Monday, September 14, 2009

Assessment Review Panel on hold for now

Details have not yet been fully disclosed, but the California Department of Education's Assessment Review Panel appears to have been... dismantled? put on the back-burner? placed on hiatus?

The ARP reviews potential test items for the STAR program's CSTs. ARP members are appointed by the State Board of Education and serve as an advisory panel regarding California Standards Tests. I have served on the Science ARP for several years now and have done my best to see to it that only the best items get used on our state's tests, especially the CST for 9-12 Physics.

The panel convenes about four times each year to look at new items, review field-tested items, review the upcoming operational forms, and to help determine the next items to be published as Released Test Questions.

In September, the ARP typically reviews the upcoming operational form to make sure it's everything the CDE hopes it will be. In October, the ARP helps determine what will be in the next round of RTQs.

Both of those meetings have been canceled "due to budget cuts," according to a spokesperson for Educational Testing Services. ETS currently holds the contract to develop the CSTs.

The ARP was one element on CST quality control. One is given to wonder what consequences might be visited upon CSTs and RTQs if the benefit of the ARP's counsel is removed from the process.

More details to come, or so I'm told.

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