March 9, 2016
Maine’s public school students in grades 3-8 and in the third year of high school are required by both state and federal legislation to be assessed each year in the areas of mathematics and English language arts (ELA)/literacy. As a result of state legislation enacted in June 2015 http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP0872&item=5&snum=127, the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) for mathematics and ELA/literacy has changed this year. In selecting a new MEA for mathematics and ELA/literacy, the Maine Department of Education set out to reduce the amount of testing time while still providing the detailed information educators and parents need to inform school and student progress toward meeting standards.
At grades 3-8, Maine will be using an assessment called eMPower™ME, a computer-based assessment developed by Measured Progress, the same testing company that develops Maine’s science assessment. There will be a 4-week testing window, from March 21 to April 15, 2016, during which students will sit for 7 separate testing sessions. Sample eMPower™ME items can be viewed here: http://www.maine.gov/doe/assessment/math-ela/administration/index.html.
For 3rd year high school students, Maine will be using the re-designed SAT, developed by the College Board. A priority consideration in selecting the new high school assessment was the relevance of the test for students and their parents as they focus on preparation for their next steps after high school. The SAT in the spring of 2016 will be administered as a paper-based test on a single day, April 12, 2016. For students who miss the April 12th administration, there will be a make-up test available on April 27, 2016. Information about the re-designed SAT can be found here: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat?affiliateId=aruhome&bannerId=nwsat.
Both eMPower™ME and the re-designed SAT are aligned to the content and skills outlined in Maine’s College and Career Readiness Standards, adopted in 2011 to guide instruction in Maine’s classrooms. Information about Maine’s content standards can be found at the following links:
While no single test can give a complete picture of achievement, the MEA combined with other information, can help us all better understand the progress of our students. These assessments can help schools and districts review and improve curriculum. They can also help to identify areas where a particular student needs additional support and where he or she has mastered the content and can be challenged to go deeper into the subject matter. Teachers can use the information to guide their instruction and provide more personalized learning opportunities for students. Parents can use the information to help support their child at home and to guide a discussion with their child’s teacher. Students can work on the areas where they need improvement to ensure they are staying on track to be successful in the next grade level.
We encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher/school administrator with any questions you may have about the MEA or your child’s progress.
Paul D. Knowles
RSU #71 Superintendent