COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

P.O. BOX 2120

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

SUPTS. MEMO NO. 245

November 17, 2006

INFORMATIONAL

TO:

Division Superintendents

 

FROM:

Billy K. Cannaday, Jr.

Superintendent of Public Instruction

 

SUBJECT:

Nominations for the 2007 Standards of Learning Assessments End-of-Course Content Area Bias/Sensitivity Review Committees

 

The Division of Assessment and Reporting is accepting nominations for the 2007 Standards of Learning (SOL) Assessments End-of-Course (EOC) Content Area Bias/Sensitivity Review Committees. Fifteen members are needed for each of the four EOC content areas: English, mathematics, science, and history/social science. The bias/sensitivity committee members review test items for stereotypical contents or terms that might be offensive to any gender, ethnic, religious, political, age, or socio-economic group. The schedule for these committees is as follows:

 

English July 30 August 1

Mathematics July 30-31

History and Social Science July 30-31

Science July 30-31

Each school principal will be mailed recruitment posters. We ask that the recruitment posters be displayed prominently in the school building. School divisions are encouraged to nominate one or more representatives for each bias/sensitivity committee.

 

Bias/sensitivity committee members will be chosen based on the following criteria:

 

       experience and training in issues of stereotyping, equity, and fairness;

       in-depth knowledge of the SOL;

       instructional/supervisory experience with students of varied learning styles, abilities, and aptitudes, including students with disabilities and students with limited English proficiency; and

       balanced regional representation.

Committee members selected for the 2007 SOL Assessments EOC Content Area Bias/Sensitivity Review will be expected to:

 

       serve a one-year term;

       sign a Non-Disclosure/Conflict of Interest Agreement;

       participate in the committee meetings scheduled by the Virginia Department of Education;

       examine test items for stereotyping regarding gender, ethnic, religious, political, age, or socio-economic group;

       determine if test items are fair to all students who have taken a particular course in Virginia schools, regardless of the students gender, ethnicity, religion, or socio-economic status; and

       review data to determine if students of different groups perform differently and identify possible reasons for differential performance.

 

Committee members will be provided the following:

 

       reimbursement for meals and travel expenses in accordance with state travel policy and guidelines;

       lodging;

       honorarium of $100 per meeting day for committee members not under contract with a school division at the time of meeting; and

       certificate for recertification points (pending local approval).

 

Individuals may initiate the application process or be nominated. In either case, all nominees who wish to serve on the SOL assessment bias/sensitivity review committees must complete the Web-based application. The application submission window opens December 4, 2006, and closes on January 31, 2007. All applicants who have previously served on these committees must also complete the Web-based application. The Web-based application process requires a professional reference and approval from the division superintendent. Procedures for submitting the Web-based application process will be available at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/VDOE/Assessment/home.shtml by December 4, 2006.

 

You are invited to nominate one or more distinguished educators in your division for each of the four bias/sensitivity committees. Completed applications are due to the Virginia Department of Education through the Web-based submission process by January 31, 2007.

 

If you have questions, please contact the Division of Assessment and Reporting at darfax@doe.virginia.gov or by phone at (804) 225-2107.

 

Your continued support of this effort is greatly appreciated.

 

BKCJr/SLR/cd