The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is seeking public comment on a request to the U.S. Department of Education (USED) to waive some of the requirements in Maine’s federal accountability system. Maine has administered all required assessments to meet the expectations outlined in ESEA section 1111(b)(2), and as with any transition to a new state-administered assessment, the Department is required to ensure that all accountability system requirements are met.
Pursuant to Sections 8401 (b) and 8401(d)(2) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and Section 421(b) of the General Provisions Act, the Maine DOE is seeking approval from the U.S. Department of Education to:
- Waive implementation of Maine’s accountability system and
- Waive report card provisions related to certain assessments and accountability in section 1111(h) based on data from the 2021-2022 school year, namely:
- Section 1111(h)(1)(C)(i) Accountability system description
- Section 1111(h)(1)(C)(iii)(I) other academic indicator results
- Section 1111(h)(1)(C)(v) (school quality or student success indicator results).
- Section 1111(h)(1)(C)(vi) (progress toward meeting long-terms goals and measurements of interim progress).
If granted, waiving §8401(b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 will continue to advance student achievement as all Maine students continue to receive instruction and participate in a variety of local and state assessment. This ongoing relationship between curriculum, instruction, and assessment, provides the opportunity for schools to continue focusing on student (group) achievement and to identify and support students (groups) who may be experiencing challenges. Identification of schools at this time – before we have completed the standard-setting process – could lead to errors in school identification. Flaws in the identification of schools impacts the credibility of not only Maine’s Model of School Support but the Maine DOE. Maintaining supports for currently identified schools will:
- Allow the Maine DOE to provide continuous support to school and classroom leaders during the 2022-2023 school year. Currently identified schools have indicated their preference to remain identified and receive assigned supports.
- Ensure the trust developed between the Maine DOE and the Maine SAUs/schools is preserved.
- Avoid the identification new schools during a transition of assessments without the ability to develop relevant, realistic, and achievable goals.
Additionally, granting the waiver request would provide the Maine DOE, in collaboration with SAU leaders, the opportunity to provide extended, meaningful professional learning to districts and schools around the updated state assessment, its purposes, and appropriate applications of the data. These professional learning opportunities will also serve to expand state assessment literacy and engagement among the field and increase the capacity of educators and administrators to share this information in an accurate and timely way with Maine students, families, and community stakeholders
As part of the statutory requirements for seeking this waiver, the Maine DOE must solicit and respond to public comment on its waiver request as well as provide evidence of the available comment period. The public comment period shall begin on June 24 and conclude on July 11, 2022. A copy of the full waiver is available on the ESSA webpage within the Maine DOE website. Public comments on the waiver request may be sent to ESSA.DOE@maine.gov.