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Systems for State Science Assessment
The model should include a variety of mechanisms for involving teachers in the design and development of the assessment system, both to help the assessment system function well, and to help the teachers learn how to use the assessment system to improve their instructional practices. The design team should consider ways in which teachers can participate in item writing, item review, scoring, and other assessment development activities. In describing these plans, the design team should outline the ways in which teachers would be trained to participate in these activities.
The model should include plans for ensuring that teachers and administrators are fully informed about the assessment system—the content and skills evaluated, the means for evaluating mastery of these skills, and the ways results are reported. Details should be included for ways to provide professional development activities that educate teachers and administrators about how best to prepare students for the assessment, understanding assessment results, and using them to make instructional decisions.
Including and Accommodating Students with Special Needs
In developing its model, the design team should keep in mind that a primary objective of NCLB is to include all students in the assessment system and should propose ways for accomplishing this objective. The discussion should include procedures for developing assessments so as to reduce the need for accommodations, e.g., making sure time limits are reasonable, using plain language. In addition, the plan should include discussion of procedures for specifying the kinds of accommodations that should be offered to students with disabilities and English language learners.
Reporting Assessment Results
The design team should develop a plan for reporting assessment results to a wide variety of audiences, including students, parents, teachers, schools, school districts, and states. The proposed model should include examples of reports that are appropriate for each of these audiences. In developing samples of reports, the design team should consider the ways the reported information might be used and develop sample reports that are appropriate, given these uses. The committee is particularly interested in examples of reports that would be useful for teachers and school administrators in planning instructional programs.