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Home > Rules & Legislation > Letters from the Commissioner > Informational Letters > Letter 64

 

INFORMATIONAL LETTER NO:  64

POLICY CODE:  ILB

 

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

FROM:  Susan A. Gendron

DATE:  January 22, 2007

RE:      MEA Grades 3 – 8 March 2007 Administration Information

Key Points Covered in this Informational Letter:

  • The Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) test designed for grades 3–8 will measure the 2007 (enhanced) Grade Level Expectations based on Maine’s Learning Results to meet No Child Left Behind Act requirements.
  • The test design is relatively unchanged from last year.
  • Writing will be assessed at grades 5 and 8.
  • Participation in computer–based assessment (MEA Online) will continue to be voluntary.
  • The dates for the grades 3–8 MEA are March 5–23, 2007.
  • The alternate assessment to the MEA, the Personalized Alternate Assessment Portfolio (PAAP), will be administered during the school year at all grades 3–8 and will, at Rubric Levels 1 and 2, consist only of tasks that can be chosen and downloaded from the Web at www.mecas.org. The date for submission of the alternate assessment (PAAPs) is April 6, 2007.
  • All student level data will be supplied by MEDMS. All MEDMS student data must be updated by January 31, 2007 for printing of student labels and March 26, 2007 for MEA reporting.
  • Test administration workshops are being held the last two weeks in January.
  • Achievement standard setting for the writing assessment will occur in Spring 2007.
  • Web access to 2005–06 MEA reports will continue to be available until January 31, 2007.

MEA Design
Beginning this year, the enhanced grade level expectations (GLEs) at all grades 3–8 in reading and mathematics, and grade span expectation (GSEs) in science and technology at grades 4 and 8 only, will be assessed.  The 2006-07 GLEs in reading and mathematics, and GSEs in science and technology may be viewed at http://www.maine.gov/education/lsalt/gles.htm. It is important to note that the GLEs and GSEs are derived from focused Learning Results performance indicators and do not represent new content.

The test length and mix of item types are relatively unchanged from 2005–06, with the exception of a slightly decreased percentage of constructed-response reading items at grade 4 (from 42% to 33%) and an increased percentage of constructed-response items at grades 6 and 7 (from 29% to 43%). These changes were announced last year as part of a long-term test design plan to provide grades 3–5 and 6–8 with similar test designs. Specific test design information is available at: http://www.maine.gov/education/mea/admininfo.htm.

The writing assessments for grades 5 and 8 utilize prompts that were field tested in 2005–06 and will produce student scores. The students will be responding to a prompt that focuses on the narrative mode of writing at grade 5 and the persuasive/argumentative mode at grade 8.  More information about the writing assessment is available at: http://www.maine.gov/education/mea/admininfo.htm.
           
MEA Online
The computer-based assessment at grade 8 (MEA Online) is again being offered on a voluntary basis for schools who meet eligibility requirements. Information about participation in the computer-based assessment program has been sent by email to the MLTI listserve and is available at: http://maine.itest-k12.org. Continued improvements, coupled with MEDMS student information availability and upgrades to MLTI equipment, have resulted in an improved system. (NOTE: This will be the last year of the current version of the MEA Online system. We will be exploring updated systems for the future.)

MEA Testing Window
Grade level assessments, including make-ups, will be administered between March 5th and 23rd, 2007, in accordance with MEA Administration Guidelines. Test materials will arrive in schools immediately following February vacation week and will be picked up automatically by UPS on March 28th. Administration information is currently posted or will soon be posted on the web at http://www.maine.gov/education/mea/admininfo.htm, including the MEA Operational Procedures for Grades 3-8 March 2007Administration document, the 2006-07Policies and Procedures for Accommodations and Alternate Assessment document, the MEA Principal/Test Coordinator manual and the MEA Test Administrator manuals.

Alternate Assessment
The alternate assessment to the MEA, the Personalized Alternate Assessment Portfolio (PAAP), will be administered during the school year at all grades 3–8 and will, at Rubric Levels 1 and 2, consist only of tasks that can be chosen and downloaded from  the Web at www.mecas.org. The date for submission of the alternate assessment (PAAPs) is April 6, 2007. On that date, there will be an automatic pick-up of PAAPs at schools throughout the State.

MEDMS Data
All student-level data, including demographic data, will be supplied by MEDMS, so it is essential that schools keep their MEDMS data current. It is recommended that schools verify enrollment, demographic and program data during January 2007 by selecting “Download Data” from the MEDMS application menu and “Student Enrollments” from the action menu. Clicking “Submit” will offer the option to “Open” or “Save” the resulting spreadsheet. The spreadsheet will show enrolled and exited students. MEDMS information as of January 31, 2007 will be used to print student identification labels for use on the MEA answer booklets. MEDMS data as of March 26, 2007 will be the official data of record for all 2006–07 MEA assessment reports and AYP accountability determinations.

Test Administration Workshops
Test administration workshops will be held at five regional sites January 23–31, 2007, as well as an ATM session on January 29th. Registration information has been mailed to schools and posted on the MEA website at: http://www.maine.gov/education/mea/workshops/index.html.

Writing Achievement Standard Setting
The Department will set new writing achievement standards in Spring 2007, applying two achievement standard-setting strategies.  The Contrasting Groups method will survey grade 5 and 8 teachers at the time of testing about the performance of students in the classroom in relation to achievement level definitions. A second method, the Modified Bookmark approach, will engage panels of educators in linking student performance on the MEA writing prompt to achievement level definitions.

Extension of Web Access to 2006 MEA Reports
Secure Web access to 2005–06 MEA reports for superintendents and principals has been extended to January 31, 2007. It is important that MEA data be downloaded to a secure location at the school level before that time.

Contact Information
MEA Policy: Susan Smith, MEA Coordinator, at (207) 624-6775 or (207) 624-6770, or susan.smith@maine.gov
MEA Administration: Measured Progress at (800) 431-8901
MEA Online: Measured Progress Helpdesk at (877) 934-8378 or meaonline@measuredprogress.org 
MEDMS: MEDMS Helpdesk at (207) 624-6896 or medms.helpdesk@maine.gov.
Alternate Assessment: Linda Parkin at (207) 624-6782 or linda.parkin@maine.gov
Adequate Yearly Progress: Rachelle Tome at (207) 624-6705 or rachelle.tome@maine.gov