Maine Suspends Grading Schools
The Maine Department of Education will suspend the A-F school grading system this year because students are taking a new assessment test and the state will not have enough data to measure their progress, education officials said Monday.
Students in Maine schools will begin taking the new assessment test – called Smarter Balanced – in March, and officials said it would not be possible to measure students’ year-over-year growth using two different tests.
The next round of report cards will be issued in the fall of 2016, after students have taken the new Smarter Balanced tests for two years, acting Education Commissioner Tom Desjardin said in a memo to school officials.
“Instead, performance on the new assessment this spring, which will be made available on our public Data Warehouse, will establish a new benchmark,” he wrote. “It will only be in the fall of 2016 when we have two years of student achievement data that we will again be able to measure how schools are doing and release the next round of report cards.”
The grading system, which gives individual schools grades from A to F based on several factors – such as test scores, graduation rates and improvement in scores – was implemented in 2013 under Republican Gov. Paul LePage and designed to bring transparency and accountability to the state’s public school system.