October 3, 2003
The Honorable Susan A. Gendron
Commissioner of Education
Maine Department of Education
23 State House Station
August, ME 04333-0023
Dear Commissioner Gendron:
I am writing to follow up on your letter of August 21st in which you submitted several amendments to the Maine accountability plan.
With respect to the amendments related to Elements 1.1 (accountability for schools without tested grades) and 7.1 (graduation rate definition), Maine may make these changes. With respect to Element 5.5, Maine wishes to apply a confidence interval to safe harbor determinations. Maine may use this statistical test (limited to a 75% confidence interval) for making adequate yearly progress (AYP) determinations this school year. We request, however, that Maine provide impact data from the 2002-2003 AYP data regarding the use of this statistical test for "safe harbor," as soon as it is available, for further review and consideration by the Department. Please update your accountability plan with these amendments and submit it to your state contact so that the most up-to-date plan is available and on the Department's website.
Maine also provided information about moving the assessment system from a grade span system to a system that administers assessments in grades 3-8 and high school. The U.S. Department has issued regulations that would allow Maine to use its local assessments within a statewide assessment system to meet the Title I requirements. At this point, Maine has indicated that they will pursue a state-based assessment system. As you continue developing your statewide assessment system, please refer to the guidance we have issued about standards and assessments:
With respect to Element 5.3, you have submitted a question about the use of alternate assessments aligned to alternate achievement standards (i.e., PAAP). As indicated in previous communication, students taking the PAAP must be included in the accountability system. We will work with you on how best to include these results, but Maine may not amend its plan to exclude these students from the accountability system.
We will continue to work with Maine to implement these accountability provisions and ensure that all students reach proficiency.
Ronald J. Tomalis
Acting Assistant Secretary