P.O. BOX 2120




November 22, 2002



Division Superintendents



Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Request for Nominations for the 2003 Standards of Learning Assessment End-of-Course Content Area Bias Review Committees


The Division of Assessment and Reporting is accepting nominations for membership on the 2003 Standards of Learning Assessments End-of-Course Content Bias Review Committees. Approximately 12-15 members are needed for each of the four end-of-course content areas: English, mathematics, history and social science, and science. The bias committee members are responsible for reviewing test items for stereotyping or non-offensive terms including equity and fairness in regard to any particular gender, ethnic, religious, political, age, or socio-economics groups. School divisions are encouraged to nominate at least one representative for each of the bias committees. Although the bias committee participation is limited to one representative per school division, a school division may have multiple representatives serving on different bias committees.


Over the next three years, a system will be phased-in for implementing a partial rotation of membership on an annual basis. A partial rotation of committee members annually will provide an opportunity for more teachers to contribute to the development of the Standards of Learning assessments while retaining the experience and knowledge of veteran committee members.





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


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

        in-depth knowledge of the Standards of Learning;

        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 2003 Standards of Learning End-of-Course Content Area Bias Review will be expected to:


        serve a one-year term with the option to apply for a second-year term in 2004;

        sign a Non-Disclosure/Conflict of Interest Agreement;

        participate in one (2-3 day) committee meeting in Richmond (see tentative schedule on page 4 in the application packet);

        examine test items for stereotyping regarding any particular gender, ethnic, religious, political, age, or socio-economics groups;

        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-economics status;

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

        recommend test items that are free from bias and eligible to be included in the test item bank.


Bias committees members will be provided the following:


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


        honorarium of $50 per meeting day for committee members not under contract with a school division at the time of meetings; and

        certificate for recertification points.


Individuals may initiate the application process for the 2003 End-of-Course Content Area Bias Review Committees or may be nominated. In either case, all nominees must complete an application; however, bias committee members who served during 2002 will only need to complete certain pages of the application. The applicant must provide two professional references in support of their nomination and obtain approval from the division superintendent. Detailed information is included in the application packet that outlines requirements, provisions, selection criteria, and a prototype of a typical meeting days agenda.

You are invited to identify in your division one distinguished educator for each of the four bias committees and encourage them to apply for this important service. Completed applications are due to the Virginia Department of Education by January 31, 2003.


If you have questions, please contact Lolita B. Hall (, associate director, Division of Assessment and Reporting at (804) 786-9422.


Thank you in advance for your continued support of this effort.