Test & Task Bank Overview

The Test & Task Bank is an important component of the Virginia School-University Partnership / The Virginia Consortium for Learning. The goal of the Test & Task Bank is to establish a bank of technology enhanced, constructed response, and multiple-choice items, as well as performance tasks and rubrics, which can be used by VSUP / VaSCL school divisions to provide instructional support for teachers in assessing and remediating students. Only VSUP / VaSCL member school divisions have access to the VSUP /VaSCL Test & Task Bank. Test Bank Items are available through PowerSchool or through ExamView software and Collab, UVA’s on-line computer system. Task Bank Performance Assessments are available through Google Drive Folders.

History and Current Status

The VSUP / VaSCL Test Bank began in the fall of 2007 in response to the need for quality test questions for formative assessments which would help prepare students for the Standards of Learning tests. After focusing initially on Math 6 and Math 7, during the past ten years the Test Item Bank has developed over 12,654 questions in the following subject areas: Grade 3 Reading (754), Grade 4 Reading (584), Grade 5 Reading (673), Grade 3 Math (1247), Grade 4 Math (1138), Grade 5 Math (1135), Grade 6 Math (1121), Grade 7 Math (1024), Grade 8 Math (782), Algebra I (732), Geometry (493), Civics and Economics (604), World History I (361), World History II (280), Grade 3 Science (110), Grade 4 Science (363), Grade 5 Science (487), Grade 6 Science (210), Grade 7/8 (Life) Science (151), and Grade 8/7 (Physical) Science (405). In 2014-2015, the Test Bank was expanded to include Task Bank work groups which focused on writing performance tasks and rubrics for each of the five subjects that the state identified for Alternative Assessments. Training provided at the VSUP Performance Assessment Summer Institute and at VASS PBA Workshops enabled Task Bank work groups to refine the original tasks and rubrics as well as create new performance assessments during 2015-2016 and during 2016-2017, and the VSUP Task Bank now contains tasks and rubrics for Grade 3 Science (6), Grade 5 Writing (11), Grade 3 Social Studies (13), US History I (7), and US History II (9).

During the 2017-2018 school year, the focus of the Test Bank work groups will be to continue to expand the number of Technology Enhanced Items and Constructed Response items, as well as to increase the rigor of traditional multiple choice items for all grades and subject areas in the list above. In addition, Math Work Groups will be preparing all of their items for the transition to new standards. The Task Bank will be adding a new collaborative Grade 6 math/science Work Group, which will work on creating tasks and rubrics that integrate the content of both mathematics and science. The focus of all of the Task Bank work groups in 2017-2018 will be to continue to revise the current performance tasks and rubrics to ensure that they meet the VDOE Guidelines, as well as create additional performance assessments which VSUP / VaSCL divisions can use for Grade 3 Science, Grade 5 Writing, Grade 3 Social Studies, US History I, and US History II. Summer Institute and at VASS PBA Workshops enabled Task Bank work groups to refine the original tasks and rubrics as well as create new performance assessments during 2015-2016 and during 2016-2017, and the VSUP Task Bank now contains tasks and rubrics for Grade 3 Science (6), Grade 5 Writing (11), Grade 3 Social Studies (13), US History I (7), and US History II (9).

Community of Practice

Professional Development is a fundamental part of the VSUP / VaSCL Test & Task Bank. Member school divisions are asked to support this VSUP / VaSCL Community of Practice by providing release time for experienced classroom teachers, curriculum leaders, and instructional specialists in the different subject areas to attend four full-day meetings held in Charlottesville. There is no fee charged by VSUP / VaSCL for participation in these Test and Task Bank meetings. Member divisions are asked to cover only the costs for transportation, lodging, and substitutes (as needed) for their participants. Work Group members in the past have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic about the opportunity to participate in an ongoing professional learning community made up of instructional leaders from across Central Virginia, with whom they can discuss pedagogical challenges and share successful instructional strategies.

