Maine Assessment Letter

April 7, 2006

Honorable Susan A. Gendron
Commissioner of Education
Maine Department of Education
23 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0023

Dear Commissioner Gendron:

Thank you for submitting Maine’s assessment materials for review under the standards and assessment requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). We appreciate the efforts required to prepare for the peer review and hope that the process provides useful feedback that will support Maine’s efforts to monitor student progress toward challenging standards.

External peer reviewers and U.S. Department of Education (ED) staff evaluated Maine’s submission and found, based on the evidence received, that it did not meet all of the statutory and regulatory requirements of Section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA. I know that my staff has discussed the results of this review with your staff. However, I want to take this opportunity to enumerate the evidence that Maine must provide in order to have a fully compliant standards and assessment system under NCLB. That evidence is listed on the last pages of this letter.

I urge you to submit any available evidence demonstrating how Maine’s system meets the standards and assessment requirements as soon as possible. I also request that, as soon as possible, you provide us a plan with a detailed timeline for how Maine will meet any remaining requirements for which evidence is not currently available. After reviewing those materials, I will then determine the appropriate approval status for Maine’s standards and assessment system.

Enclosed with this letter are detailed comments from the peer review team that evaluated Maine’s assessment materials. The peer reviewers, experts in the areas of standards and assessment, review and discuss a State’s submission of evidence and prepare a consensus report. I hope you will find the reviewers’ comments and suggestions helpful, and remind you of our offer to provide you further technical assistance at your request.

We look forward to working with Maine to support a high-quality assessment system. If you would like to discuss this further or would like to request technical assistance, please do not hesitate to call Carlos Martinez (202-260-2493) or Catherine Freeman (202-401-3058) of my staff.



Henry L. Johnson


Summary of Additional Evidence that Maine Must Submit to Meet ESEA Requirements for the Maine Assessment System


  • Maine meets this requirement; no additional evidence is needed. Maine has provided evidence that the State has developed and adopted challenging academic content standards in reading/language arts, mathematics and science in the required grades.


  • Documentation of the spring 2006 Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) achievement standards setting process for grades 3-8 reading/language arts and mathematics.
  • Documentation of specific achievement descriptors for science in grades 4 and 8.
  • A timeline and work plan for the revision/expansion of Maine’s Personalized Alternate Assessment Portfolio (PAAP) alternate achievement standards, including descriptors and cut scores for all required content areas and grade levels.


  • Documentation of alignment of all assessments to the grade level content expectations (GLEs) (see also Element 5.0).
  • Documentation of standard setting (see also Element 2.0).
  • Documentation of reliability, validity and other technical quality issues (see also Elements 4.0 and 6.0).


  • Documentation that the augmented or modified SAT for high school fully conforms to NCLB requirements.
  • Documentation that the use of accommodations, for both students with disabilities and limited English proficient students, and/or alternate assessments yields scores from which valid inferences may be drawn.
  • Evidence of technical quality of the PAAP, including reliabilities for student subpopulations, generalizability studies, inter-rater consistency in scoring of constructed response items, and conditional standard errors of measurement for each cut score.
  • A technical manual that demonstrates the validity and reliability of the MEA for grades 3, 5, 6, and 7.


  • A comprehensive, impartial alignment study of the SY 2005-06 assessment items and the new GLEs for grades 3-8 for the MEA in reading and mathematics.
  • A work plan and timeline for a comprehensive impartial alignment study of the SAT and the Maine Learning Results (MLR) for grade 11.
  • A comprehensive impartial alignment study of the MLR content standards and the alternate achievement standards for PAAP.


  • A timeline of tasks for the development and implementation of alternate assessments for grades 3, 5, 6, and 7.
  • Documentation that the local translation of assessments for LEP students does not invalidate their scores (see also Element 4.0).


  • Maine meets this requirement; no additional evidence is needed. Maine provided evidence of student, school, district, and state reports that contains detailed information on student performance in different strands and concepts.

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