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10/10/02

05 DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


071 COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION


Chapter 127: INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAM, ASSESSMENT AND DIPLOMA REQUIREMENTS


SUMMARY: Maine law requires the Commissioner to prescribe the basic instructional requirements for the public elementary and secondary schools regarding compliance with the system of Learning Results. The school board of each school administrative unit may prescribe, subject to approval of the Commissioner, instructional requirements in addition to the minimum requirements of this rule.


Section 1. General Objectives


This rule establishes the instructional program requirements, requirements for local assessment systems, and secondary school diploma standards for the public schools of the state, and for private schools that do not receive school approval through accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.


Parents shall be responsible for the education of a child not educated at public expense, including a child whose education is provided through an equivalent instruction plan as set forth in Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. 130. These students are not required to meet the content standards of the system of Learning Results.


Section 2. Definitions


The following terms used in this chapter shall have the meanings stated here.


2.01 Accommodations: “Accommodations” means the changes made in an assessment based on the needs of a student as established in the student’s Individual Education Plan or Section 504 plan. These changes must not compromise the validity of the assessment.


2.02 Aggregate Up: “Aggregate Up” means a method of determining the degree to which a class, grade level, school and school administrative unit meet a particular content standard based on individual student performance data in the local assessment system.


2.03 Alternate Assessment: “Alternate Assessment” means the assessment of content standards for a student whose exceptionality requires accommodations that are so significant that they compromise the validity of the assessment. Use of an alternate assessment must be identified and described in the student’s Individual Education Plan or Section 504 plan.


2.04 Assessment: “Assessment” means an educational instrument or activity designed to determine what a student knows and is able to do.


2.05 Commissioner: “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Education or a designee.


2.06 Comprehensive Education Plan: “Comprehensive Education Plan” means a plan that is aligned with the system of Learning Results, focused on the learning of all students, and oriented to continuous improvement, as required of all school administrative units. This plan must address all plans required by the Commissioner.


2.07 Content standard: “Content standard” means a broad description of knowledge and skills in each of the eight content areas of the system of Learning Results. The content standards are set forth in Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. 131.


2.08 Course: “Course” means a planned unit of instruction in separate or integrated content areas of Maine’s system of Learning Results, under the direction of a certified teacher.


2.09 Course of study: “Course of study” means a planned program of learning designed to prepare students to meet the content standards of the system of Learning Results for each of the grade spans, as specified in local school board policy.


2.10 Curriculum: “Curriculum” means the school administrative unit’s written document that includes the learning expectations for all students for all content areas of the system of Learning Results, as well as for other content areas specified by the school board. The curriculum shall reflect continuous, sequential and specific instruction aligned with the content areas of the system of Learning Results.


2.11 Department: “Department” means the Maine Department of Education.


2.12 Diploma: “Diploma” means the certificate awarded to a student who has met applicable content standards of the system of Learning Results as determined by the local assessment system and any additional requirements established in school board policy.


2.13 Elementary school: “Elementary school” means that portion of a school that provides instruction in any combination of pre-kindergarten through grade 8.


2.14 Essential Programs and Services: “Essential Programs and Services” means those programs and services, as defined by the State Board of Education or adopted by the Legislature, that a school administrative unit offers for each student to have the opportunity to meet the content standards of the system of Learning Results.


2.15 Fairness: “Fairness” means one aspect of validity of an assessment, including whether students have been taught what is being assessed, whether students have equal access regardless of being a member of a class protected under the Maine Civil Rights Act, and ongoing monitoring of the status of both intended and unintended consequences of the assessment.


2.16 Grade span: “Grade span” means the four groupings of grades in the system of Learning Results, as set forth in Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. 131: pre K-2, 3-4, 5-8, and 9-12.


2.17 Instructional day: “Instructional day” means a school day during which both students and teachers are present, either in a school or in another setting.


2.18 Instructional time: “Instructional time” means that portion of a school day devoted to the teaching-learning process, but not including extra- curricular activities, lunch time, or recess. Time spent on organized field trips related to school studies may be considered instructional time, but the instructional time counted for extended field trips shall not exceed a normal school day for each day of the field trip.


2.19 Junior High School: “Junior High School” means a school that provides at least one course of study in two or more consecutive grades 6 through 9-. In this rule, “middle school” is used instead of “junior high school.”


2.20 Laboratory study: “Laboratory study” means any course in which students are actively involved in the hands-on application of the content standards of the system of Learning Results.


2.21 Local Assessment System: “Local assessment system” means a coordinated collection of assessments administered to students that, as a whole, provides information on individual students, the school, and the school administrative unit with respect to achievement of the content standards of the system of Learning Results.


