SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 3
January 23, 1998
|FROM:||Richard T. La Pointe
Superintendent of Public Instruction
|SUBJECT:||Potential Changes to the Stanford 9 Test Administration|
At the January 8, 1998 Board of Education meeting, the Department of Education was directed to study the feasibility, costs, legal, and contractual aspects of moving the administration of the Stanford 9 Achievement Test from the spring to fall and to grades other than 3, 5, 8 and 11. The request is in response to concerns expressed by educators in the field regarding the amount of testing students participate in during the spring of the school year. The purpose of the enclosed questionnaire is to provide you with an opportunity to express your views on this issue. Assessment plays a critical role in the instructional program by providing information to direct student remediation, guide instructional planning, and inform program evaluation. Norm-referenced testing provides a valuable source of information about how an individual student, a group of students, a school and a school division or state is performing compared to a national sample of students. The Stanford 9 Achievement Test provides such information in Virginia. The new Standards of Learning (SOL) tests provide a different type of information. The SOL tests are specific to Virginia's learning standards and provide information directly related to the instruction taking place in the classrooms of the Commonwealth. At issue is how to balance the administration of these two assessments. Virginia currently tests students in grades 3, 5, 8 and 11 with the Stanford 9 Achievement Test between April 1 and April 30. SOL testing is scheduled for the same general time period for grades 3, 5, 8, and selected high school credit courses. The Stanford test edition adopted by the state allows for using existing test booklets and answer materials with fall norms for a fall administration at grades 4, 6, and 9. Further, the Stanford test edition currently administered in the spring to grade 11 students may also be administered to grade 11 or grade 12 students in the fall. The shift would be at relatively little cost as compared to moving the test administration to a grade level that would require the purchase of new test booklets and other materials. The Board has asked that the Department provide information from a variety of audiences about concerns related to assessment such as test administration dates, grade levels tested, the possibility of testing only a sample of students rather than entire grade levels and the testing of home-instructed students. To assist in this effort, please complete the enclosed questionnaire and return it to the Department of Education, Division of Assessment and Reporting, no later than Wednesday, February 4, 1998. Responses may be mailed to the Division of Assessment and Reporting or faxed to Cameron Harris at (804) 371-8978. CMH/gt Enclosure: A hard copy of this memo and its enclosure will be sent to the superintendent's office.