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TO:                  Superintendents of Schools (Please forward to Asst. Superintendents, Curriculum Coordinators, School Principals, Guidance Directors, and Special Education Directors)


FROM:            Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner


DATE:             May 12, 2004


RE:                   Grade Level Expectations Development and Assessment Plans


Key Points Covered in this Informational Letter:


  • Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) in reading and mathematics have been completed, and are posted on the Department website.
  • The GLEs represent a subset of the Maine Learning Results, which will result in a more compact assessment than the 4th and 8th grade MEA.
  • The GLE assessment will be developed by Measured Progress, and will be similar to the Progress Toward Standards (PTS) secure version.
  • The GLE assessment will provide a national comparison score, which should permit districts to opt to discontinue other national standardized achievement tests.
  • GLE assessment field test will take place in March 2005, but will not be used in AYP calculations until 2006.


GLE Development


In order to meet the federal guidelines contained in the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), in particular the requirement to assess yearly student performance in grades 3-8, the Maine Department of Education has developed Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) for reading and mathematics in grades 3, 5, 6, and 7 based on the existing language of Learning Results performance indicators in grades 4 and 8. 


            The process of developing Maine’s GLEs has been conducted under the leadership of Tad Johnston and Dan Hupp (mathematics), and Diana Doiron (reading).  For each subject area, a committee of content area teachers and curriculum specialists used the draft New England Compact GLEs, the Learning Results, and national standards documents to refine a set of Maine GLEs, which were posted on the DOE website for review and comment by local educators.  The GLEs were developed as a subset of Learning Results performance indicators to allow the resulting assessment to be more compact than the 4th and 8th grade MEA.  By linking the GLEs to specific performance indicators, this will permit educators and parents to obtain a continuous picture of student and school performance across grades 3-8.  (Click on the following link to view the GLE/MEA graphic)



The GLEs have been finalized are posted on the Department website to allow maximum time for Maine teachers and students to become familiar with them.  In the fall of 2004, sample assessment items will also be provided to ensure that teachers and students will understand how the GLEs will be assessed.



GLE Assessment


To ensure the greatest possible degree of continuity and coordination, the Department will extend our existing contract with Measured Progress to develop the GLE assessment for grades 3, 5, 6, and 7.  The following items address significant design and development issues:


§         The GLE assessment will be similar to the secure version of the Measured Progress annual “Progress Toward Standards” (PTS) assessment.  To ensure the greatest degree of alignment with the Maine GLEs, and to obtain the desired balance of selected response and constructive response items, the GLE assessment will be customized to meet our unique needs. 


§         The GLE assessments in reading and mathematics at grades 3, 5, 6, and 7 will retain many of the MEA design features found at grades 4 and 8.  (Click on the following link to view the chart that presents the design specifications:


§         The school and student reports will resemble our current MEA reports.


§         The GLE assessment will also provide a national comparison score, which should permit districts, if they choose, to use the GLE assessment in the place of other national tests, thereby saving considerable time and money.


§         The timeline for implementation of the GLE assessment is as follows:


o       Field test and pilot reading and mathematics tests in March of 2005.  It is yet to be determined whether the test window will coincide with that of the MEA or whether a slight difference would permit more effective use of local administration and accommodation resources.

o       Since the GLE assessment will be shorter, with fewer constructed response items, than the MEA, results should be available to local districts with four to six weeks.


o       GLE assessment scores will not be factored in AYP calculations until 2006-07.


§         The Policy Advisory and Technical Advisory Committees have discussed, and will continue to do so, all technical and policy issues in the development of the GLE assessment and make recommendations to the Commissioner as warranted.  The Learning Results Steering Committee, as the Committee of Practitioners for NCLB, will also discuss strategic implications of the GLE assessment and make recommendations to the Commissioner as warranted.


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