PRIORITY NOTICE: Department’s proposed diploma bill (LD 1898) released for review

The Maine Department of Education’s proposal for the high school diploma, as referenced in this recent priority notice, was released from the Maine State Legislature Office of the Revisor of Statutes on Wednesday, April 4 as LD 1898, An Act To Amend Maine’s High School Diploma Standards and Ensure Maine Students Meet State Standards upon Graduation.

The Commissioner requested that the Department’s proposal be submitted as a “Governor’s” bill to allow for the greatest possible opportunity for discussion between the Department and the public. The Department considers this discussion to be an open dialog and we look forward to further conversations.

A public hearing is expected to be scheduled for early next week. Once it is scheduled, it will be posted on the Joint Standing Education and Cultural Affairs Committee calendar.

In anticipation of the public hearing, the Department is providing an updated summary of what the bill does and does not do.

LD 1898

  1. Removes the mandate that districts base a diploma on an undefined concept (“proficiency”) by repealing 4722-A and replacing it with 4722-B.
  2. Points to a reasonable and appropriate level of achievement in two foundational content areas (English and math) required for the diploma
  3. Bases achievement criteria on knowledge, skills, and progressions that are already present and defined in Maine’s Learning Results
  4. Provides students with disabilities equitable access to education and a diploma
  5. Requires that students have high quality instruction and learning in all content areas
  6. Makes room for students to access their education through both traditional, (classroom-based) avenues and non-traditional (experience-based) avenues in separate, integrated, and independent contexts
  7. Allows districts to implement diploma requirements beyond the minimum set by the state

LD 1898 does not

  1. Eliminate what has come to be called “proficiency-based education,” “proficiency-based teaching,” or “proficiency-based learning.” Instruction and learning based on learning outcomes, as described by some in recent articles, is standards-based education by a different name.  Maine schools have been striving for and succeeding in implementing teaching and learning based on standards since the state adopted the Maine Learning Results in 1997. Under the Department’s proposal, school districts may continue to teach, grade, and structure learning as they determine best meets the needs of students, parents, and the school community

PRIORITY NOTICE: Maine Department of Education’s proposal for the high school diploma

In light of recent articles and editorials about the proficiency-based diploma and the fate of proficiency-based education, the Commissioner is providing insight regarding the forthcoming Department proposal for the diploma. The Commissioner requested that the Department’s proposal be submitted as a “Governor’s” bill to allow for a process that includes a public hearing and work session(s).   The most significant difference between the Department’s proposed diploma and the proficiency-based diploma is that uncertainty has been removed and a reasonable level of achievement has been clearly identified as a minimum requirement for a diploma.

Specifically,

The Department’s proposal:

  1. Removes the mandate that districts base a diploma on an undefined concept (“proficiency”)
  2. Points to a reasonable and appropriate level of achievement in two foundational content areas (English and math) required for the diploma
  3. Bases achievement criteria on knowledge, skills, and progressions that are already present and defined in Maine’s Learning Results
  4. Provides students with disabilities equitable access to education and a diploma
  5. Ensures that students will have high quality instruction and learning in all content areas
  6. Makes room for students to access their education through both traditional, (classroom-based) avenues and non-traditional (experience-based) avenues
  7. Allows districts to implement diploma requirements beyond the minimum set by the state

The Department’s proposal does not:

  1. Impose a mandated or de facto grading structure
  2. Eliminate or impose a barrier to what has come to be called “proficiency-based education,” “proficiency-based teaching,” or “proficiency-based learning.” Instruction and learning based on outcomes, as described by some in recent articles, is actually a description of standards-based education, which Maine schools have been striving for since the state adopted the Maine Learning Results in 1997. Under the Department’s proposal, school districts may continue to teach, grade, and structure learning as they determine best meets the needs of students, parents, and the school community.

The Department considers this discussion to be an open dialog, and we look forward to further conversations on this proposal once the bill is released.