2.22 Middle School: “Middle School” means a school or portion of a school that provides at least one course of study for two or more consecutive grades 5 through 8. A middle school may be maintained in connection with or as part of an approved elementary or secondary school. In this rule, “middle school” is used instead of “junior high school.”


2.23 Multiple Measures: “Multiple measures” means the many different types of assessments for each content area and grade span administered to each student, and does not mean a repetition of the same assessment for an individual student.


2.24 Performance Indicators: “Performance indicators” means the statements in Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. 131 that define in specific terms the stages of achievement toward meeting a content standard within each grade span.


2.25 Performance Standards: “Performance standards” means the clear demarcations of student achievement for a given assessment, into the same performance levels as used in the Maine Education Assessment.


2.26 Personal Learning Plan: “Personal learning plan” means a plan for an individual student to meet the content standards of the system of Learning Results, developed collaboratively by teacher, parent, student, and other professional staff as specified by the superintendent. While a plan is required for alternative education students, it is also permitted for any student pre-kindergarten through grade 12.


2.27 Reliability: “Reliability” means the degree to which an assessment produces consistent results. That is, when the results of an assessment have high reliability, a student would be expected to receive a similar score whether judged by a different rater, tested on a different occasion, or administered an equivalent form of the assessment.


2.28 School: “School” means an individual attendance center within a school administrative unit including any combination of grades pre-kindergarten through 12. In this rule, an educational program located in or operated by a juvenile correctional facility, an educational program located in the unorganized territories and operated by the Department of Education, the Maine School of Science and Mathematics, and the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf shall be considered schools.


2.29 School Administrative Unit: “School administrative unit” means the state-approved unit of school administration and includes a municipal school unit, school administrative district, community school district or any other municipal or quasi-municipal corporation responsible for operating or constructing public schools, except that it does not include an applied technology region.


2.30 School calendar: “School calendar” means the schedule of school days adopted in advance of the school year by the school board.


2.31 School day: “School day” means a day on which school was in operation as an instructional day and/or a teacher in-service day.


2.32 School year: “School year” means the total number of school days in a year as established by the school administrative unit.


2.33 Secondary school: “Secondary school” means that portion of a school that provides at least one course of study in any combination of grades 9 through 12.


2.34 Sequence of courses: “Sequence of courses” means courses in a content area that develop concepts and skills from the simple to the complex.


2.35 Syllabus: “Syllabus” means a description of a course including a statement of educational objectives that are aligned with components of the curriculum the course is designed to address.


2.36 Teacher in-service day: “Teacher in-service day” means a school day during which a majority of teachers and professional staff report for work, but students are not present for instruction. These days may include days devoted to in-service educational programs, administrative meetings, parent-teacher conferences, record-keeping duties, curriculum preparation, and other similar activities related to the operation of school programs, and may take place in a school in the school unit.


2.37 Transitional instruction: “Transitional instruction” means an approved program of instruction for students of limited proficiency in English to enable them to attain a level of English language proficiency so that they may benefit from the total educational program.


2.38 Validity: “Validity” means the degree to which an assessment measures the content standard(s) it is intended to measure, and the degree to which inferences and actions based on student performance are appropriate.


Section 3. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS K-12


Each school administrative unit shall provide programs and instructional approaches that support the variety of learning styles of the students in the schools of the unit. The school board shall adopt a policy that provides all students with equitable opportunities to access the content standards of the system of Learning Results.


3.01 Ethical and Responsible Student Behavior


Instruction in ethical and responsible behavior shall be part of the educational program of each student. This shall be reflected in the Code of Conduct of the school administrative unit as specified in Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. 125.


3.02 English as the Language of Instruction


English shall be the language of instruction in all elementary and secondary schools except in modern and classical language courses and as provided in this rule.


A. Transitional Instruction


Students of limited English proficiency may be provided with transitional instruction for a period of time sufficient to enable them to attain a proficiency in English language skills that allows for their participation in the regular course of study. Transitional instruction may include instruction using bilingual teachers or paraprofessionals in all or some of the courses. Alternatively, it may take the form of support in a content area to assure student achievement of the content standards of the system of Learning Results and a specialized English as a Second Language course or sequence of courses in which students are given concentrated basic instruction in English language skills.


B. Bilingual Instruction


The school board of each school administrative unit may establish, subject to approval of the Commissioner, bilingual programs for the purpose of providing proficiency in both English and a second language. Bilingual programs intended to aid English-speaking students gain proficiency in a second language shall not be limited to enrollment by national origin.


