P.O. BOX 2120



November 19, 2004



Division Superintendents



Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Nominations for the 2005 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 2005 Standards of Learning Assessments End-of-Course Content Area Bias Review Committees. Fifteen 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 terms that might be offensive to any particular gender, ethnic, religious, political, age, or socio-economic group. School divisions are encouraged to nominate at least one representative for each of the bias committees.


The committee selection system allows for 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 bias review 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 2005 Standards of Learning Assessments End-of-Course Content Area Bias Review will be expected to:


       serve a one-year term with the option to apply for a second- or third-year term in 2006;

       sign a Non-Disclosure/Conflict of Interest Agreement;

       participate in one (two-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-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;

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

       recommend test items determined to be fair to be included in the test item bank.


Members of the committees 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 meeting; and

       certificate for recertification points.


Individuals may initiate the application process for the 2005 End-of-Course Content Area Bias Review Committees or may be nominated. In either case, all nominees must complete an application. Nominees who have served on bias committees previously for one or two years will only need to complete certain pages of the application. Nominees who have served three consecutive years must begin a new cycle by completing all pages of the application. All applicants 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, 2005.


If you have questions, please contact Ronald Sutton, assessment specialist, Division of Assessment and Reporting, at

or by phone at (804) 225-2913.


Your continued support of this effort is greatly appreciated.