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TO:                 Superintendents of Schools, Principals, Curriculum Coordinators, Special Education Directors, Guidance Directors, and English as a Second Language Educators                                 


FROM:           J. Duke Albanese, Commissioner


DATE:             October 9, 2001


RE:                  Update and future plans of the Alternate Assessment to the MEA


In past years, as districts throughout the state of Maine have determined how individual students would take part in the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA), they have considered three choices:  standard participation, participation with accommodations, and non-participation.  Participation in an Alternate Assessment has replaced the non-participation option as a result of Federal legislation passed in 1997, and state legislation related to Maine’s Learning Results.  Maine’s Personalized Alternate Assessment Portfolio (PAAP) now provides an avenue which will provide for the progress of all students to be measured against Learning Results standards.


The few students utilizing the PAAP will be those for whom accommodations would be so significant that they would compromise the content validity of the MEA.  Nearly all students will continue to participate in the MEA through standard administration or with the use of accommodations as described in the updated version of the “Policies and Procedures for Accommodations and Alternate Assessment to the MEA” which is enclosed.  Please refer to that document for additional guidance as teams in your district make decisions about student participation in the MEA.


As a result of the PAAP pilot last year, the framework is ready to serve as a tool for school systems throughout the state as they work on this component of their Local Assessment System.  To support that development and ensure understanding of the process, a series of four professional development events is planned in each of five regions of the state (Ellsworth, Presque Isle, Orono, Lewiston, Portland) during the 2001-2002 school year.  We encourage Maine school systems to send teams made up of both regular and special education staff to the PAAP professional development events.  By participating in these workshops, school systems throughout the state will be able to work together to prepare for the full implementation of Alternate Assessment to the MEA required in 2003-2004.

In addition to PAAP content and process, workshops will address the scoring system, policies and procedures.  The scoring and reporting system for the PAAP will be developed and refined during the 2001-2002 school year.  Scores will be benchmarked to the MEA performance levels, but will allow the participating students to demonstrate what they can do, not what they cannot do.


Enclosed is the PAAP Professional Development Brochure for the year.


For more information, visit the Alternate Assessment Web Site ( or contact:

Mona Baker, Regional Educational Representative/Alternate Assessment (624-6825;

Linda Parkin, Alternate Assessment Distinguished Educator (624-6675;

Brud Maxcy, MEA Coordinator (624-6774;

Pam Rolfe, Local Assessment System Coordinator (624-6785;




Enclosure:        Policies and Procedures for Accommodations and Alternate Assessment to the MEA PAAP Professional Development Brochure