3.03 Programs for Exceptional Students


A. Education of students with an Individual Education Plan (I.E.P.) or 504 Plan shall be provided as part of each public elementary and secondary program in accordance with the requirements of 20-A M.R.S.A. Chapter 303, Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. 101, and chapter 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The student’s I.E.P. or 504 Plan shall address how diploma requirements will be met. All students with an I.E.P. or 504 Plan shall participate in the comprehensive assessment system in accordance with Section 4 of this rule, with accommodations or alternate assessment if specified.


B. Each school administrative unit shall address the education of gifted and talented students as part of the unit’s Comprehensive Education Plan aligned with the standards of the system of Learning Results. Units that offer specialized instruction for gifted and talented students shall do so in compliance with Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. 104.


3.04 Alternative Programs


A. Role of Alternative Programs


A school administrative unit may establish or participate in one or more programs as alternatives to the regular course of study to meet the needs of students at risk. Alternative programs shall support student social and behavioral development in addition to performance on the content standards of the system of Learning Results.


These programs shall have stated goals, objectives, and procedures for implementing and assessing their effectiveness. Such programs may include interventions such as programs outside the school administrative unit, specialized instructional settings, extended or shortened school day, or extended school year, and may be scheduled outside of the regular school day, if appropriate.


B. Procedural Requirements


School administrative units shall develop a Personal Learning Plan, aligned with the system of Learning Results, for every K-12 student enrolled in an alternative program. Each Personal Learning Plan shall include, but not be limited to, the following components:


1). A description of the student's academic strengths and the observable or measurable areas in need of improvement.


2). A description of the annual educational goals, aligned with the content standards and performance indicators of the system of Learning Results, that the student may reasonably be expected to achieve during the school year.


3). A description of short-term instructional objectives leading to each annual educational goal.


4). A description of the social and behavioral needs that must be addressed for the student to achieve academic success, including strategies to keep the student in school.


5). A description of the multiple measures that will provide evidence that the student has achieved each goal.


6). For secondary school students, a description of the student’s career goals and transitional steps to achieve them.


3.05 Instruction in Research Skills


Each school administrative unit shall provide instruction in research skills across the content areas of the system of Learning Results so students gain information literacy. Each unit shall promote acquisition of the following skills by all students:


A. How to formulate questions to guide information search;


B. How to identify key words and concepts related to search questions;


C. How to access information from a variety of sources;


D. How to identify relevant information; and


E. How to evaluate, interpret, paraphrase, and organize the information for use.


Each school unit shall promote the acquisition by secondary school students of accessing, interpreting, analyzing, evaluation, synthesizing, organizing, and applying information for an intended purpose.


3.06 External Courses


A. The school board may provide external courses, in settings outside the regular school program, for any student. External courses may include, but are not limited to, the following: tutoring, adult education, on-line or correspondence courses, internships, and college courses.


B. External courses shall be rigorous and shall be provided under the general supervision of a certified teacher, specialist or administrator. External courses shall include a range of instructional strategies that support students meeting the content standards of the system of Learning Results, relative to the diverse learning styles of students.


C. Enrollment by students in such external courses must be approved in advance by the school principal, in accordance with school board policies.


3.07 Religion


The teaching of religious principles or doctrine shall not be allowed in any course. This prohibition, however, shall not be construed to prevent or exclude references to religion or references to or the use of religious literature, art, or music or other matters having a religious significance when such references or uses do not constitute instruction in specific religious principles or doctrines or preferences for any religious sect, church, creed or sectarian purposes and when such references or uses are incidental to or illustrative of matters properly included in the course of study. Instruction concerning religion could be an appropriate part of the content standards of the system of Learning Results in the areas of English Language Arts, Modern and Classical Languages, Social Studies, or Visual and Performing Arts.


Where religion is included within a course of study, the instruction may not be limited to the doctrines or principles of any one religion, sect or denomination.


When the curriculum that has been aligned with the system of Learning Results conflicts with sincerely held religious beliefs of a student or his/her parent or legal guardian, accommodation in the curriculum shall be made for the student. If the accommodation is so great that the validity of the local assessment system is compromised, the Superintendent will determine how to address this, subject to approval of the Commissioner.


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Section 4. Comprehensive Assessment System


4.01 State-wide Assessment Program


Each school administrative unit and each student enrolled in a school covered by this rule shall participate in the Maine Education Assessment (MEA) in grades 4, 8, and 11. Participation can be through standard administration of the MEA, through administration with accommodations, or through alternate assessment.


4.02 Local Assessment System


The school board of each school administrative unit that operates a school shall, by the end of the 2003-2004 school year, adopt and fully implement a local assessment system as the measure of student progress on achievement of the content standards of the system of Learning Results established in Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. 131. The assessment system shall address the grade spans of the schools operated. For school units that tuition all students in a grade level, assessment of that grade level shall be the responsibility of the receiving unit or school.

