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TO:                  Superintendents, Assistant Superintendents, Curriculum Coordinators, and Principals

FROM:            Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:             April 4, 2006

RE:                  MEA Test Administration

            It has been discovered that the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) that was administered during March contained some mathematics items at grades 4 and 8 that were previously released in Maine.  No student scores or Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) determinations will be impacted because of this situation.

            An investigation revealed that an incomplete transfer of data occurred during the migration of items into a new item banking system at Measured Progress, the testing contractor for the MEA. As a result, the grade 8 mathematics test included seven previously released multiple-choice items and one released short-answer item.  Additionally, the grade 4 mathematics test included six previously released multiple-choice items and one released short-answer item.  Measured Progress conducted a thorough investigation and confirmed that no other grades or content areas were affected.

            The Department of Education, members of the Technical Advisory Committee, and Measured Progress collectively agreed that the fairest action for all students and schools is to remove the released items from scoring and reporting.  This will result in a reduction from 56 to 47 score points for the grade 8 mathematics assessment, and a reduction from 48 to 40 score points for the grade 4 mathematics assessment for the 2005-06 assessment.  After eliminating these items from analysis, more than sufficient numbers of items remain to provide scores well within an acceptable range of reliability.  The items at issue were not concentrated in any particular mathematics sub-domain.

            Measured Progress has accepted full responsibility for and expressed its regret for this situation. Officials at the company will continue to evaluate and analyze its data migration procedures for the new item bank to avoid any further occurrences of this nature.

            I wish to thank all the teachers and administrators who worked so diligently to administer the MEA at grades 3 -8 and offer my regrets if this unfortunate situation created any confusion for students or teachers.