California Educator

March 2015

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• Rank the test items from easiest to hardest on your own in this magazine or online at • Discuss the ranking with colleagues, and reach agreement with them. • You're invited to review the sixth-grade math Achievement Level Descriptors ( achievement-levels) and see how they match these test items. Good luck! DIRECTIONS: RANKING: easiest hardest The second in an ongoing series Assess your knowledge of assessments This month: Determining achievement levels (cut scores) A T A S E R I E S O F educator and stakeholder meetings (which included California educators), participants reviewed Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test items, rank- ing them from easiest to hardest as part of the work to create performance recommendations (or cut scores). Cut scores determine if a student meets the goal of being proficient. Three educator and stakeholder panels — for grades 3-5, grades 6-8, and grade 11 — were divided into English language arts and mathematics. Working in these grade level and subject area groups, the panels reviewed field test items and ranked them. Ultimately, their recommendations became the thresh- olds of four achievement levels (Levels 1-4), which were based on the knowledge and skills of students needed to achieve each of the Achievement Level Descriptors (ALDs). The CTA Assessment and Testing Committee did the same thing as part of the process for developing six recommenda- tions that were presented to and passed by State Council in January (see the February Educator). They reviewed and ranked questions from the sixth-grade math practice test, and had rich conversations about s t u d e n t a c h i e v e m e n t a n d performance levels. Based on those conversations and learnings, they proposed that the State Board of Education change the SBAC cut scores because they are not aligned with California state stan- dards and will therefore misrepresent student achievement. Now, you are invited to experience the same process by ranking these questions per the directions, and discussing the results with your colleagues. At the next State Council meeting in April, the committee members will review the test items for each level and see if they match with the ALDs. You are welcome to do that, too. Next month, we'll reveal how the committee members ranked these test items. Can parents opt their children out of state- mandated testing? In case you're asked, you can find the answer, provided by CTA's legal team, at Assessment Learning 42

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