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Home > Rules & Legislation > Letters from the Commissioner > Informational Letters > Letter 7




TO:            Superintendents, Assistant Superintendents, Curriculum Coordinators, High School Principals, Guidance Directors

FROM:       Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:        July 17, 2006

RE:           Maine SAT Initiative Information and Updates

Key Points Covered In this Informational Letter:

  • Status of the Maine SAT Initiative and NCLB Review
  • SAT Achievement Level Standard Setting and Reporting Schedule
  • SAT Administration Dates for 2006-07
  • Student Preparation and Readiness Planning
  • SAT Regional Information Sessions

There remain several steps to be undertaken before the first full cycle of the SAT Initiative will be complete. However, I do want to provide an update on the Initiative at this juncture and share news of forthcoming events surrounding the program. First of all, I want to recognize and commend the high schools of our State for their creative and successful strategies in achieving the high rates of participation and performance during this inaugural administration of the SAT. The timeframe from the announcement of the decision to use the SAT this past school year to the April 1st administration of the test was an aggressive one. Due to the professionalism, commitment and energy of local school personnel, the Initiative was extremely successful by all measures. I want to convey my sincere compliments on a job well done.

Status of the Maine SAT Initiative and NCLB Review
As most of you have probably read, the NCLB peer review process has initially denied approval of our State’s application based on several areas of what they perceive as noncompliance or incomplete documentation. The need for an independent alignment study of the SAT to our Learning Results is one such area. An alignment study has been underway and if it shows that we need to augment the questions on the SAT with some additional items, we will administer any needed items at the same time the high school science assessment is administered in the Spring. That being said, I want to be very clear that the SAT will be used as our State’s grade 11 assessment for the foreseeable future.

SAT Achievement Level Standard Setting and Reporting Schedule
On August 7 and 8, 2006, groups of Maine educators –predominately high school teachers- will convene in Waterville to take part in the achievement level standard setting for grade 11 as measured by the SAT. This process will be facilitated by Measured Progress and will closely replicate the process used in achievement standard setting in grades 3-8 this past May. Once the achievement determinations have been made and the cut scores assigned, school and student reports will be generated and mailed in September.

SAT Administration Dates for 2006-07
After much consideration and appreciated input, we have chosen the date of Saturday, May 5, 2007 as the SAT administration date for next year. While a case could be made for both the March 10, 2007 and May 5, 2007 dates as options, in the end the decision for the May date was made in order to provide almost two extra months of instructional time –and thereby potentially increase scores and achievement levels for students. The May administration is also a released form of the test. The make-up options will mirror those of this past year, with the general college reportable make-up date being June 2nd. 

Student Preparation and Readiness Planning
I am pleased to announce that we have just reached an agreement with the College Board to provide all Maine high school students (grades 9-12), faculty and administrators with year-round, 24-hour access to The Official SAT Online Course for the next two years, effective immediately. All school and activation codes will remain the same. This opportunity will provide a foundation of equitable preparation and readiness for all Maine students. The College Board will also conduct regional workshops to help teachers make best use of these materials. We also hope to add a feature to our Maine SAT web site where local districts will be able to share their readiness strategies and programs with each other.  

SAT Regional Information Sessions
Several series of regional informational workshops are under development. The first series scheduled is the annual Fall Counselor Workshops sponsored by the College Board’s New England Regional Office and hosted by Maine Colleges.  The locations and dates of these workshops are:
Wednesday, September 6, 2006 at the University of Maine in Presque Isle;
Tuesday, September 12, 2006 at Husson College in Bangor;
Wednesday, September 13, 2006 at Thomas College in Waterville and;
Thursday, September 14, 2006 at St. Joseph’s College in Windham.
Detailed information regarding these sessions will be mailed to all high school guidance counselors from the College Board and additional information can be found on the College Board web site at: .
The schedule and agenda of other informational SAT related workshops, including the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) sessions, will be published within the next few weeks.

As we enter into year two of the Maine SAT Initiative, our goal at the Department is to analyze every aspect of last year’s successful implementation and to improve each aspect in terms of efficiency and accuracy. Your shared contribution to this effort is greatly appreciated. If you have questions or need further information, please contact Dan Hupp at