Maine’s academic achievement noted by Education Week

Maine continues to have its strengths and challenges according to a recently published ‘Quality Counts’ report released by the Education Week Research Center.

Among the areas of strength, Maine’s graduation rate increased by 11.4 percentage points in the past ten years, a substantially greater than the national increase of 8.4 percent.

At grade four, the percentage of Maine’s students who scored at proficient or above on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in math (41.1 percent) and reading (35.6 percent) were higher than the national percentages. Also, at grade 8, the percentage of Maine’s students who scored at proficient or above in math (35.4 percent) and in reading (35.6 percent) were higher than the national percentage.

One of Maine’s continued challenges remains the lack of improvement in grades four and eight reading scores, which have been flat since 2003. And while there has been growth in grades four and eight NAEP math scores, Maine still lags behind the national improvement rate.

Acting Education Commissioner Bill Beardsley says, “These rankings are positive indicators of Maine education outcomes and reflect the quality of teaching and a significant commitment of State resources to public education. They also suggest Maine has generally positive trends, as do most other states.”

Beardsley added, “There is no question we need to increase our focus on literacy and numeracy in the early elementary years…. Our Departmental objective marker is to increase the percentage of third graders who read and do math at an appropriate pace to graduate college and career ready.”

In addition to Maine’s lagging on the NAEP scores, the ‘Quality Counts’ report shows Maine, like many other states, also faces a wider poverty gap in the proficiency of our students.

For more information on NAEP, contact Coordinator of NAEP and International Assessments Paula Hutton at paula.hutton@maine.gov or 624-6636.