Reach Higher Maine Webinar: The New CTE Pathway to Maine’s Proficiency Diploma

Reach Higher Maine has developed a series of free webinars designed to provide school counselors & those working with student’s tools to use in their college and career readiness programs.

Live Webinar Date:  January 31st 2018, 1:30 PM

The webinar will be recorded and available on the Reach Higher Maine Google Classroom

Description: Presenters will dispel the myths surrounding the CTE Pathway by showcasing the talent, ambition and resilience of CTE students. Through video, we will share the stories of students who have walked the CTE pathway and turned struggle and uncertainty in to self-confidence and future promise.  We will take the time to clarify the new CTE diploma pathway and discuss how CTE schools statewide can act as a resource and academic partner for students working toward achieving proficiency in an evidence based system

The webinar is free and will provide a certificate of completion upon request as well as access to the Discussion Board where you can ask questions of the presenters or the rest of the attendees.  We are hoping this will encourage attendees to share best practices.

Register for this course 

Presenters:

  • Danielle Despins, MOA/CSR Coordinator – Special Populations and Gender Equity Coordinator from the Maine Department of Education’s Career and Technical Education team
  • Dave Boardman, Ed.D. Mass Media Communications instructor at the Mid-Maine Technical Center

Handouts include:

  • Maine Proficiency Diploma Pathway Requirements
  • Maine Proficiency Diploma Requirements

Resources:

  • Reach Higher Maine Google Classroom A Google email (@Gmail.com) account is needed to access to the Google Classroom

  • To access this webinar after January 31st or to access past webinars, log into the Reach Higher Maine Google Classroom. Once you are logged into your email, click the + in the upper right hand corner to “Create or join your first class!,” then select “Join class.” The class code is 1bs991n.
  • Welcome and Orientation to Education SeriesShort video to help you access and navigate the Google Classroom so that you can get the most out of this experience 

 

For more information please contact Reach Higher Maine at ReachHigherMaine@gmail.com

Reach Higher Maine is a coalition of Maine education & workforce professionals with the goal of helping to expose Maine students to education and career opportunities by helping to support school counselors in their work.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Maine DOE’s path forward with respect to Chapter 134 (Regulations for Awarding a High School Diploma)

After careful review of all oral and written comments received by the Maine DOE regarding proposed rule Chapter 134, Regulations for Awarding a High School Diploma, the Maine DOE has made the decision to withdraw the current proposed rule and restart the rulemaking process after a brief pause for conceptual conversations. The conceptual conversations will provide an opportunity to explore areas needing greater clarity in the current proposed rule Chapter 134. The Maine DOE remains committed to the proficiency-based diploma law (20-A MRS 4722-A) and remains committed to drafting a proposed rule that supports the implementation of a diploma based on evidence of proficiency.

The Department intends to start a new rulemaking process for proposed rule Chapter 134 once the following steps have been taken:

1.) During the month of October, Maine DOE’s Proficiency-based Education (PBE) Specialist will reach out to professional organizations to invite representatives from each of their stakeholder groups (superintendents, principals, curriculum leaders, special education directors, teachers, parents, and school board members) to engage in small (approximately 15 participants), role-alike, conceptual discussions regarding equitable access to a high school diploma and student readiness for entering career and college opportunities after high school. A randomly selected high school from each superintendent region will be contacted to engage in small (approximately 15 participants) conceptual conversations with students. These conceptual discussions will be facilitated by the Maine DOE PBE Specialist and guided by the following discussion prompts. (The Commissioner and other Maine DOE members may join the conversations as their schedules allow.):

a.) To what degree do you agree or disagree with this statement and why: The knowledge, required skills, and qualifications required for entrance into post-secondary opportunities in industry, trade, business, and higher education vary.

What do you see is needed to prepare students for their post-secondary next step?

b.) To what degree do you agree or disagree with this statement and why: The transcript and diploma are inseparable companion documents that together articulate a student’s readiness for the postsecondary next step she or he has chosen.

