Maine students among top scorers in national cyber security program

Maine students recently took part in the GirlsGoCyberStart program, a national opportunity that features fun, technical challenges and games to inspire the next generation of cyber security professionals.

Promoted by Governor Paul R. LePage, the Maine Department of Education and the Maine Office of Information Technology, the program took place February 20th through the 25th of 2018 with students from all over Maine participating.

GirlsGoCyberStart was available to the first 10,000 girls who registered with teams of 1-4 students. 18 states participated and 5 of Maine’s 60 plus teams that participated, ranked in the top 100 scorers. Participants on the top three Maine teams were awarded prizes.

Maine’s top five scoring teams were from the following high schools (in order of scoring):

  1. Bangor High School, Penobscot County
  2. Thornton Academy, York County
  3. Portland High School, Cumberland County
  4. Falmouth High School, Cumberland County
  5. Maine Connections Academy, Cumberland County

More details about the scoring can be found on the GirlsGoCyberStart website and more details about Maine team’s scores can be found on the Maine scores page of the GirlsGoCyberStart website.

PRESS RELEASE: Maine’s reading and mathematics test scores at or above national average on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

Augusta – Maine’s fourth and eighth graders scored at the national average or higher on the recently released 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests of Reading and Mathematics.

NAEP highlights the statewide academic performance for all students, as well as demographic groups including race, ethnicity, gender and socioeconomic status. The test is administered every other year to students in all 50 states, and does not include results for individual students, schools, or classrooms.

Maine’s scores and key information:

  • Maine students scored at the national average or higher, consistent with previous years.
  • Maine students did not show any significant change in performance in either mathematics or reading in grades four and eight when compared to the results in 2015.
  • Reading scores indicate a gender gap at the 4th and 8th grade levels with boys performing lower. The gender achievement gap appears to be increasing as students get older.
  • Math scores did not indicate a gender achievement gap.
Average Scale Scores
NAEP Scores National Public 2017
Assessment Area and Grade 2011 2013 2015 2017
Math Grade 04 244 246 242 240 239
Math Grade 08 289 289 285 284 282
Reading Grade 04 222 225 224 221 221
Reading Grade 08 270 269 268 269 265
 (Scores are rounded to the nearest whole number.)
For a detailed look at the each of the state’s scores including Maine, visit NAEP’s website.

“Maine students face unique challenges today that can have an impact on their learning. While I am pleased that our students are maintaining performance, the Department will continue to focus on effective strategies to improve achievement of mathematics and literacy in all grades,” said Maine Department of Education Commissioner Robert G. Hasson, Jr.

“In addition to the Department’s MoMEntum Literacy Pilot program, we are also embarking on a similar strategy called Numeracy4ME to support schools in their efforts to improve student achievement in math. It is my hope that we can expand these programs as we continue to develop them,” he added.

More information about the MoMEntum and Numeracy for ME pilot programs can be found at the following links:

NAEP scores are only one of many measures of the achievement level of Maine’s students and should not be used in isolation from other data.  The Maine Educational Assessments, such as the eMPowerME, Multi-State Alternate Assessment, and SAT, also provide valuable information about the knowledge and skills of Maine’s students.  Additionally, formative assessments and locally developed academic measurements are essential parts of a school’s instructional program.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas.  Since NAEP assessments are administered uniformly using the same sets of test booklets across the nation, NAEP results serve as a common metric for all states and selected urban districts. The assessment stays essentially the same from year to year, with only carefully documented changes. This permits NAEP to provide a clear picture of student academic progress over time with respect to a specific set of learning goals.  As noted above, however, as standards and goals for learning evolve and teachers emphasize new content, and perhaps deemphasize other content, this stability means NAEP may not be able to adequately capture learning with respect to new standards.   NAEP does provide results on subject-matter achievement, instructional experiences, and school environment for populations of students (e.g., all fourth-graders) and groups within those populations (e.g., female students, Hispanic students).


The contents of this paragraph were retrieved from the U.S. Department of Education, National Center of Education Statistics website http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/about/
Media contact:
Rachel Paling, Director of Communications, Maine Department of Education
Rachel.paling@maine.gov

Synergy summer training survey

The Maine Department of Education’s Help Desk staff is preparing for a summer training session and feedback is needed to ensure the training needs of Data Managers, Superintendents, CTE Directors, Tech Directors and others entering student data for the State Synergy System are addressed.

Please take a few moments to answer the following survey so we can better understand the training needs those entering student data for the State Synergy System.

DOE Summer Training Survey »

For further information and questions, please contact the Data Help Desk at 207-624-6896 or medms.helpdesk@maine.gov.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Maine DOE announces alternative rural and low-income federal allocation formula; more districts now eligible for funds

The Maine Department of Education (Maine DOE) received notification that its proposed Title V, Part B, Sub Part 2 allocation formula, submitted to the U.S. Department of Education (U.S. DOE) in November 2017, has been approved. The approved alternative formula provides increases funding through the Title V Rural Low-Income Schools (RLIS) grant to districts that have higher poverty rates.

Contained in their April 5, 2018 approval email the U.S. DOE indicated the following:

“We appreciate your patience as we carefully considered whether Maine’s proposed alternative RLIS funding formula meets the standard under ESEA section 5221(b)(3)(C) that an alternative formula better target RLIS funds to LEAs serving the highest concentrations of children from families below the poverty line.  We have determined that your proposed formula meets this standard given that, in general, LEAs with the highest percentages of low-income children will receive higher awards than they would under the current ADA-based formula under ESEA section 5221(b)(3)(B).”

The new RLIS formula divides the Title V, Part B, Sub part 2 state allocation between poverty (70%) and Average Daily Attendance ADA (30%). Under the alternative distribution, there are some districts that will receive less funding under Title V, however, overall more districts and students will be served. The alternative formula provides a more equitable distribution of the funds across the State, including:

  • 71 Districts (up from 55) will receive funding from the RLIS grant
  • 67,608 students (up from 64,740) will be served by RLIS grant funds

The Title V RLIS grant will be included in the ESEA Consolidated Application with Title IA, II, III, and IVA for FY19.

Further questions regarding the formula or to better understand the calculation process contact Maine DOE Title V Coordinator, Daniel Weeks, at 207-624-6749 or daniel.r.weeks@maine.gov.

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