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A. Purpose of Assessment

The purpose of assessment is to:

1). Produce high quality information about student performance that will inform teaching and enhance learning,
2). Monitor and hold school administrative units accountable for students achieving the content standards of the system of Learning Results; and
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3). Certify student achievement of the content standards of the system of Learning Results.
B. Implementation of Local Assessment System
1). By the end of the 2003-2004 school year, and annually thereafter, the Superintendent shall certify to the Commissioner that the local assessment system meets the assessment system standards established by this rule for the content areas English Language Arts, Health and Physical Education, Mathematics, Science and Technology, and Social Studies.
2). By the end of the 2006-2007 school year, and annually thereafter, the Superintendent shall certify to the Commissioner that the local assessment system meets the assessment system standards established by this rule for the content areas Career Preparation, Modern and Classical Languages, and Visual and Performing Arts, contingent upon funding based on Essential Programs and Services or its equivalent.
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C. Standards for Local Assessment System

The Local Assessment System adopted by the school board of an administrative unit shall meet the following standards:

1). Each assessment in the Local Assessment System shall meet the standards specified in part D. of this section.
2). There shall be multiple measures of student performance for each content area and for each grade span, sufficient to provide the results specified below, with criteria for selecting the type and range of measures, and for aligning the multiple measures with the content standards.
3). The local assessment system shall include at least the following levels of assessments: classroom, school, school administrative unit, and state. The system may include regional and commercially produced assessments.
4). The role of the Maine Education Assessment (MEA) in the local assessment system shall be explicitly stated. Neither the MEA nor a commercially produced test may be the only measure of student achievement.
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5). Alternate assessment shall be a component of the Local Assessment System, with clear guidelines for participation in alternate assessment.
6). The mechanism for managing data produced by the Local Assessment System shall be clearly described and well coordinated.
7). The Local Assessment System shall be sufficient to determine student progress on the content standards of the system of Learning Results. This does not require assessment of each performance indicator specified in Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. 131. This shall include an explanation on how results are aggregated up from specific assessments to a content standard and from the individual student to the school unit.
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8). Training and development of school personnel shall be adequate to develop, use, and adapt assessment data.
9). A communications strategy shall provide for understanding of results by students, parents, and citizens, in addition to educators.
10). The Local Assessment System shall provide school and student results across the grade spans as follows. “School” means that for each school in the unit there are results for each content area as a whole; “student” means that for each student there are results for each content area as a whole. “None” means that there are no results for the content area for the grade span indicated.
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By the end of the 2003-2004 school year:


Results Reported for:

Pre-K-2 3-4 5-8 & 9-12

English Language Arts student student student

Mathematics student student student

Health & Physical Education none school student

Science & Technology none school student
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Social Studies none school student


By the end of the 2006-2007 school year:


Pre-K-2 3-4 5-8 & 9-12


English Language Arts student student student

Mathematics student student student

Health & Physical Education school student student


Science & Technology school student student

Social Studies school student student

Career Preparation school school student
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Modern & Classical Languages school school student

Visual & Performing Arts school school student


NOTE: Assessment of Career Preparation, Modern and Classical Languages, and Visual and Performing Arts in 2006-2007 is contingent upon funding of Essential Programs and Services or its equivalent.

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D. Standards for Assessments

To meet technical standards, those assessments that are a part of a school administrative unit’s Local Assessment System shall satisfy the following:

1). The content standard(s), performance indicator(s), and grade span addressed in each assessment are accurately specified. For school administrative units that have developed local indicators to measure student performance on the content standards specified in Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. 131, the administrative unit shall identify which of the state’s performance indicators are addressed by the specified local indicators.
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2). The assessment is developmentally appropriate for the grade span and is part of a continuum for that standard across the grade spans.
3). The assessment provides all students with fair opportunity to demonstrate knowledge and understanding.
4). The assessment meets the requirements of validity:
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(a) The assessment is aligned with the specified performance indicators of the Learning Results content standards;
(b) The assessment is fair to all students;
(c) The assessment specifies the method used to ensure validity, subject to the approval of the Commissioner;
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(d) Accommodations are specified that maintain validity of the assessment, with clear guidelines for use of those accommodations; and
(e) The assessment meets the requirements of reliability, specifying the method used to ensure reliability, subject to the approval of the Commissioner.
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5). The assessment has established rigorous performance standards and specifies:
(a) The method used to establish performance standards, subject to the approval of the Commissioner;
(b) Who was involved in setting performance standards;
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(c) How the percentage of students at each performance level compares to the school unit’s MEA performance; and
(d) The process for revising performance standards.
E. Presentation of data from a local assessment system shall permit interpretation to determine school and school administrative unit performance on specified content areas of the system of Learning Results, and to determine statewide performance.
F. The school board shall annually review and publish school and school administrative unit results on the local assessment system, and, if required based on these results, shall adjust the Comprehensive Education Plan developed in accordance with Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. 125.


