Invitation to April 15 Public Meeting on Online Assessments

On Friday, April 15, in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Department of Education (Department) will host the first in a series of public meetings related to the Race to the Top Assessment (RTTA) grants. This first meeting will bring together representatives from the two RTTA consortia and a panel of experts to discuss the state and local technology infrastructure needed to support the new assessment systems being developed by the grantees.

The RTTA program, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, awarded grants to the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), which together include 45 states and the District of Columbia. The consortia are developing comprehensive assessment systems in English language arts and mathematics in grades 3 through 8 and high school aligned to the Common Core State Standards to measure whether students have the knowledge and skills necessary to graduate from high school ready for success in college and careers. For more information on the assessment systems design, please see the approved RTTA applications at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/applicant.html

Both consortia’s assessment designs depend on the use of technology to develop, administer, and score assessments and report assessment results.  The purpose of the meeting will be for PARCC, SBAC, and the Department to better understand the challenges posed by their assessment system design in building the necessary infrastructure and how to create the necessary supports at the state and local level.

The meeting is open to the public, and an opportunity will be provided for members of the public to provide input.  Space is limited, however, so registration is required.  We encourage each organization interested in attending to limit itself to no more than two representatives.  The meeting will be held on Friday, April 15, 2011, from 8 AM to 3 PM at the U.S. Department of Education’s Potomac Center Plaza Auditorium, 550 12th St SW, 10th floor, Washington, D.C.

Registrants should be aware that this is a high-security federal facility and, upon registration, you will be asked to provide citizenship information if you are not a U.S. citizen.  Meeting participants will be required to present a valid form of identification such as driver’s license, passport, or government ID card to enter the building.

To register, go to http://www.mikogroup.com/login.aspx.  You will first be asked to create a quick profile, after which you will be able to register for the meeting.  If you have problems with accessing the registration site, contact Kathie.Nicoletti@MikoGroup.com, (877) 645-6477.  The registration deadline is Friday, April 8.

Future meetings on the RTTA program will include such topics as the use of artificial intelligence scoring of assessments; selection of a uniform growth model consistent with test purpose, structure, and intended uses; innovation in item types and how to leverage technology; and the inclusion of students with disabilities and English language learners.  Funding to support these meetings is provided by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. More information on future meetings will be provided when it is available.