State Board appoints SBAC review panel

The State Board of Education Monday appointed 120 educators and parents to review questions on new Common Core-aligned tests.

The panel will meet in Boise Dec. 15 to 18 to review thousands of questions for inclusion in the Idaho Standards Achievement Test by Smarter Balanced. The board also approved a list of 63 committee alternates.

The 2014 Legislature passed a law calling for a group of 30 parents and educators to review the new assessment “for bias and sensitivity” and recommended the State Board revise or eliminate questions they flag.

State Department of Education officials expanded the size of the committee. “Because the committee must review more than 30,000 test questions, 120 people are needed,” the department said in a Sept. 29 news release.

Bias and Sensitivity Committee members represent all regions of the state, and include 65 teachers, 26 parents, 18 administrators and 11 school board members.

Tom Luna
Tom Luna

“It is important, again, this work move forward in a timely fashion,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna said. “This is just one of the necessary steps in giving the new ISAT beginning next spring.”

A complete list of the committee members and alternates is available online (scroll down to TAB 10).

If committee members do not finish their review in December, they will be called back to Boise on Jan. 6 – less than a week before the 2015 legislative session opens.

Education Department officials solicited nominees for the committee this fall and accepted applications through Oct. 30.

Committee members were asked to sign confidentiality agreements, and a contractor will oversee the review process and take steps to ensure the test questions are not disclosed to the public or students.

Alternates will be called in if appointed members are unable to participate in the review process.

Last year, Idaho students took “field test” versions of the ISAT by Smarter Balanced test, and the real assessment will be administered for the first time later this school year.

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