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TO:                 Superintendents of Schools, High School Principals, and Guidance Counselors

FROM:           Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:             May 26, 2006

RE:                  PSAT/NMSQT

            All schools will be required to administer the PSAT/NMSQT to all 10th grade students on October 18, 2006.  Students may participate through standard administration, administration with accommodations, or through the Personalized Alternate Assessment Portfolio (PAAP).  The test will be administered on Wednesday, a regular school day, and thus avoids conflicts with extracurricular events.

            As part of our comprehensive initiative to provide all students with assessments that are meaningful and relevant, the state will pay for the PSAT/NMSQT.

            The PSAT/NMSQT can be a valuable tool for both students and teachers.  Student experience with the PSAT/NMSQT will help prepare them for the SAT to follow in their junior or third year of high school.  Both assessments will help to identify curricular areas they need to work on tied to Maine’s Learning Results.  Participation in the PSAT/NMSQT also entitles students to access the MyRoad advising tool until they graduate and includes them in their school’s pool for identifying AP potential.  For teachers, it makes valuable curricular information is available to identify strengths and weaknesses in instruction, focusing content that may need additional emphasis; and it gives valuable information about students to address individual needs.

            Guidance counselors receive data about each student to assist in collaborative planning for each student’s future educational program, further preparation for college, work and citizenship, and to identify additional students for AP courses.  They can also benefit from the use of MyRoad.  Curriculum directors and/or teams also receive information about the effectiveness of the curriculum and instruction at the school/district level, and about program evaluation.

            In preparation for the October PSAT/NMSQT administration, school personnel must begin submitting Eligibility Forms in order to get College Board approval of accommodations for those special education students who need them.  The College Board accommodations approval process takes up to seven weeks. The deadline for submission of Eligibility Forms is August 30, for documentation that must be reviewed by the College Board.  If documentation does not have to be reviewed, the deadline is September 13, 2006.  Once the College Board has approved accommodations for a student, the accommodations may be used for the PSAT/NMSQT, SAT, and AP Tests unless the student has a psychiatric disability.  Eligibility Forms may be ordered by contacting the SSD Hotline at 1-800-257-5123.

            You may order these 10th grade tests using the regular process.  Please order enough to cover all of your 10th graders for 2006-2007.  To receive Braille, large-type, cassette, and reader’s script formats, the PSAT/NMSQT Order Roster must be returned by September 13, 2006.  You will not be billed for these tests.  However, please be aware that if students indicate that they are in a grade other than 10th grade when they complete the information next year, you will be billed.  The state will not be able to reimburse you for these tests.

            Questions should be directed to Wanda Monthey at or by phone at 624-6831.