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TO:                  Superintendents of Schools


FROM:            Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner


DATE:             July 14, 2003


RE:                  Grade Level Expectation Survey



One of the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is that beginning in the 2004-2005 school year all students in grades 3-8 are to be assessed annually on Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) in mathematics and reading.  Since the Maine Learning Results are organized by grade span rather than by grade level, we need to “break down” our Learning Results into GLEs.   The GLE process is not about rewriting Maine’s Learning Results performance indicators, but to identify steps students take along the way toward achieving the Learning Results.  Mathematics and reading are the only subjects for which GLEs will be developed.


In the fall of 2001, Maine joined with the states of New Hampshire, Vermont, and Rhode Island to form the New England Compact (NEC) to discuss and address the changes to their state accountability systems under NCLB. Beginning in January 2003, the work of the New England Compact was to explore what standards our states have in common for reading and mathematics and to produce DRAFT grade level expectations across our states. The NEC Draft Grade Level Expectations is a consensus document, informed by Maine’s Learning Results, and reflects expectations common to all the NEC states.  The mathematics group has completed its draft and the reading group expects a completed draft by the end of July.  NEC has received a grant for 1.7 million dollars to develop assessments for the final set of grade level expectations.


Working with the other states of the New England Compact has many advantages. At the same time, Maine’s grade level expectations need to reflect the reading and mathematics learning occurring in Maine schools.  In August and September 2003, the Maine Department of Education will convene “expert panels” of educators and others to review the Compact’s GLEs.  The Math Panel will have its first meeting on August 12, 2003 and the Reading Panel will have its first meeting on September 8, 2003.  The goal of each group will be to prioritize the Compact’s GLEs based on their usefulness in Maine.  The draft of the Maine documents will be available for broad comment statewide in late September. 


The math survey will be posted in early July and the reading survey will be posted in early August.  Both surveys will be active until September 30, 2003.  The purpose of the surveys is to see how closely the NEC grade level expectations match what is expected of students in reading and mathematics in Maine schools at the identified grade level.  We are measuring the Compact’s GLEs for alignment with programs in Maine schools, not vice-versa. We request that a representative or representatives from each school complete the survey, as this will be important information for the panels to consider as they work to determine the value of the Compact’s GLEs to Maine.  Surveys completed by August 1 will be the most helpful in supporting this work in mathematics, and by September 1 for reading.  The website will be up until September 30, 2003 and all surveys will be tabulated and considered.


The surveys can be accessed by following the link “Grade Level Expectations Surveys” under Hot Topics on the Maine Department of Education website  You will need to know your school’s five-digit code (3-digit town code followed by 2-digit school code) to submit your ratings.


In addition to filling out the survey, you may wish to submit additional comments or submit your school’s set of grade level expectations for math and reading.  Please send comments to Tad Johnston (math) or Diana Doiron (reading) at the Maine Department of Education, 23 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0023.  Email messages can be sent to or