Science, Education, and Science Education

classroom applications
December 23rd, 2014 by Luann

NBPTS v3.0 Selected Response Item Review: A Trip to The Dark Side

I field-tested the National Board v3.0  AYA Science Constructed Response and  Selected Response Assessment Center components. I was then invited to the Item Review, to happen here:


Know thine enemy, I’d been told. Besides, if I didn’t go check this out, how would I ever be able to comment with credibility on the process?

I went.

After arriving in Austin after midnight, I slept really fast, had a nice hot hotel breakfast, and hopped a shuttle for the meeting center.

The center was clean, neat, office-ish, and not busy aside from 2 other groups of NBCTs doing reviews in their subject areas. I’d have more photos, but the nice man at the desk stopped me as I was about to take a photo of the sign saying, “No unauthorized photos inside building.”  Disclaimer: I was given permission to describe the process, but not content or the test.

Once inside, we were fed a snack and then had about an hour of orientation to the process and the test itself. We got a briefing on equity, including the non-use of gender-specific pronouns. The test had already been vetted by an equity committee, but we were asked to monitor equity as well. We were given another snack and sent to a conference room with two nice Pearson employees, both former science teachers. Both had worked for Pearson for a few years and clearly had learned much about testing validity and reliability. They had all the field test results, complete with p-values and other reliability measures I can’t discuss. I can say that I was comfortable with these data.

Six NBCTs and I, all AYA/Science  – Chemistry, went through the test questions, on at a time. There were a lot of questions. Some were familiar, from my field test. We scrutinized wording, including terms that were either confusing, misleading, and in a few cases, outright incorrect. We had a nice lunch, then worked right up until 5:00PM (I had a plane to catch to be back in school the next day – whew!) I was, as usual, totally impressed with my NBCT colleagues. They were knowledgeable, professional, and a delight to work with, because, well, NBCTs.

There could be no mistakes, bias, misinterpretations, arbitrary answers when we finished. We worked every problem, including all the distractor answers, re-phrased, edited, and vetoed. We considered the field test results. We were heard. I left the process at the end of the (long) day with confidence that this test measures what a high school chemistry teacher should know.  Because I’ve scored, I know that the scoring process is also run professionally, with the utmost validity and reliability.

Am I happy that Pearson won the bid for scoring National Board assessments and the portfolio? No. No, I am not. As a scorer, and now as an item reviewer, I do have respect for the process and do not question any part.

As a tease, the trainer suggested that Component 3, Teaching Practice and the Learning Environment, will have 2 videos. I’ll find out soon, as I’ve been chosen to field test that component, too.


2 Responses to “NBPTS v3.0 Selected Response Item Review: A Trip to The Dark Side”
  1. Jeannine Sieler says

    I am looking for one or two renewal sample papers for aya science. I’ve taught for 33 years as an AP & General Chemistry teacher.
    As a reviewer, do you know where I might find some completed & passing renewal documents that will abide by the NCBT’s requirements, yet help me get this job done just once this time?
    Please advise!

    Jeannine Sieler

    • Hi, Jeannine,
      The Renewal process is generic, applying to every certificate area. In all the reading I’ve done, for all the renewal candidates I’ve facilitated, and in reading as an assessor (for AYA Science only), I’ve never seen 2 PPGs that are alike. To select one as an example would imply that there’s only one right way to be showcase your practice, implying only one right way to grow in your professional practice. That said, I don’t know of any examples that would be “NBPTS-approved.” Over the years, candidates have told me that filling out the chart distributed at workshops is the best way to organize your thoughts about how to showcase your practice. Your professional growth is your own; to compare it to someone else’s is pointless. To compare your growth to the Renewed rubric in the portfolio instructions is very enlightening and satisfying. I’m sorry I can’t help you out with an example. I do know that the reflective act of listing all that you’ve learned and the need it filled for you, your students, and/or your professional community, showing the impact (direct or indirect) on student learning, and reflecting on your work will get the job done 😉 Oh, and follow the submission rules! If you don’t have the chart, let me know and I can send it to you. I think it’s linked in one of my blog posts.

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