MEA Alternate Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy

The Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA)

The Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA) is Maine’s MEA Alternate Mathematics and English language arts/literacy assessment. The MSAA test is an Alternate Assessment based on Alternate Achievement standards (AA-AAS) that aligns with Maine’s College and Career Readiness Standards. As a partner state of MSAA, Maine continues to participate in the development of this assessment. Nine other states are participating in this assessment in the 2017-18 school year.

This assessment offers educators summative data about the academic achievement and growth of their students. The goal of this high-quality online assessment is to ensure that students with the most significant cognitive disabilities achieve increasingly higher academic outcomes and leave high school ready for post-secondary options. Maine administered the MSAA to 1273 students in the 2017 spring assessment and looks forward to the operational implementation of the writing prompt for the 2017-18 administration year.

Format and Technology

Students may access this assessment in a variety of ways, depending on their needs. Some will interact with the computer and the testing platform directly, with the test administrator monitoring their work. Others may use the traditional paper and pencil format as an individual accommodation. Students may also use various Assistive Technology devices for viewing, responding, or interacting with test items. 

The online platform requires the following operating systems:  Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10 or Mac OS X 10.7-10.11 (El Capitan). The following internet browsers may be used: IE 11 or above, including Edge, Firefox 24 and above, and Chrome 26 and above.  Tablets and OS include:  iPad Mini (iOS 8.4), iPad 2 (iOS 9.3.4), Surface (Windows RT 8.1) and Chromebook – Chrome OS Version – 49.0.2623.95.

Summative Assessment

The MSAA assessment will fulfill the testing requirements of federal and state education laws. The testing window will be open March 19 through May 4, 2018.

Instructional Resources

Instructional and curricular resources for the MSAA assessment continue to be found at the NCSC Wiki website. Core Content Connectors (CCCs) link to grade level standards in content areas. LASSIs (Language Activities with Scripted Systematic Instructions) and MASSIs (Math Activities with Scripted Systemic Instruction) provide instruction in four levels of increasing difficulty, which target CCCs that are priority grade level targets. These Content Modules are available to teachers to provide a deeper understanding of complex concepts as well as adaptations and modifications to consider for instruction. Monitoring tools and classroom assessments to measure student progress toward meeting alternate achievement standards are also available to assist educators in customizing instruction and guiding student understanding of concepts.

MSAA Guide for Score Report Interpretations

MSAA Guide for Score Report Interpretations. (PDF, 2MB) Provides an overall introduction to the purpose of the MSAA. Included is guidance to read and understand district, school, and student reports; and a legend for Reporting Codes.

Performance Level Descriptors (DOC, 73KB) summarize the knowledge, skills and abilities prioritized in MSAA that students need to attain in each level of achievement (Level 1- Level 4) at each grade level. 

MSAA Parent Overview (PDF, 1MB) Pages 1 – 4 of this document provides a parent overview explaining the MSAA.  Each section thereafter breaks down grade level information for each content area of the assessment.

Special Consideration Request

This process is intended to be used in the rare instances when a student cannot participate in either instruction or assessment. In these cases, a request for State approval of non-participation must be made. The State-approved reasons for allowing non-participation fall within four broad areas outlined in the portal. Requests must be made within individual testing windows.


Sue Nay
Alternate Assessment & WIDA ACCESS Coordinator