Tuesday, October 14, 2014

DEPARTMENT SEEKS IDAHOANS TO REVIEW TEST QUESTIONS

The State Department of Education is seeking 120 Idahoans to review test questions for the spring Idaho Standards Achievement Tests by Smarter Balanced.

Educators, parents, and school board members are encouraged to apply. The review will take place December 15 to December 19. Participants must commit to being in Boise during those dates and available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If the committee does not finish, participants may be asked to return to Boise January 6 to January 8, 2015.

The committee, known as the Bias and Sensitivity Committee, was created by the Idaho Legislature in 2014 through Idaho Code 33-133. The committee consists of a minimum of 30 people from six regions of the state. Each region must be represented by a minimum of two parents of a public school or public charter school student, one teacher, one administrator, and one school board member. Because the committee must review more than 30,000 test questions, 120 people are needed. To apply, please fill out the form here: www.surveymonkey.com/s/BiasAndSensitivity Selected committee members will be reimbursed for their travel at the state rate, teachers will also be reimbursed for substitutes. All participants will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement. Applications are due by October 30.

Idaho has been one of the governing states in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium since its inception in 2010. The new assessment will replace the previous ISAT and is aligned to higher standards in English language arts and math. The test moves beyond multiple choice questions to measure critical thinking skills by having students explain their answers and write essays. Idaho fully field tested the new test in the spring of 2014 and is set to give the operational exam in 2015.

The new test has gone through an extensive bias and sensitivity review as part of test development, but Idahoans will have their own opportunity to review questions. Questions flagged by the committee will be presented to the State Board of Education in January, who will determine whether a test question is included on the operational test. Reviews of the questions will be confidential as is standard procedure for a secure assessment.

For more information, please contact Cathy Salas at 208-332-6909 or csalas@sde.idaho.gov

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