Maine Comprehensive Assessment System

The Maine Comprehensive Assessment System (MeCAS) is the combination of standardized tests that inform teaching and learning, measure students' mastery of Maine's academic standards and English language proficiency and/or serve as the tool for holding schools accountable for student learning and English language acquisition.

Follow the assessment links below for more information about Maine's statewide assessment efforts.

Current Assessment Programs

  • ACCESS for ELLs®. Assessing Comprehension and Communications in English State to State (ACCESS) for English Language Learners (ELLs) is an English language proficiency test administered annually to all English learners in kindergarten through grade 12 who have been identified as being limited English proficient (federally referred to as limited English proficient students). 
  • ACCUPLACER®. The ACCUPLACER® quickly, accurately and efficiently assesses reading, writing, math and computer skills. This assessment may be used to track achievement and to determine course placements. High school teachers may use ACCUPLACER® results to adapt instruction and teach the skills their students need to master. Schools may elect to administer the ACCUPLACER® assessment to eligible juniors through state-paid units or may independently purchase units to test other students.
  • Alternate ACCESS for ELLs®. The Alternate ACCESS for ELLs® is an assessment of English proficiency for English learners in grades one through 12 who have significant cognitive disabilities that prevent their meaningful participation in the ACCESS for ELLs® assessment.
  • Maine Comprehensive Assessment Program. Next-generation, computer-based assessment of student learning that tests higher-order skills and provides teachers with tools that help them use assessment to improve instruction. Set for implementation in 2014-15, it replaces the NECAP and SAT for math, reading and writing.
  • Maine Educational Assessment (MEA). The MEA measures science achievement for students at grades five and eight. It is a required assessment for all students. Scores are not currently used for accountability.
  • Maine High School Assessment (MHSA). The MHSA measures achievement of English language arts and mathematics through the SAT Initiative for accountability purposes and the achievement of science through an independent science assessment for all students in their third year of high school.
  • National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The NAEP is the largest continuing and nationally representative assessment of what students across the nation know and can do in mathematics, reading, science and writing. The NAEP is administered to a representative sample of schools in every state.
  • Personalized Alternate Assessment Portfolio (PAAP). The PAAP is the alternate to Maine's required assessments (NECAP, MEA, MHSA and the PSAT/NMSQT) for students with significant cognitive disabilities. The PAAP measures achievement in reading and mathematics at grades two through seven and 10, as well as the third year of high school; writing at grades four and seven and the third year of high school; and science at grades five and eight and the third year of high school.®The PAAP measures student understanding of the Maine DOE Regulation 131 accountability standards.
  • Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). The PSAT is administered to all students in grade 10 and is intended to help prepare students for the SAT. Students electing to take the PSAT during their junior year may use it as the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship program. Scores from the assessment are not reported for accountability purposes. PSAT results may be used to provide diagnostic information about student learning and to inform teaching and instruction in all three content areas assessed. 
  • ReadiStep. ReadiStep measures skills students need to be on track as they transition to high school. Assessment results provide information about students’ academic progress. Educators have access to tools they can use to make informed decisions in the classroom.

Next Generation of Assessments

  • ACCESS for ELLs® 2.0. The Assessment Services Supporting English learners through Technology Systems (ASSETS) grant supports the development of a technology-based English language proficiency assessment system for English learners. The transition to a computerized version of ACCESS for ELLs®, tentatively called ACCESS 2.0, is scheduled for 2015-16.
  • National Center State Collaborative (NCSC). The Maine Department of Education is a Tier II partner in NCSC, one of two federally supported consortia developing an alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards, aligned with the Common Core State Standards that will test students' knowledge of math and English language arts beginning in 2014-15.


Contact an Assessment Specialist