Standardized Assessment Practices
In order to monitor student progress and to measure the effectiveness of our programming, several standardized assessments are administered to all students. These include locally identified assessments as well as the state-required assessment. Locally identified assessments that are given to all students are called “Universal Assessments”. They are called universal because all students take them in the designated grade levels. They are primarily administered at the beginning and end of the school year as they are designed to document growth over the course of the year.
The following chart summarizes these tools by grade level:
All Maine schools participate in the Maine Comprehensive Assessment System (MeCAS), which provides information about the academic progress of students, schools, and the state as a whole. National and international assessments help us interpret the success of Maine’s students in comparison to students in other states and nations. State assessments, known as the Maine Educational Assessments (MEA), measure the progress of Maine’s students toward the content standards adopted for Maine students. Along with other local assessment instruments and/or teacher-developed classroom assessments, the MEA can help educators and parents to understand where every public school student is and where they may need additional support to become college and career-ready by graduation.
The MEA in English language arts and math is administered annually in grades 3-8 and 11. The science MEA is administered in grades 5, 8, and 11. All 11th graders participate in the SAT. Alternative assessments are provided for students with significant cognitive disabilities, including the PAAP and MSAA. MEA ACCESS for ELLs is administered to students identified as English learners which measures language acquisition. For more information about Maine’s assessment system, visit http://maine.gov/doe/assessment.
High School Students also take other college and career readiness assessments. The PSAT serves as a predictor of SAT achievement, provides criteria for merit scholarships, and helps students with their college search process. Similarly, some students take the ACT, another college and career readiness assessment. All of these may be submitted to consideration in college applications. Also, students enrolled in advanced placement courses take the Advanced Placement exam for the given course in May. Typically, scores of 3 or better, when submitted to colleges, earn college-level credit.
The Gorham School Department utilizes all assessment data to help inform our practices at the district, school, classroom, and individual levels for our students. We encourage students and parents to participate fully in our assessment program.