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Committee reviews more than 33,000 test questions

The Aberdeen Times of Aberdeen, Idaho

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Nearly 80 Idahoans came to Boise December 15-19 to review over 33,000 IS AT by Smarter Balanced test questions looking for possible bias or sensitivity issues. Idaho Code 33-134 requires that the Bias and Sensitivity Committee is authorized to make recommendations to the State Board of Education and the State Department of Education to revise or eliminate questions from state assessments.

As required under the law, the Bias and Sensitivity Committee was made up of teachers, parents, administrators and school board members representing 42 cities from across the Gem State. The goal of the committee was to identify and flag ISAT test questions that may contain controversial or sensitive subject matter including but not limited to stereotyping, sexuality, dangerous activities, political agendas, regionalism or religion.

Each question went through a series of reviews. During Round One, each item was reviewed by at least three committee members. Any items flagged as inappropriate by two or more committee members went to a smaller committee of 30 to be reviewed again. During Round Two of the review process, all 91 multi-flagged items were reviewed by the committee of 30 and items which were flagged by 1/3 of this group moved to Round Three. After the second review by the committee of 30, nineteen questions, nine English/Language Arts and ten Math moved to the Committee of 30 for further discussion.

During Round Three, the 19 items were openly discussed by the Committee of 30. After the group discussion of the items, Committee members voted to determine if the test question was to be recommended to the Board using a 2/3 majority.

A detailed and final report will be available upon the conclusion of the January Board meeting.

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Original Publication Date: January 14, 2015

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