Section 5. Elementary School Course of Study


5.01 Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten Programs


Kindergarten is a one or two-year program prior to grade one designed to serve as an introduction to the academic environment. Pre-kindergarten is a one-year program prior to kindergarten. Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs shall provide activities that promote the development of feelings of self-worth as a learner and the development of skills in the following areas: social interaction, academic readiness, language expression, and fine and gross motor coordination. When resources and facilities are available, school administrative units may provide full-day kindergarten programs to reduce the risk of school failure.


5.02 Standards and Expectations for Learning Grades Pre-kindergarten through 4


A. Each school board operating an elementary school shall adopt a curriculum aligned with the content standards of the system of Learning Results in up to three grade spans: Pre-kindergarten-2 and 3-4, and, where appropriate, 5-8. Each school administrative unit shall determine the instructional methods and educational materials needed to give each student the opportunity to meet the content standards of the system of Learning Results. This may include an extended school day or school year for students who need more than the minimum time established in Me. Dept of Ed. Reg. 125 to meet the content standards of the system of Learning Results.


B. The required content areas for each elementary school student shall include five content areas of the system of Learning Results as follows: English Language Arts, Health and Physical Education, Mathematics, Science and Technology, and Social Studies.


C. The Comprehensive Education Plan developed by the school administrative unit in accordance with Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. 125 shall address the implementation of Career Preparation, Modern and Classical Languages, and Visual and Performing Arts. Effective September 2006 the local curriculum shall include these content areas for all students contingent upon funding of Essential Programs and Services or its equivalent.


D. Each content area of the system of Learning Results is defined by the standards and performance indicators in Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. 131.


NOTE: Until such time as the content list for Health Education is included in Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. 131, health education shall continue to include instruction in community health, consumer health, environmental health, family life, growth and development, nutritional health, personal health including mental and emotional health, prevention and control of disease and disorders, safety and accident prevention, and substance use and abuse, including the effects of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs.


5.03 Promotion and Placement Decisions


A. The school board of each school administrative unit operating an elementary school shall adopt a policy to govern decisions to promote or retain a student based on information concerning that student from the Local Assessment System and other indicators determined by the school board.


B. For students who transfer into an elementary school from another state or an educational program that is not required to meet the standards of the system of Learning Results, the principal of the receiving school shall determine the value of the prior educational experience in order to make placement decisions.


Section 6. Middle School Course of Study


6.01 Standards and Expectations for Learning Grades 5 through 8


A. Each school board operating a middle school shall adopt a curriculum aligned with the content standards of the system of Learning Results in the 5-8 grade span. Each school administrative unit shall determine the instructional methods and educational materials needed to give each student the opportunity to meet the content standards of the system of Learning Results. This may include an extended school day or school year for students who need more than the minimum time established in Me. Dept of Ed. Reg. 125 to meet the content standards of the system of Learning Results.


B. The required content areas for each middle school student shall include five content areas of the system of Learning Results as follows: English Language Arts, Health and Physical Education, Mathematics, Science and Technology, and Social Studies.


C. The Comprehensive Education Plan developed by the school administrative unit in accordance with Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. 125 shall address the implementation of Career Preparation, Modern and Classical Languages, and Visual and Performing Arts. Effective September 2006 the local curriculum shall include these content areas for all students contingent upon funding of Essential Programs and Services or its equivalent.


D. Each content area of the system of Learning Results is defined by the standards and performance indicators in Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. 131.


NOTE: Until such time as the content list for Health Education is included in Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. 131, health education shall continue to include instruction in community health, consumer health, environmental health, family life, growth and development, nutritional health, personal health including mental and emotional health, prevention and control of disease and disorders, safety and accident prevention, and substance use and abuse, including the effects of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs.


6.02 Promotion and Placement Decisions


A. The school board of each school administrative unit operating a middle school shall adopt a policy to govern decisions to promote or retain a student based on information concerning that student from the Local Assessment System and other indicators determined by the school board.


B. For students who transfer into a middle school from another state or an educational program that is not required to meet the standards of the system of Learning Results, the principal of the receiving school shall determine the value of the prior educational experience in order to make placement decisions.


