The recent repeal of Maine’s local education assessment requirement was met with mixed reactions ranging from relief to outrage. That there were such differing responses points to the fact that “assessment” in education is understood in diverse and sometimes contradictory ways. In this article, Rebecca Berger looks retrospectively at how the problems associated with implementing Maine’s local assessment system (LAS) were caused by a lack of understanding of important aspects of assessment as it relates to standards-based reform in education. Using examples from her case study of one Maine school district, Berger notes three areas of ongoing concern: lack of capacity at state and local levels to implement change; problems with alignment of curricula and assessments; and competing priorities among current federal and state reforms. Berger concludes with advice for Maine policymakers as they consider future standards-based reform efforts.

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