Schools receive results of redesigned MEA tests
Cape Elizabeth Schools have received results of the redesigned Maine Educational
For the first time, the reading and math achievement of all students in grades
3-8 is being measured by the MEA. Previously the MEA only tested grades 4
and 8 at the elementary level.
"This years MEA results will serve as baseline data for this new
comprehensive testing system," said Superintendent Alan Hawkins in a news
The MEA was redesigned to measure all students progress toward meeting
Maines Learning Results, as required by the federal "No Child Left
Behind Act". At grades 4 and 8, the assessment continues to measure science
and technology as well.
The new assessments provide schools with the first opportunity to look at
individual school and statewide data for multiple, adjacent grades measuring
Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) based on Maines Learning Results, Hawkins
said. "The data will prove useful as schools continue to make data-driven
instructional decisions on implementing Learning Results," he said.
"The MEA is a challenging test, composed of a combination of multiple-choice
questions and items that require students to construct their responses,"
Scores are reported by the percentage of students in each of four achievement
levels: Exceeds, Meets, Partially Meets, and Does Not Meet the Standards,
as well as on a standards-based scale of 80 points.
As part of the new comprehensive system, several actions have occurred:
The MEA now consists of a new, more focused test design for all grades in
response to feedback from the field to reduce the burden of testing.
Test items were focused on Grade Level Expectations based on Maines
Achievement Level Definitions were redefined and achievement standards were
reset due to the GLEs and the new test design.
These new scores are the baseline data of new trend lines, and should not
be compared to previous years.
To accommodate this new design, achievement standards had to be set at all
grades. Prior to this year, MEA reported on performance standards which were
established in 1999 and based on long-term targets of where Maine wanted
students to be in the future. Since Maines Learning Results were organized
to measure grade spans and the No Child Left Behind Act requires testing
at all grades 3-8, Grade Level Expectations were derived from those grade
span standards (K-2, 3-4, 5-8), and the MEA was redesigned to measure those
GLEs in a focused and coherent manner.
"The information received as the result of the testing provides us with
statistical evidence of student performance," Hawkins said. "Initial review
points to the level of student performance compared with state performance.
When we review this initial data, we look at the number of students performing
at the 'Meets' and 'Exceeds' levels as compared with statewide performance,"
As an example, Hawkins said, 135 Cape Elizabeth students were assessed in
Grade 3 reading. Of those, four students 'Exceeded the Standard' and 109
students 'Met the Standard', for a total of 113, or 84 percent, falling into
those categories. Statewide, 65 percent met or exceeded the standard. In
the 'Partially' or 'Does Not Meet' category, Cape Elizabeth had 22 third-graders,
or 16 percent, compared to 35 percent statewide.
"These statistics demonstrate good performance by our third-graders in reading,
but our concerns will remain with the 16 percent not meeting the standards,"
A spreadsheet prepared by the School Department summarizes student scores
and provides comparisons. (Click here to download
spreadsheet in pdf format) "As you can see, Cape Elizabeth students performed
much higher than the state percentiles," Hawkins said.
Historically, the MEA has also been administered at the 11th grade. This
past year, the state changed its testing standards for 11th-graders from
the MEA to the SAT college-entrance exam. The results of this evaluation
have not been received from the Department of Education but should be available
by mid-September, Hawkins said.