The California Department of Education (CDE) Smarter Balanced Update is a bimonthly e-mail that reports on current and upcoming Smarter Balanced development activities. To join the CDE Smarter Balanced e-mail list, send a blank e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to unsubscribe from the CDE Smarter Balanced listserv, send a blank message to email@example.com.In this issue:
- Smarter Balanced Achievement Level Setting Panels
- Release of New Smarter Balanced Practice Tests
- Smarter Balanced Governing States Approve Career Academic Readiness Frameworks
Smarter Balanced Achievement Level Setting Panels
This fall, K–12 educators, postsecondary educators, parents, and business/community leaders from Smarter Balanced governing states will collaborate to develop common achievement levels that are rigorous, fair, and accurate for each of the Smarter Balanced assessments. Smarter Balanced is recruiting for participants who will contribute to this process of determining proficiency levels. Both the Online and In-Person Panels will participate in activities scheduled for October. Panelists will designate grade level and content area expertise to participate in targeted feedback for specific tests.
Developing achievement levels will occur in a four-stage process:
- The “Online Panel” will be open to the public and allow for broad participation by parents, teachers, school and district administrators, college faculty and administrators, and business/community leaders. The Online Panel will allow a broad spectrum of stakeholders to participate in the process of setting achievement levels. An FAQ and other information are available online for those who register to participate in the Online Panel. The time commitment for each participant is 3 hours. The registration deadline is September 19, and is available at the Online Panelist Registration Web page. [Note: the preceding Web address is no longer valid.]
- The “In-Person Panel” will allow for a group of more than 500 participants, nominated by Smarter Balanced governing states, to engage in a comprehensive review of questions on the assessments and make recommendations for operationalizing common expectations. For grades 3–8, the panel will be composed primarily of content specialists and educators. The high school panels will include higher education faculty in addition to K–12 educators. The California Department of Education is contacting key representatives in Education Associations to provide a list of nominees to be submitted by May 23, 2014. Selected participants will be assigned to a specific segment depending on their content area expertise, experience, and/or grade levels taught. Participants and alternates will receive notification regarding their status of participation by the end of June.
- A “Vertical Articulation Committee” composed of 60 panelists selected from those participating in the in-person workshop will review data and results from both panels and make achievement level recommendations. This step will help ensure a balanced view of achievement and proficiency levels for test-takers from grade 3 through high school.
- Finally, recommendations from the Online Panel, the In-Person Panel, and the Vertical Articulation Committee will be presented to the chief school officers in Smarter Balanced governing states for their consideration and endorsement, in order to establish a common set of achievement levels for mathematics and English language arts/Literacy across grades 3–8 and high school.
Release of New Smarter Balanced Practice Tests
The Smarter Balanced Practice Tests will be updated on May 19, 2014. The current Practice and Training Tests will be replaced by refreshed Practice Tests that more closely mirror the operational assessments. The tests will include new questions and performance tasks. Enhancements also include additional embedded universal tools, designated supports, and accommodations.
- New mathematics features
- Range of item types expected to appear on the operational assessment
- Range of difficulty for a grade level will span from “very easy” to “very difficult”; performance tasks will utilize more open-ended response types to allow students to explain their thinking on complex, real world problems
- Improvements to question wording, format, and directions based on input from experts in content and accessibility and accommodations experts
- New English–language arts features
- New or revised reading and listening passages
- Improvements to wording, format, and directions based on input from experts in content and accessibility and accommodations experts
- Questions that include the range of item types expected to appear on the operational assessment, including matching tables and short-text questions
- Revised scoring rubrics for teacher use
- Usability, accessibility, and accommodations features
- For the math assessment in every grade, glossaries are available in ten languages
- Full stacked Spanish translation
Smarter Balanced Governing States Approve Career Academic Readiness Frameworks
On April 30, 2014, Smarter Balanced governing states endorsed the Career Readiness Frameworks, which provide guidance and information to students, parents, teachers, and counselors as students develop their career and academic goals. The Frameworks were developed by a Career Readiness Task Force that included national experts and representatives from Smarter Balanced member states. There are 16 model frameworks, one for each of the career clusters developed by the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium.
Visit this Web site for more information about the Career Academic Readiness Frameworks (PDF).
Additional information about Smarter Balanced is available on the CDE Smarter Balanced Web page. General questions about the Smarter Balanced assessments should be directed to the CDE California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) Office by phone at 916-445-8765 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.