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


FROM:            Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner


DATE:             May 12, 2004


RE:                   Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) Program and Schedule


Key Points Covered in this Informational Letter:


·        MEA 2003-04 School and Student Reports will be released July 15, 2004

·        MEA Test Dates are March 7 – 18, 2005

·        MEA Format Unchanged in 2005

·        8th Grade MEA Online to include writing, reading, mathematics and science in 2005


Reporting for 2003-04


MEA reports from the March 2004 test administration are scheduled for release to schools on July 15, 2004.  This will include school and district MEA Summary Reports, Individual Student Reports, and Class Analysis Reports.  MEA-PAAP Reports are scheduled for release on the same schedule.  MEA reports will continue to be released on CDs, so that schools may more easily make reports available to the public and school personnel.  Schools will have the usual 10-day review period prior to the Department verification of the accuracy of MEA results.  After that time results will be released to the press. 


It will be extremely important, given the July date, to ensure that appropriate staff members are available to conduct the verification of the MEA local data.  Once the MEA data have been verified, the Department will complete the required federal AYP determinations and release the information to SAUs and the media prior to the beginning of the school year.


The released item reports that contain test items, scoring guides and samples of student responses will be released in September.  School personnel should be aware that beginning with this year’s results, 50% of the items that compose student and school scores are available for release annually.  The released items will be representative of the content clusters and standards for each content area assessed.  The Common Item Report (renamed the Class Analysis Report) has been redesigned to reflect the change in the release of items.


Test Administration Schedule for 2004-05


The MEA administration dates for the grades 4, 8, and 11 assessments are scheduled for March 7 – 18, 2005.  Schools will have until March 23, 2005 to complete make-up testing and return materials.  This date maintains the one-week window following the February vacation for schools to prepare for the administration.  The dates for the return of completed MEA-PAAP portfolio materials will be April 8, 2005.  The MEA design, test sessions and time parameters will be unchanged in 2004-05.  Information about the testing schedule for 2004-05 school year may be found on the MEA website at


MEA Online for Grade 8 - All Subjects Available in 2004-05


The MEA Online program for grade 8 students in the 2004-05 school year will include all MEA content areas (writing, reading, mathematics, science/technology). Improvements in the computer based assessment system (CBAS) will simplify use for teachers and students.  Some 2500 students in 55 schools successfully participated in the MEA Online writing assessment in March 2004.  I wish to express my thanks to the schools and students who participated in the preliminary pilot testing and initial implementation.


MEA Online Bulletin #5 from Measured Progress (sent April 29, 2004) describes the process for certifying schools for participation in 2004-05.  Schools are expected to attempt or complete initial certification by May 28, 2004.  It is the Department’s intent to use this process to identify schools that may need additional support to become certified.  A second level of certification will take place in the fall to verify that school connections are still working properly.  Detailed information is available at http://MAINE.ITEST-K12.ORG, including a copy of Bulletin # 5.  The Measured Progress Help Desk continues in operation for schools participating in the certification process.  The MEA Online practice test will continue to be available to schools through this school year.


As a final note, the MEA Online assessment comparability studies are underway with an analysis of student writing samples from the 2003-04 writing assessment.  A more comprehensive comparability across all MEA content areas planned for this spring has been delayed until fall.  Measured Progress will be recruiting participants for the comparability study in the early fall. 


Department contact information: