Consortium sets new assessment achievement levels

Members of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium including Maine have voted to approve initial achievement levels for the mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA) assessment that will soon be administered.

Starting in the spring, Maine will use the Maine Educational Assessment in Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy, developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, as its annual statewide assessment. This new online adaptive assessment will better allow students to demonstrate critical and higher-order thinking skills; give educators and parents more timely information to inform instruction; and allow for a more efficient, cost-effective administration.

Since Smarter Balanced is offering assessments for both ELA and math for grades 3-8 and high school, the recommendations include achievement level scores for both subject areas and at each of those grade levels. The charts available here display the threshold scores that distinguish four achievement levels and display the estimated percentage of students across all Smarter Balanced states who would have scored at each level based on data from the consortium’s spring 2014 field test.

These initial achievement levels establish a new baseline for measuring college and career readiness and were developed with input from thousands of educators and members of the public including many from Maine. Moving forward, the achievement levels, along with scale scores that also will be reported, will help teachers and parents understand student performance and needs for support.

In approving the achievement levels, Smarter Balanced member states relied primarily on the recommendations from the achievement level setting process. Members also gave consideration to other sources of information about the general content readiness of high school students to engage in credit-bearing college-level work.

In the coming months, recommended achievement levels resulting from the consortium’s vote will be presented to the Maine DOE Commissioner for formal adoption here in the state.

Resources from the consortium on achievement level setting – including a video featuring Maine educator Michelle Deblois – are available at

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