Achievement Gap – any significant and persistent disparity in academic performance or educational attainment between different groups of students, such as between white students and Black students or high-income students and low-income students.

“At or Above State Expectations” – the cut-off level determined by the Maine Department of Education that indicates proficiency in a subject area based on the state standardized assessments. For a straightforward example, this could be achieving a score of 3 or 4 on a 4-point scale.

College Going Rate – in this report, the percent of high school graduates who enroll in college within one year of graduation.

College Persistence – in this report, the percentage of students enrolled in college who return for a second year.

College Completion – in this report, we measure “college completion” as the percentage of students who graduate within 150% of the normal program time.

Credential of Value – the most common higher education academic credentials are associate, bachelor’s, and graduate degrees. Additional U.S. postsecondary credentials include thousands of different certificates, industry certifications, licenses, and badges. A credential of value is a credential that prepares an individual with the knowledge and skills necessary to participate in the workforce and be successful in life after high school.

Economically Disadvantaged – also sometimes referred to as “low-income,” this status is determined by a student’s eligibility for the Free or Reduced-Price Lunch program. The most recent guidelines by income level and household size can be found here. Broadly, this program is available to households with incomes at or below 185% of the federal poverty level, which was $46,435 for a family of four during the 2018-2019 school year.

Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) – a yearly, statewide standardized assessment measuring student performance across a number of subjects and grades. For more information about the MEA, see here.

Multilingual Learner – In this report, the term multilingual learners is used instead of “English learners” to more accurately reflect the linguistic diversity of students who have a primary or home language other than English and are in the process of acquiring English language skills.  For more information about Multilingual Learners in Maine, click here.

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) – a national student assessment in a number of subjects conducted yearly on a sample of students from each state. The original Education Indicators report used NAEP data to track progress toward the goals set for 2019 and compare the performance of Maine students to the national average. Beginning with the 2019 report, we switched to highlighting Maine Educational Assessment data, for which results are based on the full population of Maine students rather than a sample.

Opportunity Gap – the difference in access to resources based on race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, English proficiency, community wealth, family composition, or other factors that may lead to differential educational outcomes for certain groups of students

Race/Ethnicity – Schools collect information on students’ race/ethnicity from parents or guardians at the start of each school year. Race/ethnicity categories traditionally used for state reporting to the U.S. Department of Education are as follows:

  • American Indian or Alaska Native
  • Asian/Pacific Islander (this includes Asians from the Indian subcontinent, the Philippines, Native Hawaiians, and Other Pacific Islanders)
  • Black or African American
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • White (including Middle Eastern Origin)
  • Two or More Races

Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) – a college entrance examination that Maine students take in 11th grade. This is the basis for reporting on student achievement and proficiency levels in high school.

Regarding the achievement gap vs. the opportunity gap:

Generally speaking, the opportunity gap refers to inputs—the unequal or inequitable distribution of resources and opportunities—while the achievement gap refers to outputs—the unequal or inequitable distribution of educational results and benefits.

A number of these definitions were adapted from GDP’s Glossary of Education Reform. For detailed definitions on an extensive list of terms used in education, see Great Schools Partnership’s Glossary of Education Reform:



Educate Maine wishes to thank the following individuals, organizations, and businesses that have helped guide the development of the Education Indicators for Maine 2023 website:

Education Indicators Advisory Committee: 

  • Duke Albanese, Senior Policy Advisor, Great Schools Partnership
  • Cherie Galyean, Director, Strategic Learning, Maine Community Foundation 
  • Ayesha Hall, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Maine Department of Education 
  • Joseph Hennessey, 2019 Maine Teacher of the Year and English Teacher at Greenville Consolidated School 
  • Dr. Jason Judd, Executive Director, Educate Maine
  • Colleen Quint, CEO/President, Alfond Scholarship Foundation
  • Dr. Flynn Ross, Associate Professor of Teacher Education, University of Southern Maine

Research and writing for the 2023 Education Indicators Report was led by Kaitlin Young. The following individuals made important contributions to data collection, design, and communication: Katherine Johnston, Jason Judd, Cassidy Parmley, Rob Dietz, and all of the individuals at state agencies who provided important data relevant to Maine students and schools.

This report is supported by the generous contributions of the MELMAC Education Foundation, the Maine Community Foundation, the Maine Health Access Foundation, and the Nellie Mae Education Foundation.