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Maine Assessment Letter

June 29, 2007

The Honorable Susan A. Gendron
Commissioner
Maine Department of Education
23 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0023

Dear Commissioner Gendron:

I am writing regarding Maine's standards and assessment system under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). We appreciate the efforts required to prepare for the peer review and hope that the process provides useful feedback that will support Maine's efforts to monitor student progress toward challenging standards.

In a letter to you on December 20, 2006, the Department identified three fundamental components in addition to a number of technical issues in Maine's standards and assessment system that did not meet the requirements of the ESEA. Specifically, we had concerns with technical quality (including local translations of assessments and inter-rater consistency in scoring the Personalized Alternate Assessment Portfolio, or PAAP), alignment of Maine's content standards to the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) and the PAAP, standards setting for the PAAP, and the lack of an alternate assessment in grades 3, 5, 6, and 7. In addition, we could not approve the use of the SAT without augmentation or evidence of alignment to Maine's content standards.

I understand that Maine has recently submitted information that will be peer reviewed in the next few weeks and that this evidence is likely to address many, if not all, of these concerns. Therefore, we are not assigning an approval status to Maine's standards and assessment system at this time. Because that system is not fully approved, however, we will place a condition on Maine's fiscal year 2007 Title I, Part A grant award.

After the peer review, if Maine's evidence has not resolved the remaining issues, we will take appropriate enforcement actions as outlined in the Department's May 10, 2007 fact sheet, including the possibility of continuing Mandatory Oversight pursuant to 34 C.F.R. §80.12. For your convenience, I am enclosing a copy of that fact sheet, which is also available on the Department's website (http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/statesystems.html).

We look forward to working with Maine to support a high-quality standards and assessment system. If you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to call Zollie Stevenson (202-260-1824) or Patrick Rooney (202-205-8831) of my staff.

Sincerely,

Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.

cc: Governor John E. Baldacci

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Last Modified: 06/29/2007