State Assessments

State Assessment Frequently Asked Questions

On this page, we hope to help families understand details related to Maine’s state assessments.

Should my child take the tests?

Our goal is for every student to engage in these assessments and put forth their best effort. While it is true that state and federal laws require that we test all students in grades 3-8, and those in their third year of high school, for us it means more. The results of these tests help us to inform our programming for students and they serve as one of the many ways that we are accountable to our community. Having all students complete the assessment ensures that we are in compliance with our use of federal Title IA funds, money we use to support at-risk learners.

What are the names of all the state assessments and the content/grade level each covers?

Each Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) content area assessment must have an equivalent alternative assessment (for students with documented significant disabilities).

General Education Alternate Grades
EmPower Math & Literacy MEA Alternate MSAA 3-8 & 3rd year high school
MEA Science MEA Alternate Science PAAP 5, 8, 3rd year high school
ACCESS for ELLS (English Language Learners) Alternate ACCESS for ELLS (English Language Learners) K-12

Please explain the state and federal requirements to test all students.

The Maine Department of Education is required by Maine Statutes 20-A, Section 6209, and by the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act Section 1111(b)(2)(B)(II) to assess all students in grades 3-8 and at one point in high school in the content areas of mathematics and English language arts (ELA)/literacy.

When are student results shared with families/guardians?

Individual results are provided in report cards at the end of the first trimester for the previous year’s testing.

Can you clarify state law and federal law regarding opt-out? Can you clarify a process/procedure for families wishing to opt-out?

Both Maine State Statute and federal law require that “each student must be assessed by means of a statewide assessment.” Additional legal information regarding “opting-out” with citations in the respective federal and state laws can be found here. If you have concerns about your child’s participation in the assessment, please contact your child’s principal.

RSU 68 utilizes all assessment data to help inform our practices at the district, school, classroom and individual levels for our students. Although we encourage students and parents to participate fully in our assessment program, it is important to note that parents/guardians may opt their child out of state testing. If you are interested in doing so, please also reach out to your child’s principal to make this request in writing.

Do Parents have the right to request information regarding policies, procedures, or parental rights to opt-out of a local or state assessment?

On December 10, 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) was signed into law. Section 1112(e)(2) of ESSA states that parents of students in Title I schools have a right to know about state or local policies regarding student participation in any assessments mandated by ESSA or any local assessments, including any policy, procedure, or parental right to opt students out of such assessments. If you would like to receive information about this topic, please contact your child’s principal.

What is the testing time required for online testing in Math and English Language Arts for grades 3-8?

This chart show the testing time for each testing component.

Test Section Number of Sessions Time per Session (min)
Mathematics 2 75
Reading 2 80
Writing and Language 2 35
Essay 1

80 (grades 3-5)

70 (grades 6-8)

Approximate Total by Grade

3 – 460 (7hrs, 40min)

4 – 460 (7hrs, 40min)

5 – 460 (7hrs, 40min)

6 – 450 (7.5hrs)

7 – 450 (7.5hrs)

8 – 450 (7.5hrs)

Are practice test items available?

Sample test items are available here.

Will the assessment be paper-based or online?

The assessment will be online.

Will the grades 3-8 include a writing component at every grade level?

Yes, there will be a writing component at each grade 3-8 and also 3rd year high school; however, the Maine Department of Education has suspended this for the 2019-2020 school year.

What is the spring testing window?

You can find the Maine Assessment Calendar at Your child’s school will schedule testing within that window and will inform you of those plans.

What are the names of the local assessments and the content/grade level each covers?

RSU 68 uses the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) for a local assessment. Students are assessed in the fall and spring using a computerized adaptive test; the difficulty of each question is based on how well a student answers all the previous questions. If a student answers correctly, questions become more difficult. If a student answers incorrectly, the questions become easier. The final score is an estimate of the student’s achievement level. Each assessment is one (1) hour long. Results are received as soon as the assessment is completed. Writing prompts are scored twice and students are able to set writing goals using the rubric scores.

Local Assessment Grades
NWEA Math & Literacy 2-8, in fall/spring
Writing Prompts K-6, in fall/spring

When are student results shared with families/guardians?

Results are shared during fall and spring parent/teacher conferences. If a parent does not attend the conference, scores are then sent home with students. The parent sheet for NWEA and a copy of the writing prompt and rubric will be sent home.

More Questions? 

Do you have questions that weren’t addressed above? Feel free to contact the school principal.

You can go to to see how RSU 68 is performing on a wide range of educational goals. The graphic below from the Maine Department of Education shows how to find RSU 68 and/or SeDoMoCha.