Members of the public are invited to join local school districts for a state assessment information session on February 24.

This spring, Maine students will take a brand-new state test, titled the “Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy.” Many call this the “Smarter Balanced Assessment”, named after the consortium of states that developed the assessment. The change affects students in grades 3-8, as well as students in the third year of high school. With this shift, Maine will no longer measure student achievement of mathematics and English language arts standards using the SAT and NECAP (New England Common Assessment Program).

The new assessment experience will look very different to students, parents, and educators. In contrast to the NECAP and SAT, the “new MEA” will be administered primarily on computers, rather than using the traditional #2 pencil. Through computer-based administration, parts of the test can adjust questions based on student responses, and tools such as animations, text-to-speech, and built-in calculators can be provided on appropriate questions. Use of computers for testing yields benefits and challenges to students and to the schools administering the state-mandated test. The tests will be administered between late March and early May.

To help parents, community members, and school board members understand what the new state assessment will look like, and the history behind this state change, several local school districts are partnering to offer the info meeting on the 24th. The session will begin with a presentation about the assessment changes, give participants an opportunity to see sample assessment items, and conclude with queestions and answers. The session will begin at 6:15 p.m. in Hill Auditorium of Barrows Hall at UMaine, and is open to the public.

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