Maine’s Comprehensive Assessment System (MeCAS) (page 2)
When the Maine State Legislature adopted the Learning Results in 1996, it established learning standards for all Maine students educated at public expense. The legislation also required that a new system for assessing student progress be established. This assessment system has several components. The State components include the Maine Educational Assessment that is given to students in grades 3-8. Individual student scores are reported in reading and mathematics for all students in grades 3-8, with additional student scores in writing reported at 5 and 8 and science reported at 4 and 8. Another State component is the Maine High School Assessment that is given to students in grade 11. Individual student scores are reported for critical reading, mathematics, and writing. Local assessment will include a variety of assessments.
The Comprehensive Assessment System is designed to serve three purposes:
- inform and guide teaching and learning;
- monitor and hold educational units accountable in achieving the Learning Results; and
- certify achievement of Maine’s Learning Results.
The Maine Department of Education is supporting school systems in the development of their local assessment systems to measure achievement of Maine's Learning Results. Maine statute sets forth the general requirements as follows:
There is a need for assessment information at both state and local level to measure progress and ensure accountability regarding the system of learning results, which must be accomplished through a comprehensive system of local and state assessment, involving multiple measures to determine what each student knows and is able to demonstrate regarding the standards of the system of learning results.
Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) - The Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) is designed to measure student and school progress in achieving the high academic standards set forth in Maine’s Learning Results.
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) - Since 1969, the mission of National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) has been to collect, analyze, and produce valid and reliable information about the academic performance of students in the United States in various learning areas. In 1990, the mission of NAEP was expanded to provide state-by-state results on academic achievement. The No Child Left Behind Act directs all schools receiving Title I funds to participate in NAEP assessments as needed.
Personalized Alternate Assessment Portfolio (PAAP) - The Maine Learning Results are the standards which identify what ALL Maine students, including those with unique learning needs, are expected to know and be able to do at the end of each of four grade spans: pre-k-2; grades 3-4; grades 5-8 and grades 9-12.
Grade Level Expectations have been created to define what students at each grade level, 3-8 and 11, should know and be able to do. Maine's assessment system, aligned with these Grade Level Expectations, allows students to participate through three avenues: standard administration, administration with accommodations, and alternate assessment.
The alternate to the State's assessments, the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA), the PSAT, and the SAT is the Personalized Alternate Assessment Portfolio (PAAP). The PAAP is fully implemented, including achievement and accountability reporting.
PSAT - All schools will be required to administer the PSAT/NMSQT to all 10th grade students on October 17, 2007. Students may participate through standard administration, administration with accommodations, or through the Personalized Alternate Assessment Portfolio (PAAP). The test will be administered on Wednesday, a regular school day, and thus avoids conflicts with extracurricular events.
ACCESS for ELLs® - Administration Information for the Assessing Comprehension and Communications in English State to State for English Language Learners (ACCESS for ELLs®)
Pursuant to the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, schools are required to annually assess the English language proficiency of their English language learners (ELLs).
The ACCESS for ELLs® is an English language proficiency test administered annually in Maine to all English language learners (ELLs) in kindergarten through grade 12 who have been identified as being limited English proficient (federally referred to as limited English proficient (LEP) students). The ACCESS for ELLs® meets the federal requirements of assessing ELLs’ proficiency levels in the domains of speaking, listening, comprehension, reading, and writing. The ACCESS for ELLs® provides reliable, valid, and useful information on the proficiency levels and progress of ELLs in acquiring academic English. The ACCESS for ELLs® English language proficiency standards are aligned to Maine’s Learning Results academic content standards.
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