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INFORMATIONAL LETTER: 49
POLICY CODE: ILBB
TO: Superintendents of Schools, Middle School Principals, MLTI Teacher Leaders
and Technology Leaders
FROM: Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner of Education
DATE: December 3, 2003
RE: Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) Online Update
Planning for the implementation of the MEA Online in March of 2004 is well underway, with testing of the system’s technical requirements, data management, and student assessment format now in progress through a collaboration of the Department, assessment contractor Measured Progress, Apple Computer and selected school sites.
This letter is a follow-up to Informational Letter #14 (August 14, 2003), which announced the Grade 8 MEA Online Testing System. In the coming weeks Measured Progress, the MEA contractor, will be sending detailed information outlining the implementation requirements and the training program for teachers and technical leaders from each school. A brochure describing the MEA Online can be viewed or printed from: http://www.maine.gov/education/mea/meabrochure.pdf.
MEA Online training for school personnel will begin with a December 10, 2003 broadcast on the State’s ATM system from 3:30-5:00 pm. Locations for viewing this ATM broadcast are attached to this letter. The training plan, based on a train-the-trainer model, is designed to prepare teachers and technical support staff to orient school staff in the operation of the laptop computer-based assessment system. As soon as school personnel are trained, practice tests using MEA released items will be available online. This will enable both staff and students to become familiar and comfortable with the new testing environment.
Support for implementing the MEA Online is available from Measured Progress, and includes the following:
q The MEA Online Testing System homepage, accessed at http://maine.itest-k12.org/, will provide information updates throughout the implementation process and will include a section on Frequently Asked Questions.
q The MEA Online Help Desk will be maintained to respond to questions from schools.
q Preliminary technical requirements for implementation are also available at: http://maine.itest-k12.org/. These specifications will be modified as needed, based on the experiences in beta testing and pilot testing of the online system. Please have technical personnel review the preliminary specifications, and alert the MEA Online Help Desk of anticipated problems.
q Measured Progress will request student demographic information to meet NCLB data requirements prior to test administration; please respond to this request in a timely manner. In past years, this student information was entered at the time of testing. In future years, the MEDMS system will become the source of the information.
q One-and-one-half days of training will be conducted for 2-4 representatives (depending on school size) from each school at regional sites across the State. Training will be completed during January, 2004. Measured Progress will have an online registration system so schools may schedule to attend at the location that is most convenient for their attendees. Practice tests will be available for schools to complement local training from the January training period through the end of February, 2004.
q Accommodations for students with special needs will be available through the MEA Online or through special provisions such as large print and Braille versions of the tests. Information on accommodations will be included with the Measured Progress mailing.
q Please watch for a letter from Measured Progress that will arrive shortly. This letter will provide all contact information and describe all steps you should be taking to prepare for the MEA Online.
Through this initial implementation of the MEA Online, it is essential that we communicate with each other to ensure its success. Please raise questions through the MEA Online Help Desk or by contacting Horace “Brud” Maxcy, Ph.D., MEA Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org
The MEA Online represents new instructional and learning expectations for our students. Maine’s laptop computer-based assessment approach holds the potential to provide all students a fairer opportunity to demonstrate what they know and what they can do in relation to Maine’s Learning Results. I am looking forward to working with you to achieve a successful implementation.
MEA Online Informational Broadcast
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
3:30 pm – 5:00 pm