Recruiting for Smarter Balanced In-Person Achievement Level-Setting Process

We are looking to recruit participants for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium In-Person Panel charged with recommending Achievement Levels for Grade 11, setting common expectations for student readiness/proficiency on the assessment. Participants in the Panel will make recommendations about the minimum test scores they believe to be necessary for a student to be considered performing at each of the defined Achievement Levels on the Smarter Balanced assessments. (For more details about the achievement levels, see the Smarter Balanced web site.)

The process of setting Achievement Levels will rely on the expertise and professional judgment of participants in order to develop performance standards that are rigorous, fair and accurate. The recommendations will be based on Achievement Level Descriptors written and approved by Smarter Balanced Governing States last year (with extensive input from higher education faculty), the claims and targets defined for each content area and grade level, as well as educators’ expertise in their content area and experience with students in their classrooms.

Participants in this panel will not set the final operational scores. A “Vertical Articulation Committee” will make recommendations to the chief school officers in Smarter Balanced Governing States using a variety of information sources. These sources will include the recommendations of the In-Person Panel, recommendations from an Online Panel which will engage in a similar – but less comprehensive – process as the In-Person Panel, and external assessment information. Acceptance of recommended scores is subject to existing approval processes within individual states.

The In-Person Panel will take place October 13–19, 2014, at a location to be determined, with the first three days of this panel (October 13–15) will be devoted to establishing Achievement Level recommendations for Grade 11. The Grade 11 recommendations will then be considered as teams develop Achievement Level recommendations for earlier grades.

Washington has been asked to nominate 10-12 higher education participants (5-6 each for math and English), of which 6 (3 per discipline) will be selected for the panel.  Please let me know by Friday, May 16 if you are interested in being considered as one of our nominees; if you are included on the nominee list we submit, I will then send you a link to an online registration form to complete by Friday, May 23.  Smarter Balanced will then select higher education representatives for the final panel from among the nominations submitted. The distribution of participants will represent a balance of states, content areas, institution types, and other relevant factors. You will be notified by Smarter Balanced about panel selections in June.

Smarter Balanced will pay for travel, lodging, meals, and other allowable expenses for all participants. An honorarium may be provided as applicable.

If you have any questions feel free to email me or call me (360-704-4346 office, 360-528-1809 cell); take care!

Bill Moore, State Board for Community & Technical Colleges

Director, Core to College Alignment

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2 thoughts on “Recruiting for Smarter Balanced In-Person Achievement Level-Setting Process

  1. How does anyone who is as smart about assessment as Bill Moore get mixed up with an outfit like Smarter Balanced? All they want is to mount as inexpensive (and reductive) a test as possible, and they want our participation in order to claim that they consulted all the stakeholders.

    Here’s a suggestion: refer Smarter Balanced to http://www.learningconnections.org/clc/hecb.htm, where they’ll find the state’s existing definitions of college readiness in English and Science. Let ’em test for those.

    1. There’s a much longer answer to your question, Bill, but I’ll save that for offline and would be happy to have a follow-up conversation with you on the subject. The short version is that Smarter Balanced is a multi-state consortium building a sophisticated assessment system for the purposes of assessing the Common Core State Standards and replacing the current testing system employed by K-12 for federal accountability purposes. I’m not sure what’s reductive about the platform, test blueprints, and achievement level descriptors developed by and openly available from Smarter Balanced, beyond the inherent limitations of any assessment built for use as a large-scale, and potentially high-stakes, school and student accountability measure. Evne with those limitations, though, it’s far less reductive than what most states, including Washington, use currently, more nuanced and robust in its approach and its standard reporting than the current placement tests used in the community and technical colleges, and will cost about the same overall as what Washington K-12 is currently spending on assessment (it will cost students and higher education nothing as it is funded by the K-12 system). I think the Washington work we did on standards in math, English and science was very solid work (with a lot of connection between that work and what is in the Common Core and the Next Generation Science Standards); the reality is that no assessments were ever funded or implemented (beyond the College Readiness Math Test, a far more reductive test than Smarter Balanced), and no curricular materials or teacher supports were ever provided at any scale to address those standards. What the Common Core and Smarter Balanced represent to is a way to actually address the serious issues of implementation at scale in a way that has the potential for addressing student equity issues, not just within Washington but across the country, and to utilize effectively the advantages of having 40+ states involved in Common Core together and 20+ states involved in Smarter Balanced together–in an open, transparent, and jointly-managed consortium. Anyway, that’s the short version :-); I’d be happy to go on at greater length if you want to chat about it sometime…

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