P.O. BOX 2120



November 21, 2008



Division Superintendents



Patricia I. Wright

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Nominations for the 2009 Bias/Sensitivity Review Committees


The Office of Assessment Development is accepting nominations for the 2009 Bias/Sensitivity Review Committees. Fifteen members are needed for each of the four EOC content areas: English, mathematics, science, and history/social science. The bias/sensitivity committee members review test items for stereotypical content or terms that might be offensive to any gender, ethnic, religious, political, age, or socio-economic group. The schedule for these committees is as follows:


English July 27-30

Mathematics July 27-28

History/Social Science July 27-28

Science July 27-28

Each school principal will be mailed a recruitment poster. We ask that the recruitment poster be displayed prominently in the school building. School divisions are encouraged to nominate one or more representatives for each bias/sensitivity committee.


Bias/sensitivity committee members will be chosen based on the following criteria:


       in-depth knowledge of the SOL;

       instructional/supervisory experience with students of varied learning styles, abilities, and aptitudes, including students with disabilities and students with limited English proficiency; and

       balanced regional representation.

Committee members selected for the 2009 Bias/Sensitivity Review will be expected to:


       sign a Non-Disclosure/Conflict of Interest Agreement;

       participate in the committee meetings scheduled by the Virginia Department of Education;

       examine test items for stereotyping regarding gender, ethnic, religious, political, age, or socio-economic group;

       determine if test items are fair to all students who have taken a particular course in Virginia schools, regardless of the student's gender, ethnicity, religion, or socio-economic status; and

       review data to determine if students of different groups perform differently and identify possible reasons for differential performance.


Committee members will be provided the following:


       reimbursement for meals and travel expenses in accordance with state travel policy and guidelines;


       honorarium of $100 per meeting day for committee members not under contract with a school division at the time of meeting; and

       certificate for recertification points (pending local approval).


All individuals who wish to serve on the 2009 bias/sensitivity review committees, including those who have previously served, must complete the Web-based application. The Web-based application process requires a professional reference and approval from the division superintendent or designee. Procedures for submitting the Web-based application are available at Completed applications are due to the Virginia Department of Education through the Web-based submission process by January 30, 2009.


If you have questions, please contact the Office of Assessment Development at or by phone at (804) 225-2918.


Your continued support of this effort is greatly appreciated.