P.O. BOX 2120



November 18, 2005



Division Superintendents



Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Nominations for the 2006 Standards of Learning Assessments End-of-Course Content Area Bias/Sensitivity Review Committees


The Division of Assessment and Reporting is accepting nominations for membership on the 2006 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, history and social science, and science. The bias/sensitivity 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. The schedule for these committees is as follows:


English July 31 August 2

Mathematics July 31 August 1

History and Social Science July 31 August 1

Science July 31 August 1

The committee selection process permits a partial rotation of membership on an annual basis. This rotation provides an opportunity for more teachers to contribute to the bias/sensitivity review process of the SOL assessments while retaining the experience and knowledge of veteran committee members.


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


       training and experience 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 2006 SOL Assessments EOC Content Area Bias/Sensitivity Review will be expected to:


       serve a one-year term with the option of applying for a second term in 2007;

       sign a Non-Disclosure/Conflict of Interest Agreement;

       participate in one committee meeting scheduled by the Virginia Department of Education;

       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 whether items are to be included in the test item bank.


Committee members will be provided the following:


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


       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 will be available February 1-28, 2006.


All applicants who have previously served on these committees must also complete the Web-based application. The Web-based application process will still require two professional references and approval from the division superintendent. Procedures for submitting the Web-based application process will be posted at by February 1, 2006.


You are invited to nominate one distinguished educator in your division for each of the four bias/sensitivity committees. Completed applications are due to the Virginia Department of Education via the Web-based submission process by February 28, 2006.


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.