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Maine Students' Proficiency in Math and English Lagging

LEWISTON, Maine - Most of Maine's students are performing at grade level in science, but far fewer are proficient in Math and English, according to new statewide assessment data.

Newly released numbers from the Maine Department of Education show that last year, only about 38 percent of students rated as proficient in math on Maine's statewide assessment test. Fifty-one percent were at or above grade level in English and 61 percent met the state benchmark in science.

On the surface, the numbers look similar to the prior year. However, state officials caution that this year's results can't be easily compared to the past. That's because in 2015, schools began using a new assessment, called emPowerME. That replaced 2014's Smarter Balanced test, which educators and parents said was often unresponsive and difficult to use.

Many of the top-performing school districts this year were in the Portland area, including schools in Falmouth, Yarmouth and Cape Elizabeth.