The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced) recently convened two advisory committees to address the needs of English language learners (ELL) and students with disabilities. Comprised of national experts in student assessment, accommodations strategies, language acquisition, and learning disabilities, these panels provide feedback to Smarter Balanced staff, work groups, and contractors to ensure that the assessments provide valid, reliable, and fair measures of student achievement and growth toward college and career readiness.
Bridget Dalton Barbara Ehren
International Reading Association (IRA) member Richard Durán, PhD from the University of California at Santa Barbara was selected for the English Language Learners Advisory Committee.
IRA members Bridget Dalton, EdD from the University of Colorado at Boulder; Barbara Ehren, EdD from the University of Central Florida; and Martha L. Thurlow from the University of Minnesota sit on the Students with Disabilities Advisory Committee. Ehren contributed to an article in Reading Today and on Reading Today Online entitled "Marinak and Ehren Discuss Shared Responsibility for Literacy Aquisition."
A full list of committee members is available on the Smarter Balanced website.
The committees met for day-long sessions in Denver and Chicago to discuss the Consortium’s approach to item development, accommodations and accessibility review, validity, and translation. The advisory committees will continue to collaborate with Smarter Balanced through the end of 2012 supported by grant funding provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Smarter Balanced is also coordinating with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) on issues involving English language learners.
In addition to the advisory committees, a state-led Accessibility and Accommodations Work Group focuses on ensuring the assessments are designed to meet the needs of special student populations. As part of the development of accessibility and accommodations policies, Smarter Balanced commissioned two literature reviews of existing research on assessing English language learners and students with disabilities. These documents are available on a new webpage devoted to under-represented students.