Stressed schools will have to wait a little longer for help from the state.

The Maine Department of Education was expected to advise specific changes to the Maine Learning Results early this week. Instead, officials have put off releasing those recommendations until the beginning of April.

The Learning Results was established in 1997 as a complete system of educational standards for public school students. It is being phased in over several years.

Each school system must create comprehensive local assessments, with portfolios, tests and other evaluations for all students in all grades. Schools have spent years trying to develop the assessments in the midst of other state and federal requirements.

This year’s freshmen will have to show that they meet standards in English, math, science, social studies and health in order to get a diploma in 2008.

School officials have said the requirements and the tight phase-in deadlines are causing a strain on students and teachers. In December, Department of Education officials decided to review the Learning Results in an effort to relieve some of that pressure.

The department would not release details about the recommendations, but Deputy Education Commissioner Patrick Phillips said officials want to slow the phase-in of the Learning Results to give schools and teachers extra time to adapt. He said the department does not want to scrap the Learning Results or get rid of the local assessment system that is tied to it.

Some of the proposed changes may be made by the Education Department alone, according to Phillips. Others will require legislative approval.

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