P.O. BOX 2120



November 16, 2007



Division Superintendents



Billy K. Cannaday, Jr.

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Nominations for the 2007-2008 Standards of Learning Assessments End-of-Course Content Area Bias/Sensitivity Review Committees


The Office of Assessment Development is accepting nominations for the 2007-2008 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 content 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 28-31

Mathematics July 28-29

History and Social Science July 28-29

Science July 28-29

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:


       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 2008 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;


       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).


All individuals who wish to serve on the 2008 SOL assessment bias/sensitivity review committees, including those who have previously served, must complete the Web-based application. The Web-based application process requires a professional reference and approval from the division superintendent or designee. Procedures for submitting the Web-based application are available at


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, 2008.


If you have questions, please contact the Office of Assessment Development at or by phone at (804) 225-2918.


Your continued support of this effort is greatly appreciated.