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Home > Rules & Legislation > Letters from the Commissioner > Informational Letters > Letter 6

 

INFORMATIONAL LETTER NO: 6

POLICY CODE: ILB

 

TO:           Superintendents, Assistant Superintendents, Curriculum Coordinators, Elementary and Middle School Principals, and Guidance Directors

FROM:      Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:       July 17, 2006

RE:           MEA Reports Release and Need for Verification - Grades 3-8

Key Points Covered In this Informational Letter:

  • Delivery of Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) Reports
  • District and School Review and Verification of MEA Reports Data
  • New Achievement Standards for Grades 3-8 MEA

Delivery of MEA Reports
Information and materials related to the March 2006 MEA administration will be mailed from Measured Progress, the MEA contractor, to superintendents’ offices this Wednesday, July 19, 2006. As in the past, superintendents will receive all MEA-related information for schools in their districts and will be responsible for distributing the materials to schools. This year, for the first time, school and district MEA Summary Reports and Class Analysis Reports will be delivered on a secure website for all grades 3 though 8. The mailing will contain:

  • information and security pass codes for accessing MEA school and district reports and class analysis reports (with accompanying CSV files) online for all grades 3 through 8, and a new school summary page listing achievement level numbers and percentages for each grade included in a school,
  • paper copies of parent letters,
  • student labels, and
  • released item CDs.

MEA-PAAP Reports are scheduled for release on the same schedule and will continue to be provided on paper.

District and School Review and Verification of MEA Reports Data
Schools will have the usual 10 business day review period prior to the Department verification of the accuracy of MEA results. It is extremely important that district and school staff members conduct this verification of local MEA data by August 4, 2006. All student-related data was supplied through the Department’s Maine Educational Data Management System (MEDMS) on March 27, 2006. Issues related to student-level data should be reported to AYP personnel, and other issues should be reported to MEA personnel using the contact information at the end of this letter. Once the data have been verified, the Department will release MEA results to the media. The required federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) determinations will then be completed and released to SAUs and the media prior to the beginning of the school year. It is recommended that all MEA reports be downloaded and saved by November 1, 2006 for future use.

New Achievement Standards for grades 3-8 MEA

  • What is Standard Setting?

Standard setting is the process of determining threshold or cut scores on an assessment.
MEA performance standards had been held at the same levels from 1999 through 2005. It was necessary to set new MEA achievement standards and cut scores due to:

    1. changes in the use of the test for No Child Left Behind purposes,
    2. the increase in the number of grades assessed, and
    3. the increased focus on grade level expectations.
  • How were Standards Set?

Two standard-setting methods approved by the Technical Advisory Committee were utilized: Teacher Judgment and Modified Bookmark. During MEA administration, approximately 75% of Maine teachers responded to a request to make judgments about student achievement based on classroom performance and instruction aligned with Maine’s Learning Results/Grade Level Expectations for each content area included in the test. Then, in May, over 150 teachers were brought together in grade-level panels to review MEA test questions in relation to the four achievement levels and recommend “cut scores” (score point boundaries for each level) for each of the MEA content area tests as part of the Modified Bookmark method. The results of the standard setting panels that used the Modified Bookmark method were used to validate the recommendations made under the Teacher Judgment method. The final results were reviewed and recommended for adoption by the Policy Advisory Committee and were approved by the Commissioner. These new achievement standards will stay in place until the MEA assesses the revised Learning Results in future years.

  • Results: New Achievement Standards

What is the same?

    • Achievement levels retain the same titles: “Exceeds the Standards”, “Meets the Standards”, “Partially Meets the Standards”, and “Does Not Meet the Standards”.
    • There is an 80 point range of scaled scores.
    • Since the achievement standards have been vertically moderated, the range of “X41-X60” describes “Meets” and “X61-X80” describes “Exceeds” for all subjects and grades.
    • School and district reports, as well as Class Analysis Reports, are essentially unchanged.
  • What is different?
    • Achievement level definitions have been revised.
    • The standard setting process for grades 3-8 resulted in differing percentages of students at each of the redefined achievement levels at grades 4 and 8. This baseline data is the beginning of new trend line data for all grades.
    • The first digit of scale scores designates the grade level of the students being assessed (i.e., 300-380 for third grade, 700-780 for seventh grade, etc.)
    • The cut point between “Partially Meets” and Does Not Meet” is no longer consistently “X20”, but varies slightly by subject and grade level. Since the new MEA includes testing at several adjacent grades instead of just at grades 4 and 8, and schools will be more interested in aggregating statistics across grades, there was a need for more precision on the scale. This does not affect student achievement level classifications in any way. Now that these cut points have been established, they will remain unchanged over time.
    • A new School Summary Page will be provided online that includes the following information for all grades contained within each school: number of students enrolled and tested, number and percentage at each achievement level, and mean scaled scores by subject and grade.

 

This year’s MEA reports provide new scaled scores and baseline data for a new trend line. Although both the new and old scales have an 80 point range, they do not have one-to-one correspondence because the achievement levels have been redefined. We have received requests from districts for methods by which some form of score comparison can be made from the old scale to the new scale, given the important data-driven research being conducted. For this reason, we are investigating with the Technical Advisory Committee the feasibility of providing guidance on statistically sound methods of relating the old and new scales. We will share their recommendations in the Fall.

Please Note:

  • All MEA reports must be downloaded and saved by November 1, 2006 for future use.
  • March 5 -23, 2007 is the testing window for the next MEA administration.

 

To Do:
Contact the following people if there are issues with your data:
Susan Smith, MEA Coordinator, at susan.smith@maine.gov or 624-6775 for MEA issues
Rachelle Tome, AYP Coordinator, at rachelle.tome@maine.gov or 624-6705 for student-level issues
Linda Parkin, Alternate Assessment (PAAP) Coordinator, at linda.parkin@maine.gov or
624-6782 for MEA/PAAP issues