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In the 127th Legislative Session, "An Act to Implement Certain Recommendations of the Maine Proficiency Education Council" (S.P. 660 - L.D. 1627) was passed into law as Chapter 489 amending the chaptered law "An Act to Prepare Maine People for the Future Economy" (S.P.439 - L.D.1422) passed in 2012 requiring Maine school districts to implement proficiency-based diploma requirements and standards-based education systems. The Maine Legislature's Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs has requested for the past five years that the Maine Education Policy Research Institute's (MEPRI) annual work plan include studies designed to compile data, examine progress and explore impacts regarding implementation of this state policy within local institutions and school districts across the state. In 2016-2017, Phase V of this study shifted from the general perceptions and practices of schools and districts implementing proficiency-based high school diploma systems (as explored in Phases I-IV) to the examination of the policy implications within key programs, contexts and populations. This report shares research conducted to examine the alignment of proficiency-based diploma systems with "college" eligibility and admissions requirements as well as identify postsecondary "career" entry requirements and attributes of high quality workers. Findings suggest that most college admissions, scholarship selection and athletic eligibility processes still heavily rely on traditional components, such as grade point average, standardized test scores, course selection and grades. Admissions officers indicated that a precise, informative school profile and clear transcript with student information that could be compared to other applicants was important. Representatives from Maine businesses and professional organizations described high quality entry-level job applicants as dependable and positive with a strong work ethic as well as being adaptable to changing markets or leaders. Employers said that they expected high school graduates to demonstrate a common level of basic literacy in reading, writing, mathematics and technology. Many participants from Maine businesses emphasized that their organizations needed employees who understood local as well as global economic systems and demonstrated collaboration in a team-oriented environment in addition to solid communication skills. Four appendixes are included: (1) College Access (Part I) Interview Protocol; (2) Post-Secondary Institution Admissions Criteria; (3) Career Access (Part II) Interview Protocol; and (4) Maine Employment Data.


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