Maine joins regional testing partnership

iStock_000014316766XSmallMaine joins New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont as the fourth member of the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP), a multi-state testing partnership. The move will help Maine reduce its costs for testing by up to $1 million per year as it trims its state budget request by 10%. All states benefit from a lower per-pupil cost for the test administration.

Maine will continue to use the College Board SAT as its high-school assessment, according to the Maine Department of Education. NECAP will replace Maine’s current assessment test, the Maine Education Assessment, for writing, and mathematics for students in grades 3 through 8. Maine has not yet joined the NECAP partnership on science testing but is considering doing so.

The regional test is aligned with the state standards that all NECAP states have adopted, according to the Maine Department of Education. Teachers develop test items and set the standards for scoring the tests, which are administered each October. Measured Progress, of Dover, N.H., produces, distributes, collects, and scores the tests and issues resulting reports, under the terms of a multi-state contract that runs through the end of 2014.

Maine governor John E. Baldacci said he sees the NECAP as the first step in building a collaborative approach to education in the New England states. “Our region has a reputation for being innovators in education,” he said. “We are leaders in work on standards and high school reform. We can’t operate as individual states; our standards need to be at an international level to maximize the creativity, the knowledge base, and the resources of the four states if we are to be competitive globally.”

“We are pleased that Maine has joined this important collaborative,” said Acting Vermont Education Commissioner Bill Talbott. “The development of this caliber of assessment would have been prohibitive if the states had worked individually. Maine’s participation will expand the resources, ideas, and expertise so the four New England states will enjoy a high-quality assessment for their students in mathematics and literacy.”

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