Monday, March 5, 2012

Opportunity to provide feedback: SBAC Item Specifications Released for Third Round of Review

The SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) announced one last opportuity for the public (including teachers and administrators) to review and provide feedback on the SBAC item writing specifications and guidlines. These are documents that SBAC will use to develop test items for the assessment. The review window closes March 16. This gives individuals in our state an excellent opportunity to: further their understanding of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and how it can be assessed; gain insight into the Smarter Balanced assessment system; and be involved and provide feedback into the development process.

All the documents and a review survey are available via the Smarter Balanced Web site. A link to the documents and survey form are posted at Reviews must be completed by March 16.

For your reference, here are some suggestions for the kinds of individuals who might be appropriate to review each of the draft documents.

- Accessibility and Accommodations Guidelines: Teachers, Parents and Specialists for Students with Disabilities and/or English Language Learners or administrators who run programs for these students

- Bias and Sensitivity Guidelines: Individuals interested in the range of student diversity (personal characteristics such as race/ethnicity, disability, religion, etc.)

- ELA Specifications: Teachers, Parents, Educational Organizations, English Department Chairs/Faculty

- Math Specifications: Teachers, Parents, Educational Organizations, Math Department Chairs/Faculty

- Performance Task Specificiations: Both English and Math Chairs/Faculty, Teachers, Parents, Educational Organizations

- Stimulus Speciations: Both English and Math Chairs/Faculty, Teachers, Parents, Educational Organizations

- Style Guide: Editors and publishers of academic materials

- Technology Enhanced Item Specifications: Both English and Math Chairs/Faculty and those working with information technology.

Reviewers who have a familiarity with the CCSS (available at will be best able to provide informed commentary on the ELA, Math, Performance Task and Stimulus Specifications. The Smarter Balanced content specifications (available at are also important background reading for reviews.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

SMARTER Balanced Item Specifications review and feedback opportunity

To: Local Education Agencies staff and teachers
Subject: SMARTER Balanced Item Specifications review and feedback opportunity
Sent on behalf of Measured Progress
Local Education Agencies (LEAs) staff, teachers, and content organizations are invited to review the drafts of the SBAC item specifications and guidelines. The feedback will be captured via a survey hosted by SurveyMonkey.
A significant milestone in the assessment development process for the SMARTER Balanced assessment program is the development of Item Specifications and Guidelines. This is the next logical step in the process after the development of content specifications. The item specifications provide specific guidance to item writers on how to translate the Common Core Standards (as articulated through the SMARTER Balanced Content Specifications) into actual assessment items.
On Thursday, January 26, our contractor Measured Progress and ETS held a webinar to describe the item specifications documents that require state review. This is an iterative process. SMARTER Balanced work group members and K-12 member state leads did an earlier round of review this month and we are now enlarging the circle to include teachers, LEA staff, the vendor community, and others. The revised documents are available currently at (Under the SBAC 04 Showcase 2 header)
We are seeking feedback through an online survey, also available at Feedback on these documents will be due February 9.
As you will see, this is a large collection of information. Here are suggestions for who might be best to review these documents:
  • SBAC-04 Accessibility & Accommodations Specifications (PDF): Directors of Offices for Students with Disabilities or special education specialists; Specialists on English Language Learners or administrators who run programs for these students.
  • SBAC ELA Specifications (PDF): ELA Specialists, coaches, teachers SBAC Math Specifications (PDF): Mathematics Specialists, coaches, teachers.
  • SBAC Performance Task Specifications (PDF): Both ELA and Mathematics Specialists, coaches, teachers.
  • SBAC Stimulus Specifications (PDF): Both ELA and Mathematics Specialists, coaches, teachers.
  • SBAC-04 Style Guide (PDF): Academic specialists in educational measurement (detailed guidance on language use for item writers).
  • SBAC-04 Technology-Enhanced Item Specifications (PDF): Technical audience Showcase 2 Slide Deck (PPT): Provides useful background on the development process for specifications and an introduction to the showcase documents listed above.
  • Showcase 2 Recording (streaming video): A recording of the presentation of the showcase materials.
  • Survey Link (online SurveyMonkey): A survey designed to collect feedback from LEA personnel, teachers, vendors, and others.
Thank you in advance for your efforts to ensure that these assessments benefitfrom the perspectives and expertise of a wide range of individuals. If you have any questions, please contact Linda Bobst at
Thank you,
SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium
Sent on behalf of Measured Progress
WestEd - Project Management Partner

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