What do you see is needed to clearly articulate a student’s readiness for the postsecondary next step she or he has chosen?

c.) To what degree do you agree or disagree with this statement and why: The high school transcript must clearly communicate the student’s proficiency across the grade span progressions (preschool-grade 2; grades 3-5; grades 6-8; grades 9-12) thus providing a clear, accurate communication of what the student has achieved and what the diploma based on proficiency represents for each student.

What do you see is needed to clearly articulate what a student has learned?

d.) To what degree do you agree or disagree with this statement and why: Every student needs a personal learning plan and a small team whose primary goal is to understand the student’s aspirations, strengths, challenges, contexts of his or her life. The team works collaboratively with the student and others to provide the student access to learning experiences that support her or him so that she or he may learn as close to full potential as humanly possible. The focus on the team is always on the student developing competencies that will support her or his aspirations and development of efficacy towards these aspirations as well as the student’s ability to reach the highest grade span proficiency level possible while eligible to attend our public schools.

What do you see is needed to increase the probability that a student will graduate ready for his or her postsecondary next step?

e.) To what degree do you agree or disagree with this statement and why: Statewide agreement regarding what proficiency means or looks like in each grade span progressions (preschool-grade 2; grades 3-5; grades 6-8; grades 9-12) is necessary to support student opportunity to learn and demonstrate proficiency.

What do you see is needed to support opportunity to learn and demonstrate proficiency across the state?

f.) Would you be willing to share a final thought as a result today’s conversation

2.) Taking into consideration the insights gained from the upcoming conceptual discussions and the September public comments, the Maine DOE staff will write a new proposed rule Chapter 134 and begin again the Maine Administrative Procedures Act (A.P.A.) routine technical rule process pursuant to 5 MRS §8052 (public notice of filing, public hearing, open public comment period).The Maine DOE is working diligently to honor the integrity and vision for the high school diploma and transcript articulated in Maine education statute 20-A MRS §4722-A as well as the routine technical rulemaking pursuant to section §4722-A subsection 7. Maine DOE believes public input is a critically important.

It is clear from the oral and written comments submitted on proposed rule Chapter 134 that there is commitment in Maine to provide opportunity for all students to learn as much as they can the entire time the students are eligible to attend our public schools. It is also clear that the diploma has great social meaning and currency in our society. Clearly evident in the comments is that equity sits at the heart of the debate regarding what constitutes sufficient evidence for proficiency. We have provided links below to both the oral and written comments received by the September 8th deadline.

Recorded public hearing and the written comments received by September 8, 2017 for proposed rule Chapter 134 submitted by September 8, 2017.

For more information on proposed rule Chapter 134 and the diploma based on proficiency, contact Maine Department of Education Proficiency-Based Education Specialist, Diana Doiron at diana.doiron@maine.gov

Link available for Recorded Hearing on Proposed Rule Chapter 134 (Regulations for Awarding a High School Diploma)

A recording of the August 14 public hearing of proposed rule Chapter 134 (Regulation for Awarding a High School Diploma) is now available at the following link.

Link to recorded public hearing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mA1QZ88BOuw&feature=youtu.be

Written comments may also be submitted by 5pm on September 8, 2017 to the attention of Diana Doiron at diana.doiron@maine.gov or at Maine Department of Education, 23 State House Station, Augusta, ME  04333.

Pursuant to the rulemaking requirements in 20-A MRS §4722-A, Chapter 134 rule must address the following:

  • Allow flexibility and innovation at the school and district level for the development of consistent graduation standards.
  • Identify the manner in which multiple pathways in career and technical education can provide evidence of proficiency in the disciplines of the content areas and Guiding Principles of Maine’s system of learning results.
  • Establish criteria for the placement in career and technical education programs while ensuring all students are exposed to all content areas of the system of learning results.

 

For more information on proposed rule Chapter 134 and the diploma based on proficiency, contact Maine Department of Education Proficiency-Based Education Specialist, Diana Doiron at diana.doiron@maine.gov