February 7, 2002
Honorable J. Duke Albanese
Commissioner of Education
Maine Department of Education
23 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0023
Dear Commissioner Albanese:
I am pleased to approve Maine's final assessment system under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. I appreciate your cooperation in making the necessary changes in your assessment system to meet the 1994 requirements of Section 1111(b)(3) and 1116(a) of Title I.
The Department granted Maine a waiver of timeline on March 21, 2001, to allow time for your agency to complete its efforts for increasing participation of limited English proficient students in the State assessment system and fully implement an alternate assessment for students with profound disabilities. On December 21 of last year, Maine provided evidence of completing these requirements and also provided samples of reports that confirm the implementation of the necessary policies.
Department staff have reviewed your strategy for increasing the participation rates of students with disabilities and limited English proficient students in the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA). Department staff have also reviewed evidence that Maine has developed and disseminated disaggregated reports by all required student groups at State, district and school levels in a statistically valid and reliable manner. Additionally, the Department had already found the indicators used to identify economically disadvantaged students to be appropriate and acceptable. This finding was reported to you in a letter dated March 21, 2001. On the basis of the submission of the additional information and the evaluation conducted by U.S. Department of Education staff, we grant approval of Maine's final assessment system.
Please be aware that approval of Maine's assessment system for Title I does not necessarily mean that the system complies with Federal civil rights requirements, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Finally, please remember that if significant changes are made to Maine's assessment or accountability system, you must submit information about those changes to the Department as required by section 1111(e)(2) of Title I.
Staff in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education have found it a pleasure working with your staff on this review. Congratulations on a fully approved assessment system. We look forward to working with you as you expand the Maine Educational Assessment to meet the current requirements under Title I and continue the improvement of school and student performance in Maine.
Susan B. Neuman, Ed.D.