Friday, April 20th, 2012
SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC)
Update from the California Department of Education (CDE)
Issue 17 (Week beginning Monday, April 16, 2012)
SBAC CDE News
· Technology Readiness Data Collection
· A New Study on the Accuracy of Automated Scoring Technology to be Released
· Request For Proposal (RFP) for Test Administration Released to Vendors
· RFP for a Sustainability Task Force Consultant Released to Vendors
The SBAC CDE weekly update is an email sent each week to inform California educators and parents of new developments and upcoming events. Please feel free to share information in the update with those who are interested in the SBAC CDE’s work.
· Technology Readiness Data Collection— The California statewide Technology Readiness data collection window is now open and will close on June 14, 2012. This tool will help identify how ready schools are to support a system of online assessments. To make the first data collection window effort as easy as possible, CDE worked with over 38 pilot districts in each of the eleven California service regions to test the system to provide CDE feedback and suggestions for improving the local educational agencies’ (LEAs) experience with the tool. In order to prepare for the first statewide data collection window beginning on April 16, a list of Technology Directors in each district is being generated by CDE with the help of the Technology and Telecommunications Steering Committee, a subcommittee of the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association. Once the list is updated and confirmed, CDE will be sending an email to Technology Directors in each district across California with information on how to use the Technology Readiness Tool.
· A New Study on the Accuracy of Automated Scoring Technology to be Released— Funded by the Hewlett Foundation, the Automated Student Assessment Prize (ASAP) challenged nine commercial providers of automated essay scoring to approximate the scores of more than 16,000 hand-graded essays from six states. The study found that the software programs achieved virtually identical levels of accuracy as the human graders. An additional competition, with $100,000 in prizes, is open to anyone to develop new automated essay-scoring techniques. The open competition is underway now and scheduled to close on April 30th. Additional information and a link to the research study are available at http://gettingsmart.com/news/automated-essay-scoring-systems-demonstrate-effectiveness/. According to Joe Wilhoft, SBAC Executive Director, “The results of the competition are promising because they indicate that it may be possible to create assessments with a greater emphasis on writing in a cost-effective manner. SBAC intends to make use of automated scoring technologies to the extent practicable for constructed-response items and parts of performance tasks (with back-reading and validation of a sample of items and tasks by teachers). Our hope has always been that automated scoring software would progress to a point where it could be employed to accurately score writing—and that the development of the assessment system would help to push the technology forward. SBAC will continue to monitor the results of the competition and advances in the field as the development of the assessment system continues.”
· RFP for Test Administration Released to Vendors—Proposals are due May 16, 2012 to develop the pilot test and field test, test administrator and test coordinator manuals, produce online training modules to prepare states, districts, and schools to administer the pilot test and field test, provide help desk services, and update administration materials and training for operational testing. The RFP is available at http://www.k12.wa.us/SMARTER/Jobs-Contracts.aspx.
· RFP for a Sustainability Task Force Consultant Released to Vendors—SBAC has released to vendors the Sustainability Task Force RFP for a consultant to provide post-grant options on how states will procure, administer, and maintain the assessment system after the federal grant ends. Proposals are due Thursday, May 17. The RFP is available at http://www.k12.wa.us/SMARTER/Jobs-Contracts.aspx.
SBAC CDE Upcoming Events
Technology Readiness Data Collection Rollout—
· April 16–June 14, Begin Statewide LEAS Data Collection: The statewide data collection window is now open and will close on June 14, 2012. A list of Technology Directors in each district has been generated by CDE with the help of the Technology and Telecommunications Steering Committee, a subcommittee of the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association. Once the list is updated and confirmed, CDE will be sending an email to Technology Directors in each district across California with information on how to use the Technology Readiness Tool. As additional information on the Technology Readiness Tool is made available, we will provide updates on the CDE Web site and through this update. Visit the CDE Web site at http://www.cde.ca.gov/sbac/ to view materials related to the statewide Technology Readiness Tool rollout.
Technology Readiness Reporting—The reporting system for the Technology Readiness Tool will include district reports and the submission status for each school where information has been submitted. The timeline of the availability of the reports is as follows:
SBAC CDE Resources
· Join the SBAC CDE electronic mailing list by sending a blank e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
· To receive Common Core State Standards CDE Updates via e-mail notification, subscribe to the from CDE listserv by sending a blank message to email@example.com.
· SBAC CDE Website—The Smarter Balanced CDE website can be found at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sa/smarterbalanced.asp. The site includes access to archived SBAC CDE Updates, resources, and presentations.
· SBAC External Website—The Smarter Balanced external website can be found at www.smarterbalanced.org. The site showcases the SBAC work and provides frequent updates on activities, milestones, and events.
· SBAC is on Twitter—Follow @SmarterBalanced to get resources and links to the latest SBAC news.
· A survey of more than 10,000 teachers conducted by Scholastic and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation sheds new light on how teachers view key issues in education. Among the interesting findings: Nearly 4 in 5 teachers are aware of the Common Core State Standards. Teachers also report that they need tools and supports to effectively implement the standards, such as professional development, curriculum resources, and formative assessments. The full report is available at http://www.scholastic.com/primarysources/download.asp.
· A list of the parameters collected by the SBAC Information Technology (IT) Readiness Tool for the spring 2012 data collection can be found on the SBAC CDE web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sa/sbac-readiness-params.asp.
· The IT architecture and requirements are available online at http://www.smarterbalanced.org/smarter-balanced-assessments/technology/ (refer to section titled "IT Systems Architecture Reports and Resources").
SBAC Questions/Answers of the Week
Q: How is SBAC defining college and career readiness?
A: SBAC is developing assessments aligned to the full depth and breadth of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Through its member states, and in consultation with the lead standards writers and other national education experts, SBAC is translating the CCSS into assessment targets, test blueprints, and, ultimately, assessment items and performance tasks. SBAC also will establish performance benchmarks that define the level of content and skill mastery that marks students as college- and career-ready. These performance benchmarks will be determined through a deliberative and evidence-based standard-setting process, which will include input from K-12 educators and college and university faculty. Setting performance standards will not occur until 2014 after student data have been collected through pilot and field testing. SBAC has begun the process of translating the standards into assessments, releasing content specifications in ELA/literacy and mathematics and approving the core “claims” about student knowledge and skills that the assessments will seek to measure.