PRIORITY NOTICE: Public Comment Period for Science and Alternative Science Waiver from Public Reporting Now Open

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is seeking thirty (30) days of public comment from October 16 – November 14, 2020, on a waiver application (waiver from §8401(b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015) to the U.S. Department of Education (USED). The request seeks a waiver from publicly reporting student general and alternate science test data from the Spring 2021 assessment administration.

The U.S. Department of Education requires state educational agencies, when seeking waivers from statutory or regulatory requirements, solicit public comment on the application, respond to public comments, and provide evidence of the available comment period. A copy of the letter seeking waiver from §8401(b) of the ESEA as amended by ESSA can be downloaded with key elements of the request included below:

Federal program affected by the requested waiver

Section 1111(h) of the ESEA, as amended by the ESSA, requires State and LEA report cards to include information on student achievement on the academic assessments in reading/language arts, mathematics, and science described in section 1111(b)(2) at each level of achievement (as determined by the State under section 1111(b)(1)) for all students.

Maine is seeking a waiver from public reporting for the general and alternate science assessments. Maine’s 2021-2022 ESEA Data Dashboard (Report card) will continue to publicly report alternate assessment results for mathematics and English language arts.  Maine will continue to report the math and ELA/Literacy assessment results to parents through individualized student reports .

Maine will continue to meet all other reporting requirements. Maine specifically requests a waiver from the public reporting of both the general and alternate science assessments performance only.

Sections impacted include:

  • Section 1111(b)(2)(B)(iv)
  • Section 1111(b)(2)(B)(xi) (disaggregation of alt. science data by subgroup)
  • Section 1111(h)(1)(A)
  • Section 1111(h)(2)(iii)

Impact to Student Achievement

There will be no impact to assessing student achievement as all eligible students will continue to participate in the general science and science alternate assessment where applicable. The waiver will permit Maine to not publicly release student general and alternate science assessment achievement data. The Maine Department of Education will only report participation rates related to the administration of the general and alternate assessment in grades 5, 8, and the third-year high school during the 2021 spring administration. During the 2022 spring assessment administration, Maine will participate in the science alternate assessment on-line operational alternate assessment.  Standard setting and post equating in the summer of 2022 would allow for reportable student achievement levels and scores that fall.

Monitoring

Assessment administration will follow all assessment administration policies and protocols. Schools will be provided science data within the confidential reporting platform. Individual Student Reports (ISRs) will be available for bulk download in order to share applicable math and ELA/Literacy student performance with parents/guardians or caretakers.

Continuity of Services to Students

Public Comment

Maine has solicited public comment regarding a request for a waiver from public reporting. This public comment was announced through the Departments Newsroom, social media accounts and through relevant Listservs. Public comment was solicited between October 16th and November 14th, 2020 for a period of 30 days. A summary of comments and the Department’s response is attached with the waiver request. All comments, in support of or against the waiver request should be submitted to Janette Kirk at Janette.Kirk@maine.gov.