Section 7. Secondary School Course of Study and Diploma Requirements


7.01 Secondary School Standards and Expectations for Learning


A. Curriculum Aligned with the Content Standards of the System of Learning Results


1). Each school board operating a secondary school shall adopt a curriculum aligned with the content standards of the system of Learning Results. Each school administrative unit shall determine the instructional methods and educational materials needed to give each student the opportunity to meet the content standards of the system of Learning Results. This may include an extended school day or school year for students who need more than the minimum time established in Me. Dept of Ed. Reg. 125 to meet the content standards of the system of Learning Results.


2). The required content areas for each secondary school shall include five content areas of the system of Learning Results as follows: English Language Arts, Health and Physical Education, Mathematics, Science and Technology, and Social Studies.


3). The Comprehensive Education Plan developed in accordance with Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. 125 by the school administrative unit shall address the implementation of Career Preparation, Modern and Classical Languages, and Visual and Performing Arts. Effective September 2006 the local curriculum shall include these content areas for all students, contingent upon funding of Essential Programs and Services or its equivalent.


4). Each content area of the system of Learning Results is defined by standards and performance indicators in Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. 131.


NOTE: Until such time as the content list for Health Education is included in Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. 131, health education shall continue to include instruction in community health, consumer health, environmental health, family life, growth and development, nutritional health, personal health including mental and emotional health, prevention and control of disease and disorders, safety and accident prevention, and substance use and abuse, including the effects of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs.


B. Secondary School Course of Study


Each school board that operates a secondary school shall adopt at least one course of study to be provided in the secondary school(s) under its direction and supervision.


1). The course of study for each secondary school student shall include five content areas of the system of Learning Results as follows: English Language Arts, Health and Physical Education, Mathematics, Science and Technology, and Social Studies. Instruction in these content areas may be through discrete courses, through integrated study involving two or more content areas, or through any other organization of curriculum or instruction that provides access to these content areas for all students. A secondary school student shall study a content area until the content standards in that content area are met.


2). Phase-In Course of Study


(a) Prior to the 2006-2007 school year, each secondary school shall provide at least a two-year sequence in one foreign language as part of the secondary program. Schools are encouraged to offer two or more foreign languages as part of the secondary program. Where a secondary school does not offer courses in two foreign languages, students may attend another secondary school approved for tuition purposes to take the desired course.


(b) Effective with the Class of 2007 the school board shall determine the extent to which the standards of Visual and Performing Arts are met by the previous requirement for one credit in Fine Arts, and will require no less than this; and


(c) Career Preparation, Modern and Classical Languages, and all standards of Visual and Performing Arts not previously met under the preceding subsection will become a diploma requirement for all students effective with the Class of 2010, contingent upon funding of Essential Programs and Services or its equivalent.


3). Applied Technology Education


Each school unit shall make available applied technology instruction in accordance with Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. 231, 232, and 236. Curricula of applied technology programs shall be aligned with the content standards of the system of Learning Results. Students may meet the content standards of the system of Learning Results as part of an applied technology program, either through separate or integrated study of the content areas as described in 6.01(B)(1) above.


Assessment of student performance of an applied technology curriculum, as recommended by the applied technology program, shall be a component of the local assessment system adopted by the sending school board. The sending school board shall consider results of assessments of applied technology programs as part of the basis for awarding a diploma for participating students.


4). Extended Study


Secondary school students are eligible for extended years of study to complete the requirements of a diploma if they have not reached the age of 20 at the start of the school year. Students eligible for extended years of study may be referred to adult education or similar resources suitable to young adult learners. Extended study for students with disabilities shall be specified in the student’s I.E.P. The cost of extended study shall be part of the school unit’s secondary school budget.


C. For school units that do not operate a secondary school, this section should be considered by the school board, referred to here as the sending school board, when decisions are made about the education of secondary school students. The cost of secondary education for a student, including the cost of external courses, is covered by the secondary school tuition paid by the sending school board. Additional costs due to a student’s Individual Education Plan or 504 plan are also the responsibility of the sending school board.


7.02 Conditions for Awarding Diplomas


Diploma requirements shall be published and distributed to students entering the ninth grade.


A. Awarding of Diplomas


1). Phase-In Diploma Requirements


Prior to the start of the 2006-2007 school year, diplomas shall be awarded to students who meet the minimum requirements as established in this subsection. School Boards shall adopt policies that phase in the new requirements. "Credit" means an award for completion of a course of instruction plus assigned homework for an entire school year. A total of at least 16 credits shall be required for the awarding of a diploma. Credit may be awarded to students enrolled in grades 9-12, except that schools may award credits to adults, under policies adopted by the school board that measure whether the students have acquired the equivalent learning experiences. Credit for equivalent instruction in non-approved schools or through home instruction may be awarded based on the receiving school's assessment of the value of that educational experience. The following credits and skills shall be required:


(a) English/Language Arts - Four credits in English shall be required in a comprehensive program which includes reading comprehension, literature, written, listening and oral communication skills, the structure and uses of the English language, and research and reporting skills.


