U.S. Department of Education to Host Second in a Series of Public Meetings on Race to the Top Assessment Program Implementation

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The U.S. Department of Education will convene the second in a series of public meetings to provide technical assistance and support to the two consortia of states awarded grants under the Race to the Top Assessment program—the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). The meeting will be held in Chicago, Ill. on June 10 and will bring together an invitational panel of experts along with representatives from PARCC and SBAC to discuss the use of automated scoring in the new assessment systems being developed by grantees. The two consortia will discuss the challenges and opportunities afforded by the use of automated scoring with a small panel of invited experts. The meeting will be open to the public and there will be an opportunity for public comments following the panel discussion.

The $350 million Race to the Top Assessment program, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), is intended to develop new assessment systems aligned with the common core standards. The standards, initiated by governors and chief state school officers, were developed based on the skills students need to graduate from high school ready for success in college and careers and were finalized in summer 2010. Since then, 41 states and the District of Columbia (DC) and have adopted the standards. PARCC and SMARTER Balanced, which together comprise 45 states plus DC, are dedicated to building new comprehensive assessments in English language arts and mathematics in grades 3 through 8 and high school that will be operational as early as the 2014-2015 school year.

"The success of the consortia in developing these next-generation assessment systems is critical to improving the quality of our nation's education system. They will give results throughout the school year—not just at the end of the year when it's too late for a teacher to intervene and help students who are falling behind," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "The feedback and input we receive from consortia members and recognized experts during these meetings will help ensure we meet our goals."

Funding to support the RTTA public meetings is provided by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The first meeting was held April 15 on state and local technology infrastructure needed to support the new assessment systems. A third meeting in the series has been scheduled for Wednesday, August 10 in Washington, DC and will address how to fully include students with disabilities and English language learners in the RTTA assessment systems. Additional information on the third meeting will be available when details are finalized. Discussion topics at future meetings may include achievement standards, setting and performance level descriptors, and the selection of a uniform growth model consistent with test purpose, structure, and intended uses.

The June 10 meeting will be held at the Hilton Suites Chicago/Oak Brook from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. CDT. To register, please go to http://usdoedregistration.ed.gov/profile/web/index.cfm?PKWebId=0x6289dad If you have problems accessing the registration site, contact [email protected].