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Education Home > Standards > Grade Level Expectations 3-8

Picture of School ChildrenState of Maine Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) for Reading and Mathematics Grades 3-8

A Brief History

In December of 2001, President Bush signed into law the educational reform act, No Child Left Behind (NCLB). One of the key features of NCLB requires every state to test annually all students in grades 3-8 in reading and mathematics against individual state standards-in our state, The Maine Learning Results. States, such as Maine, that had only grade span standards were required to develop specific grade level expectations (GLEs) and clearly define what was to be assessed each year.

Maine's goal in the development of GLEs was threefold: to measure important facets of student learning in mathematics and reading, to reflect the breadth and depth of the Maine Learning Results for these disciplines, and to develop a manageable set of GLEs to test for NCLBA purposes. As a result, the GLEs in a grade for each content area are a subset of the Learning Results performance indicators for the grade span. Every attempt was made to create a set of expectations that clearly represent the content area and, at the same time, leave room for local choice in curriculum details and sequences. The following criteria helped guide the development of the GLEs.

  • In grades 3,5,6, and 7, each GLE must be a component of or a prerequisite to a performance indicator of the Learning Results.
  • In grades 4 and 8, only whole performance indicators listed in the Learning Results may be considered as a potential GLE.
  • Each GLE must be central to the understanding of the content area (e.g., big idea)
  • Each GLE must have the potential to be measured by a large-scale, paper and pencil test.
  • The set of GLEs at each grade level should reflect the breadth and depth of each content area.
  • The language used to describe each GLE should be clear and specific enough for consistent interpretation at the local level.

The GLE Development Panels consulted a variety of documents including Maine’s Learning Results, national standards in reading and mathematics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) frameworks, the work of the New England Compact (a collaborative NCLB assessment project among Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Rhode Island), and web- based surveys posted on the Department’s website.

Between November 11 and December 4, 2003, the Department’s content specialists in reading and mathematics reviewed the public comment on the GLEs and prepared a summary document for review by the Department’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and Policy Advisory Committee (PAC). On December 11 and 12, TAC and PAC made recommendations based on this summary information. The Department’s content specialists in reading and mathematics met with the Commissioner on December 30, 2003 and presented these recommendations regarding GLEs. The following documents reflect in final version the results of this meeting.