(b) Fine Arts - A credit in fine arts shall be required which may include arts, music, forensics, or drama. Fine arts may be provided through separate or integrated study and may include an awareness, appreciation, or performance of the art form.


(c) Health and Physical Education - One-half credit in health education shall be required. Health education shall include instruction in community health, consumer health, environmental health, family life, growth and development, nutritional health, personal health including mental and emotional health, prevention and control of disease and disorders, safety and accident prevention which may include cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and substance use and abuse, including the effects of alcohol, drinks, stimulants, and narcotics upon the human system. One credit in physical education shall be required. Physical education instruction shall be designed to promote physical well-being, self-esteem, self-awareness, sportsmanship and interpersonal skills. This requirement may include, but not be limited to physical fitness, fundamental motor skills and patterns, adaptive physical education, individual and group sports. Physical education may include special physical education, movement education and motor development.


(d) Mathematics – Two credits in mathematics shall be required. It is highly recommended that all students have exposure to basic algebraic concepts and skills.


(e) Science and Technology - Two credits in science instruction shall be required including one credit of laboratory study. Each student shall be required to demonstrate proficiency in the use of computers, in accordance with computer proficiency and performance standards established by the school unit and approved by the Commissioner. Proficiency shall mean experiences with computers that include loading, operating, and applying fundamental skills. This may include word processing, keyboarding, developing a database, accessing data, and using software. This requirement may be satisfied in grade 7 or 8.


(f) Social Studies - One credit in social studies shall be required, which may include instruction in economics, geography, political science, history, government, sociology, anthropology, and psychology. One credit in American history and government shall be required in a comprehensive course that includes instruction in the importance of voting, the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship, the Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence.


2) Initial Standards-Based Diploma


Beginning with the 2006-2007 school year, diplomas may be awarded only to students who have met the content standards of the system of Learning Results as determined by the local assessment system adopted by the school board for the following content areas: English Language Arts, Health and Physical Education, Mathematics, Science and Technology, and Social Studies. The school board may specify additional diploma requirements, including minimum attendance requirements and/or accumulation of credits or courses. However, this accumulation shall not, in and of itself, be sufficient evidence that a student has met the standards in a content area.


3) Full Implementation


Beginning with the 2009-2010 school year, diplomas may be awarded only to students who have successfully met the content standards of all content areas of the system of Learning Results as determined by the local assessment system, and additional diploma requirements as specified in local school board policy.


4) Notwithstanding section 7.02.A.3), students who successfully meet the content standards of the Learning Results, as specified in the goals and objectives of their Individualized Education Plans, will be awarded diplomas.


5) Transfer Students


For students who transfer into a secondary school from another state or an educational program that is not required to meet the standards of the system of Learning Results, the principal of the receiving school shall determine the value of the prior educational experience toward meeting the standards through the local assessment system.


B. Early Awarding of Diplomas


The intent of the system of Learning Results is to provide the time that students need in order to meet the content standards. This may involve more or less than the typical four years of secondary school. Nothing in these rules shall prevent the local school board from awarding of a diploma to a student who has completed all state and local diploma requirements in fewer than four years of study.


C. Delayed Awarding of Diplomas


1) A secondary school student who has satisfactorily completed the freshman year in an accredited degree-granting institution of higher education may receive a diploma from the school the student last attended, although the student does not meet all diploma requirements in this rule. Such decisions shall be at the discretion of the superintendent of the school unit, in accordance with the policies of the school board.


2) A veteran of World War II or the Korean Conflict who left secondary school to serve in the armed forces and who received an honorable discharge, may be granted a diploma at the discretion of the local school board, as specified in policy and subject to requirements in statute.


D. The school board may provide students who leave school without meeting the standards of the system of Learning Results with a certificate that is not a diploma. This certificate may acknowledge participation in an educational program for a specified number of years as well as include a record of achievements as deemed appropriate by the school board.


Section 8. Review Cycle for the System of Learning Results


8.01 The Commissioner shall conduct a review of Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. 131 by content area on a four-year cycle beginning in the 2003-2004 school year. Each year one content area from each of the following categories will be reviewed:


A. English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Technology, Social Studies; and


B. Career Preparation, Modern and Classical Languages, Health and Physical Education, Visual and Performing Arts.


8.02 If it is determined that any changes are to be made, the effective date of any changes will be included in the revised rule and will provide sufficient time for assessments to be adapted and fair notice to be given to students.


