Maine NECAP, MEA and MHSA Test Prep

About Maine’s Comprehensive Assessment System (MeCAS)

If you have a child in elementary, middle or high school in Maine, then you need to know about the standardized tests your child will be taking. To comply with the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, Maine administers standardized tests to students beginning in 3rd grade through high school.

Time4Learning, an online education service that teaches many of the skills these exams test, offers this page to help you understand Maine’s standardized tests and how you can help your children prepare.

Maine’s Comprehensive Assessment System (MeCAS) includes three standards-based tests:

  • New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP)
  • Maine Educational Assessment (MEA)
  • Maine High School Assessment (MHSA)

Standards-based means that test items are based on grade-specific Maine academic content standards.

New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP)

Beginning in October 2009, Maine will administer the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP). New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont also give the NECAP yearly. All students in third through eighth grade will take the NECAP in reading and math. Students in fifth and eighth grade will also take a writing test.

Maine Educational Assessment (MEA)

Previously, all students in 3rd through 8th grade took the MEA in reading and math. For the 2009-2010 school year, however, the MEA reading and math tests will be replaced by the New England Common Assessment Program tests. Students in 5th and 8th grade will still take the MEA science test.

Maine High School Assessment (MHSA)

In 11th grade, students take the Maine High School Assessment (MHSA), which is a combination of the SAT college entrance exam plus math and science questions based on Maine’s academic content standards. The SAT tests students in critical reading, writing and math. SAT scores and the augmented math (Math-A) and MHSA science scores are reported separately.

What do the NECAP, MEA and MHSA Test Scores Mean?

For the NECAP, students will receive scores in one of four achievement levels for each subject area tested:

  • Proficient with Distinction
  • Proficient
  • Partially Proficient
  • Substantially Below Proficient

For the MEA, students receive one of four scores on the science test:

  • Exceeds standards
  • Meets standards
  • Partially meets standards
  • Does not meet standards

NECAP and MEA test scores do not determine if a student will be promoted to the next grade or held back. Likewise, graduating from high school is not dependent on a student’s MHSA test scores. However, SAT scores are important for admission to college and to be considered for scholarships.

Preparing for Maine’s NECAP, MEA and MHSA Tests

For general tips on test preparation, please visit our standardized test overview page. The real preparation for the NECAP, MEA and MHSA and all standardized tests that assess a wide range of fundamental skills, is to steadily build and master skills in math, reading and writing fundamentals.

Parents can help students succeed in school by making a special effort to get involved in their children’s education. You should ensure your children are doing their homework every night and reading and writing on a daily basis. In addition, families can hire tutors or use online learning programs such as Time4Learning and Time4Writing to supplement their children’s schoolwork and help to build fundamental skills.

To help your children prepare for state standardized tests such as Maine’s NECAP, MEA and MHSA, you can enroll your children in a test prep program or buy books to help them become familiar with test formats and terminology, to learn test-taking strategies (when to guess, when not to), to become comfortable with time restrictions, and to practice answering different types of questions.

For instance, when a reading passage is followed by comprehension questions, many test prep programs teach students to scan the questions prior to reading the passage so that they can pay special attention to the areas addressed by questions.

Most states release copies of tests or sample test questions from previous years. Parents can use these released test questions as resources to help students practice test skills and students can spend the majority of their time reviewing the key concepts within the sample test questions.

Time4Learning is not a test prep program; instead, it is a program that builds the skills that will be tested.

Time4Learning is a new approach that takes advantage of today’s technology. It’s a convenient, online home education program that combines learning with fun educational teaching games.

The online language arts and math curriculum comprise a comprehensive program for preschool, elementary school, and middle school. Science and social studies programs are provided as a free bonus for most grades.

Kids like using the computer to learn and to develop their skills. Time4Learning’s educational teaching games give students independence as they progress at their own pace.

Parents like that it tracks progress and helps kids advance by teaching through individualized learning paths that assure mastery of the skills and concepts that makes kids succeed.

Have a child with math and reading skills at different grade levels? No problem, just tell us in the online registration process.

Time4Learning is proven effective, has a low monthly price, and provides a money-back guarantee so you can be sure that it works for your family, risk free!

For more information or resources on the NECAP, MEA and Maine education, visit:
Maine Department of Education
Maine Homeschooling Information
Maine State Parent Forum

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