State Assessment FAQs

This page is designed to help families understand details related to Maine's state assessments.

Questions related to:
General Assessment
Grades 3-8
High School/SAT

(This page is adapted from the MCAS site.)

General Assessment


Q: Should my child take the tests?
A: Assessing student learning is an essential aspect of education, as it provides data that can lead to improved instruction and outcomes. Assessments take many forms, and each type of assessment has distinct value and purpose in a comprehensive assessment system. For more information on why participation matters see:

The Maine DOE is required by Maine Statutes 20-A, Section 6209, and by the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act Section 111l(b)(3) 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.

For more information about federal guidelines for testing, please see:

Q: What are the names of all the new tests and the content/grade level each covers?

A: The Maine Comprehensive Assessment System (MECAS) offers equivalent alternate assessment (for students with documented significant disabilities).

General Education Alternate Grades

MEA Math & ELA/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)



Q: Is the assessment aligned to the Maine Learning Results?

A: The Maine Learning Results are the State standards for eight content areas and are periodically reviewed to ensure they are aligned to better prepare our students for success in college and career readiness.

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

A:F ederal statute requires that parents receive notification indicating their right to request the districts policies and procedures regarding student participation in state and local assessments. When this information is requested, the district will provide all applicable information to families. The district should be prepared to provide families with their assessment related policies and procedures, this would include an non-participation (opt-out) procedure if the district and school has such a procedure in place.

MSAD 75 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.

Grade 3-8

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

A: This chart shows 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



Q: Are practice test items available?

A: Sample test items are available here.


Q: Will the assessment be paper-based or online? 

A: The assessment will be online.


Q: What is the spring testing window?

A: The spring testing window for grades 3-8 is March 16th – April 10th.  Your child's school will schedule testing within that window, and inform you of those plans.

High School/SAT


Q: What do we do about our students receiving fee waivers for this school day SAT?

A: As the SAT is the required assessment for 3rd year high school for Math & ELA/Literacy, there is no fee for taking the test. For students receiving assistance through free and reduced lunch program, there are additional fee waivers for sending scores, Q&A Service discount, college application fees, etc.


Q: If students took the SAT at another scheduled time already this year, can those scores be used in lieu of testing again on the "School Day Administration"? And, can such students opt out of the test without it being detrimental to the school's scores and ratings?

A: Unfortunately, this is not a possibility. The School-Day SAT will serve as the state assessment. Each school’s participation rate depends on students participating in that school-day administration, so participation rate would be affected.


Q: Are international students allowed to take the school-day SAT?

A: The Maine DOE provides the state assessment program to all students whose education is provided at Maine public expense.  If international students are part of a student exchange program, they are considered Maine’s public school students during their stay. If they are enrolled in Infinite Campus State Edition (ICSE) in as third year high school/grade 11, they are expected to participate in the testing program.

If students are here through privately paid tuition, the publically funded SAT is not available to them. They are not allowed to register/pay individually and take the SAT on the state assessment day.


Q: Will non-3rd year high school students be allowed to take the SAT during the school day administration?

A:  No, the school day SAT is for enrolled 3rd year high school students only.


Q: Will the SAT be on a school day or Saturday? 

A: The SAT will be on a School Day.  


Q: Will the 3rd year high school/SAT include a writing component?

A: Yes, there is a writing component and the essay in the redesigned SAT is NOT optional.


Q: Will the state be paying for students to take the test in March or May?

A: No. The school-day SAT that will be funded and required by the Department.

Q: Will the SAT be included in the (accountability) report card for Maine schools?

A: Yes, the SAT be included in the (accountability) report card for Maine schools.


Q: If the SAT is given during the school day, and not on Saturday, can these scores be used for college applications?

A: Yes, SAT scores can be used for college applications.

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