Section 9. School Assistance


9.01 When student performance in a school indicates that assistance is needed, the Commissioner shall provide assistance to the school administrative unit pursuant to section 4.02 A.1). of this rule.


A. The Commissioner shall annually review Maine Education Assessment results in reading, writing, and mathematics for each school in the state. The Commissioner shall establish thresholds for percentages of students in the lowest MEA performance category that shall result in further analysis of the unit’s performance.


B. If warranted based on this review, the Commissioner shall analyze the unit’s Comprehensive Education Plan developed in accordance with Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. 125, student performance on the local assessment system adopted in accordance with section 4 of this rule. Subjects reviewed will include student performance on other indicators specified in the unit’s Comprehensive Education Plan, school approval requirements specified in Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. 125, and the unit’s programs and services compared to those identified as Essential Programs and Services for students to meet the content standards of the system of Learning Results.


C. If warranted based on this analysis, the Commissioner will assign a team with expertise in the areas of need identified in the analysis of the unit to assist the unit in planning for improved student performance, for a period of not less than one year.


9.02 A school administrative unit that determines that it is unable to implement the system of Learning Results in the content areas of English Language Arts, Health and Physical Education, Mathematics, Science and Technology, and Social Studies within existing state and local resources by the deadlines specified in this Chapter and in law shall present its findings and supporting evidence to the Commissioner. The Commissioner shall review the findings and evidence and, if necessary, assist the unit in planning for implementation.


Section 10. WAIVERS


A school administrative unit may apply for a waiver from compliance with any provision of this rule.


10.01 Application for a waiver shall contain:


A. Documentation of actions taken to meet the requirements prior to applying for the waiver;


B. A description of the unforeseeable circumstances or undue hardships which led to the application;


C. A statement of financial hardship if applicable; and


D. The plan that the school administrative unit will implement to come into compliance with the regulations.


10.02 The Commissioner may grant the waiver in the following circumstances:


A. Based on components A., C., and D. of the application for a waiver the Commissioner will grant a one year waiver to 2007-2008 for section 7.02.A.2). in the content areas of Health and Physical Education, Science and Technology, Social Studies.


B. Upon finding that due to unforeseeable circumstances or undue hardship including financial hardship, the school administrative unit is unable to comply with this rule and that the compliance plan that the school administrative unit has submitted is reasonable; or


C. Upon finding that student performance in the unit exceeds expectations and that there is a Personal Learning Plan developed in accordance with subsection 3.04 (B) of this rule, for each student in the unit.


EFFECTIVE DATE, Chapter 127, “Instructional Requirements”:

Section 1, “Health, Safety and Physical Education Guidelines”:

March 15, 1974 (accepted for filing October 23, 1978 as 78-275)

Section 2, “Metric Instruction”:

September, 1977 (accepted for filing October 23, 1978 as 78-275)

Section 3, “Required Courses”:

June, 1976 (accepted for filing October 23, 1978 as 78-275)

Section 4, “Length of the School Day“:

June, 1975 (accepted for filing October 23, 1978 as 78-275)

Section 5, “Instructional Time”:

December, 1977 (accepted for filing October 23, 1978 as 78-275)


AMENDED:

March 19, 1980 – all sections with Section 6 added, “School Calendar,” filing 80-83

October 5, 1981 - Section 4, “Instructional Time: School Year and Instructional Days” (replaces Sections 4, 5 & 6)(EMERGENCY) – filing 81-218

October 13, 1981 - Section 1, “Required Course of Study for Public Schools,” filing 81-217

October 13, 1981 - Section 2, “Instructional Requirements for Nonpublic Schools,” filing 81 217

October 10, 1981 - Section 3, “Health, Safety and Physical Education Guidelines,” filing 81 217

March 4, 1983 – Sections 1, 2, 3 – filing 83-40


REPEALED AND REPLACED:

July 30, 1985 – as “Instructional Requirements and Graduation Standards,” filing 85-265


AMENDED:

June 25, 1986 – filing 86-224

July 1, 1989 – filing 89-121

February 11, 1991 - Sections 6, 11, 13 – filing 91-54


EFFECTIVE DATE (ELECTRONIC CONVERSION):

May 19, 1996


CORRECTIONS:

December 4, 1998 - corrected against historical paper files.


REPEALED AND REPLACED:

September 11, 2002 – as ”Instructional Program, Assessment and Diploma Requirements”, filing 2002-307, a major substantive chapter. Provisional adoption: March 15, 2002, filing LR-2002-17.


NON-SUBSTANTIVE CORRECTIONS:

October 29, 2002 - renumbering Section 7.02(C, D, E and F)





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