Maine Educators Lend Expertise to Support Assessment Development

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) would like to thank four Maine educators who recently participated in the recent Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA) Bias/Sensitivity Passage Review.

The MSAA is Maine’s alternate assessment for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.  As a partner in the MSAA Consortium, Maine participates in the ongoing development cycle of these assessments.  This participation ensures that Maine continues to strive toward increasing higher outcomes for students with cognitive disabilities, in preparation for a broad array of post-secondary opportunities.

Many thanks to the following panelists for sharing their time and expertise during this review:

Maine educators have multiple pathways to contribute to this work, and their expertise is a valued contribution to this process.  Interested in participating on future review panels?  Email Jodi Bossio-Smith, state coordinator for the alternate assessments at

2021/22 Assessment Calendar Now Available

Thank you to the Maine educators who provided responses to the Maine Department of Education (DOE) assessment survey and attended weekly assessment office hours between February and June sharing feedback that was used to inform the construction of the 2021-2022 assessment calendar. The Maine DOE is pleased to share the finalized assessment calendar for school year 2021–2022.

Reminders related to administration of NWEA:

  • Language Usage
    Beginning with the fall 2021 administration, the NWEA language usage assessment will be administered in addition to the math and reading NWEA MAP growth assessments. Students in grades 3–8 and 3rd year of high school (HS) are required to participate in the fall and spring administration of math, reading and language usage.
  • 2nd year of high school students
    School Administrative Units (SAUs) have the option to administer the NWEA assessment to students who are in their 2nd year of high school at no cost to the SAU.
  • Winter Administration
    SAUs have the option to administer the NWEA during the winter assessment window as outlined in the MEA calendar (below). In order to ensure sufficient instructional weeks between assessment administrations, the winter NWEA assessment window is scheduled for January 17–February 10, 2022.

The finalized assessment calendar takes into consideration the following:

  • Advanced Placement (AP)
    According the responses on the assessment survey, Maine educators indicated that it would be beneficial for students to be able to focus on preparing and participating in these assessments.  To accommodate this request, assessment windows for HS math, reading and language usage (NWEA) and science will be conducted during May 16–27,
  • Sufficient Instructional Time
    Maine educators also indicated a preference for assessments to be conducted, where possible, later during the spring. The science and NWEA administrations are scheduled for May 2021.
    Eighty percent (80%) of Maine SAUs indicated they will be utilizing the NWEA assessment during the winter administration window. The spring administration dates are influenced by the winter administration dates to ensure sufficient  instructional weeks between fall -> winter and winter -> spring assessment administration.
  • Staggered Implementation
    The Department did explore a staggered administration of NWEA for grades 3-8 and high school however, this would require the assessment window remain open for both administrations. This would significantly reduce the opportunity for Maine SAUs to use text-to-speech (TTS) outside of the state assessment administration windows (see below).

Other factors influencing the construction of the assessment calendar included:

  • School Vacation
    Assessment is not staggered over spring vacation during April and therefore eliminates potential scheduling challenges and equity of administration prior to and after spring vacation.
  • Availability of Text-to-Speech (TTS)
    Educators were clear in their desire to use TTS outside of the state assessment window. TTS remains unavailable during the identified [reading] assessment windows as outlined below.  SAUs may choose to administer the NWEA assessment locally outside of the identified 4-week windows and apply/utilize the TTS functionality.  The administration of the assessment using TTS is in addition to the state required administration of the assessment

 2021-2022 Assessment Calendar:  

A copy of the assessment calendar is also located on the assessment calendar page within the Maine DOE website.

Content Area  Assessment     State Assessment Administration Window   Grades   
Mathematics, Reading, Science, and Financial Literacy PISA  (selected schools only) September 30-October 29 Age 15
Math, Reading and Language Usage* NWEA

(Required: fall window

(August 15-November 30)

 October 4-29 Grades 3-8, 3rd year HS

(2nd year HS optional)

English Language Proficiency ACCESS & Alt. ACCESS January 10-March 4 K-12/ 1-12 (alternate)
Math, Reading and Language Usage NWEA

(Optional: winter window

December 1-February 28)

 January 17-February 10 Optional: Grades 3-8, 3rd year HS /

2nd year HS)

Mathematics and Reading Grades 4 and 8

Civics and U.S. History Grade 8

NAEP  (selected schools only) January 24-March 4 Grades 4 & 8
Alternate Math & ELA Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA) March 14-April 29 Grades 3-8, 3rd year HS
Alternate Science MSAA Science March 14-April 29 Grades 5, 8, 3rd year HS
Science Maine Science May 2-13 Grades 5 & 8
Maine Science May 16-27 3rd year of HS
Math, Reading and Language Usage*  NWEA

(Required: spring window

March 1-June 15)

May 2-27 Grades 3-8, 3rd year HS

(2nd year HS optional)

Further questions can be directed to Janette Kirk, Chief of Learning Systems.  

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.


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




MEDIA RELEASE: Three Maine Schools Receive National Blue Ribbon School Honors

The U.S. Department of Education today announced three Maine schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2019. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. The three schools are:

  • Cape Elizabeth High School, Cape Elizabeth Public Schools
  • Fruit Street School, Bangor School Department
  • Yarmouth High School, Yarmouth School Department

The National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content.

Now in its 37th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed recognition on more than 9,000 schools. On November 14 and 15, the Secretary and the Department of Education will celebrate with 312 public and 50 non-public school honorees at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The Department recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, student subgroup scores and graduation rates:

  • Exemplary High Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
  • Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students.

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The Department invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by The Council for American Private Education (CAPE).

Photographs and brief descriptions of the 2019 National Blue Ribbon Schools are available at

For more information contact Kelli Deveaux (207) 624-6747 or

Reduced Rate Access and Training for Pk-3rd Grade Teachers Using Teaching Strategies Gold®

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) has finalized a contract with Teaching Strategies to support the use of their Gold® assessment tool in elementary grade (Pk-3) classrooms.

Teaching Strategies Gold® is an authentic formative assessment tool that aligns to Maine’s Early Learning and Development Standards for PreK and Maine’s College and Career Ready Standards for kindergarten through 3rd grade. Teachers observe and document evidence of student skills as part of authentic instruction.  Data collected through this assessment is captured in an online platform.

Public schools will be able to access a reduced per student rate of $15.95 for the 2019-20 school year. Schools may apply for this reduced rate here. Use of Teaching Strategies Gold® is an option for use as part of a school or district’s local assessment system.  It is not a state required assessment.

In addition to the reduced rate, the Maine DOE is hosting a two-day training on August 19th and 20th for teachers and administrators who are new to using this assessment.  The training will be held at the Maine State Library located at 230 State St. Augusta, Maine. Training will cover the research behind Gold® and how to access the online platform. Educators will also have time to navigate the tool and practice observation skills of individual student development. Administrators new to the tool are encouraged to attend day one (8/19/2019). Training is limited to 30 participants and will be offered on a first come, first served basis. Registration will automatically close once it has reached 30 participants.

Registration for all participants is now open through August 16, 2019.

Click here for more information about Teaching Strategies Gold®,

For questions, contact Nicole Madore at 624-6677 or