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.

Dear District/System Administrators and School Coordinators,

There are many benefits to an online administration of the new Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by Smarter Balanced. The computer delivery will better allow students to demonstrate critical and higher-order thinking skills; more accurately measure where students are; give educators and parents more timely information to inform instruction; and allow for a more efficient, cost-effective administration.

As a result, the Department is highly recommending schools give the test electronically but understands there may be individual students who are unable to access the assessment using a computer (e.g., medical reason for avoiding screen viewing). For those cases, the Maine DOE is providing a procedure for requesting a paper-pencil version of the assessment. Please note, this is a different process than choosing to provide a schoolwide paper-pencil administration of the assessment, the deadline for which is today.

Before requesting a paper-pencil test for an individual student, please review the Usability, Accessibility and Accommodations Implementation Guide (UAAG) that outlines the myriad of designated supports and accommodations available to support student access. If the available supports in the UAAG do not provide an acceptable level of access for an individual student, a paper test may be requested. In some cases, a student may have a paper-pencil accommodation for instruction/assessment on an IEP or 504 Plan, though you will not find this specifically listed as an accommodation in the UAAG. In other cases, there may be students, even students without disabilities, who are unable to take the assessment via technology for other reasons. Note that in that guide, there is an accommodation called “Print on Demand” which is not the same thing as taking the test in paper-pencil form.

If approved for a paper-pencil test administration, a student will no longer have the option of taking a computer-administered version of the test. The student will also not have access to many of the accessibility features of the computer-administered version.

To request a paper-pencil test for student(s) you know will require one, please complete the form linked here for each student and fax it to us at 207-624-6771 no later than Wednesday, Feb. 11. We will send our approval decision back to you at the fax number provided.

Please direct any questions about requesting a paper-pencil test for an individual student to Bethany Dodge at Bethany.L.Dodge@maine.gov. For general assessment information or technical assistance, please visit www.maine.gov/doe/assessment or contact the Department’s Acting Assessment Coordinator Nancy Godfrey at Nancy.Godfrey@maine.gov or 624-6775.