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INFORMATIONAL LETTER #   61

POLICY CODE: JF/KLL

To:       Superintendents of Schools (Please forward to School Principals, Technology Directors, and other Central Office Personnel)

From:   Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

Date:    November 23, 2004

Re:       MEDMS Student Data Collection and Implications for the MEA

This letter updates Informational Letter 41, dated September 22, 2004, on MEDMS Student Information Collection and Informational Letter 45, dated October 12, 2004 on State Student Assessment Programs.

Overview:

MEDMS Student Data Collection

I wish to commend schools that have successfully submitted student information to the MEDMS system and convey my appreciation to those schools that are still engaged in this task.   Completion of this task will pay dividends to all of you by reducing future repetitive efforts to collect and aggregate/disaggregate data needed for hundreds of purposes annually. At the time I am writing this letter, over 68% of Maine students have been assigned State Student Identification Numbers and 50% have complete enrollment data.  

Schools must enter student information in the MEDMS system for all grades, as this will be the information used for MEA and NCLB assessment analysis.   The Department will work with schools to achieve completed and verified files of student information on or before January 7, 2005.   I am aware that some schools are still preparing their own databases, while others are trying to resolve formatting issues to enable data transmission.   The Department is committed to working with you in this endeavor and I encourage you to communicate with our MEDMS help desk staff by e-mail at medms.helpdesk@maine.gov or phone at (207) 624-6896.   The deadlines for final entry will be upon us quickly, so please complete this task as soon as possible.  

MEA, MEA Online, and NCLB Annual Assessments

Beginning with the MEA administration this year, MEDMS student information files will be used for the MEA by providing the information needed for the No Child Left Behind Act accountability requirements.   The MEDMS student information files will also be used for the analysis of the NCLB Annual Assessment field test items in reading and mathematics.

MEA Online

Participation in the MEA Online this year will be voluntary for those schools that have completed submission of student data to MEDMS, participated in training, and achieved readiness certification. To increase the opportunity for schools to participate in the MEA Online, the Department is extending the submission deadline for grade 8 student data until the close of business on December 10, 2004.   Participating schools will have an advantage as we move to full implementation of the MEA Online program next year, so I urge you to achieve participation requirements.

Training for participation in the grade 8 MEA Online is scheduled for the period of January 3 – 14, 2005. Measured Progress (the MEA contractor) will send you a bulletin soon that describes the ½ day training locations and times, andwill contain updated information on streamlined readiness procedures for participation.   Measured Progress has made many improvements to the MEA Online program that will ease administration and make student participation more efficient.

Students in participating schools will take all MEA subjects online; only mathematics will require a separate response booklet for constructed response questions.   The MEA Online system will become active for readiness activities and student practice on November 29, 2004.   If you have questions concerning participation, I encourage you to contact the Measured Progress help desk by e-mail at meaonline@measuredprogress.org or toll free at 1-877-934-8378.

 MEA/NCLB Annual Assessment Student Identification Labels

Measured Progress will use the MEDMS student names and identification numbers to prepare labels for tests at all grade levels assessed.   These labels will connect the student responses to student demographic information necessary for disaggregating results as required to meet NCLB accountability requirements.   This new labeling approach will both save schools time and decrease the possibility of error when entering student information at the time of testing.  

At the MEA and NCLB Annual Assessment (field test) Administration Workshops planned for the first two weeks in February 2005, procedures for applying the labels to student test forms, along with any necessary coding information not contained in MEDMS, will be reviewed.   The only onsite coding will be related to special circumstances, such as identifying student accommodations for testing.

MEDMS, MEA, MEA Online and MLTI Contacts: