Maine DOE hires learning tech leader to assist with online assessment implementation

The Maine DOE has contracted one of the state’s foremost learning technology leaders to help schools as they prepare to administer Maine’s first-ever statewide online assessment this spring.

Andy Wallace
Andy Wallace

Andy Wallace will work with the Department to develop technology related resources and provide support to schools to ensure they are ready to successfully administer the Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).

Wallace is currently the technology director for the South Portland School Department and will continue in that role while also working with the Department on a seven month contract. He brings more than 14 years of experience as a technology director in both rural and urban school districts to the Department assignment, and was recently named the 2014 Administrator of the Year by the Maine Association of School Librarians. He also serves as the treasurer of the Association of Computer Technology of Maine (ACTEM), is Maine’s public school representative to the National Center for Educational Statistics and is frequently called upon to lead professional development sessions related to learning technology in Maine and beyond.

Last spring, Wallace’s district participated in the Smarter Balanced field test and he chronicled the experience and explored ways to simplify test administration for both students and educators on his blog and on Twitter using the handle @andrewtwallace.

While the computer adaptive nature of the new assessment necessitates additional local and State planning, it will ultimately help to improve teaching and learning in Maine by better allowing students in grades 3-8 and 11 to demonstrate critical and higher-order thinking skills and providing educators and parents more timely information to inform instruction.

A recent technology readiness survey by the Department reveals Maine schools are largely well-positioned to be successful in this new testing environment, but that technology support and assistance especially with testing and resource scheduling would enhance preparation.

In addition to answering questions from the field related to the technology components of the assessment, Wallace will work with SBAC and Maine DOE’s assessment vendor AIR to improve technology features of the assessment and its administration and with Apple and HP to ensure that all devices provided through the Department’s Maine Learning Technology Initiative are test-ready. He will also develop and maintain FAQs, protocols and best practices including sample schedules and approaches to technology resource allocation that will be posted on the Department’s website.

For technical assistance related to technology components of the MEA for mathematics and ELA/literacy, please contact Andy Wallace at meatech.doe@maine.gov. For additional assessment information including calendars, administration materials and other resources, visit www.maine.gov/doe/assessment.