Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dear STAR ARP member...

A previous post mentioned the suspension of the CDE's Assessment Review Panels. These are groups of educators and industry professionals who review and assess items intended for inclusion on upcoming STAR tests. ARPs approve or disapprove items based on science content and alignment to content standards. I am a member of the Science ARP.

Suspension of the ARPs represents a discontinuation of a significant quality control component of the STAR tests. I can say that ARP sessions are lively and spirited. Disagreements are not always resolved to everyone's liking. But significant and quality work is done in these sessions.

Without ARP action, there exists the potential for a decline in the quality of items on future STAR tests.

Dear STAR Assessment Review Panel member:

We appreciate your commitment to the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program, despite the challenges many of you are facing within your own districts. Thank you for the time and expertise you have contributed over the years to the review of the assessments that make up the STAR family of programs.

As you are aware, the state is facing serious fiscal challenges. The California Department of Education (CDE) was required to reduce planned expenditures for the 2009-10 fiscal year. The approved expenditure plan includes the elimination of “the external bias and sensitivity and content reviews” for the STAR Program. The CDE and ETS are committed to maintaining the current level of rigor across all STAR tests. We are exploring no or low-cost alternatives for holding a new-item review Assessment Review Panel (ARP) meeting. Should we be able to schedule such a meeting, we will notify you.

In the meantime, all STAR ARP meetings have been suspended for the remainder of the 2009 cycle. We regret the short notice you are receiving on this matter.

On behalf of the State Board of Education, CDE, and ETS, thank you for your dedicated
service to the STAR Program.

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