplomas.

Dear Educators,

Welcome back from a well-deserved February break. As you know, in recent years the Department has successfully advocated for reforms that strengthen accountability, best practices and choice. The result is that our increasingly learner-centered schools will better prepare students for success in college, career and civic life.

Never before has more been expected of Maine students. The same could be said for our schools. Continue reading

Maine DOE recommends, rather than requires, assessment keyboards

The Maine DOE is pleased to announce that mechanical keyboards, while still recommended based on the best interest of some students, will no longer be required for the online administration starting next month of the new Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced. Continue reading

Feb. 11 deadline to sign up students for paper-pencil assessment

The following Priority Notice was sent on Feb. 4 to District/System Administrators and School Coordinators for the Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced, alerting them of the Feb. 11 deadline by which to request individual students be provided paper-pencil tests.

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iOS 8 compatible secure browser for assessment available soon

The following Priority Notice was distributed on Tuesday, Jan. 13 to superintendents, technology directors and district/system assessment administrators (DSAs) to alert them that an iOS 8 compatible secure browser for administration of the new online assessment was being developed by AIR and would be coming later this month. Continue reading

Department reminds district leaders EDFacts Staff Survey past due

The following Priority Notice was distributed on Tuesday, Jan. 6 to superintendents and business managers reminding them of the expectation to submit 2013-14 EDFacts Annual Academic Staff Survey as required by the U.S. Department of Education.
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Districts asked to select assessment coordinator

The following Priority Notice was distributed on Friday, Dec. 5 to superintendents requesting they identify a district assessment coordinator to coordinator and ensure a successful administration of the 2014-15 State assessment. Please note the survey has not been linked to this Newsroom posting but was provided directly to superintendents.

Dear Superintendents,

As we prepare for the spring 2015 administration of the new Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, we need you to identify an individual from your district to fill a critical role.  Continue reading