Qualifications of Representatives

Representatives are asked to have expertise in their content area, skill in creating multiple choice formative assessments (or performance tasks and rubrics, for alternative assessment subjects), current knowledge of the Standards of Learning for their content area, a working understanding of Bloom’s Taxonomy, a working knowledge of PowerSchool software for item creation (or working knowledge of best practices in creation of performance assessments), an ability to work collaboratively, and a commitment to the process, including their preparation for, attendance at, and active participation in Test & Task Bank Meetings. Member school divisions are asked to register at least two teachers and/or Curriculum Leaders and Instructional Specialists (preferably representing at least two of the different subject areas) who have the knowledge and skills noted above to participate in the four Test & Task Bank Meetings. Divisions are encouraged to register as many participants as they wish. VSUP / VaSCL will be able to accommodate at least four representatives from each division (and more participants will be accommodated if space is available).

Training of Participants

At the first meeting of the year, participants will participate in professional development sessions on how to write high-quality assessments for their subject area. The focus for Test Bank participants will be on writing items which require application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, with a special emphasis on Technology Enhanced Items and Constructed Response Items. During this training session, participants will also explore how specific classroom tasks can encourage the kind of higher-level thinking which students need in order to be successful on more rigorous items on the traditional SOL tests as well as on the performance assessments for Grade 3 Science, Grade 5 Writing, Grade 6 Math/Science, Grade 3 History, US History I, and US History II which will be created for the Task Bank this year.

Process of Creating and Reviewing Assessments

After receiving this initial training at the first meeting, participants are asked to submit at least five items (or a performance task and rubric) that they have created prior to each subsequent meeting. During each meeting, participants work in groups to review and revise these questions (or tasks and rubrics). Each item for the Test Bank is reviewed for quality, content, SOL alignment, and level of difficulty according to Bloom’s Taxonomy, and each task and rubric will be reviewed to be sure they conform to the KUD and SCALE standards, as well as meet new VDOE Guidelines. Three groups of readers approve each assessment prior to its inclusion in the Test & Task Bank, thus insuring that the VSUP / VaSCL Test & Task Bank is an invaluable resource of high-quality items and performance tasks and rubrics which can be used by each VSUP / VaSCL member division.

Meetings of Work Groups

Test & Task Bank meetings will be held from 9:00-3:00 at The Holiday Inn (1901 Emmet Street) in Charlottesville, Virginia. Representatives are asked to make a commitment to attending all four meetings; however, if a conflict arises and they cannot attend a meeting in person, they are asked to submit in advance items (or tasks and rubrics) for review by fellow members of their work group. All four meetings will be held in the first half of the year so that items can be pushed out for use in member divisions early in the spring. Members of the five Task Bank work groups who are creating performance assessments are asked to attend a fifth meeting in March, at which they will use samples of student work collected during field testing in order to make final revisions to their tasks and rubrics.

Schedule of Work Group Meetings

(Emmet Street Holiday Inn, Charlottesville)

  • Wednesday, September 13, 2017
  • Wednesday, October 4, 2017
  • Wednesday, October 25, 2017
  • Wednesday, November 29, 2017
  • Wednesday, December 6, 2017 (Back-Up Date for Inclement Weather)
  • Wednesday, March 14, 2018 (ONLY for Task Bank Participants)
  • Wednesday, March 21, 2018 (Back Up Date for Inclement Weather; ONLY for Task Bank Participants)

Benefits for Participants

In addition to the reward of producing this invaluable resource of high quality items and performance assessments which can be used by their home school or division, participants also benefit from the training and practice they receive in creating rigorous assessments and from the opportunity to participate in a Community of Practice made up of instructional leaders from over sixty school divisions across Central Virginia with whom they can share ideas. In recognition of the time which they put into this professional development activity, participants will receive recertification points equal to the number of hours in attendance at meetings and the number of hours spent creating items (or tasks and rubrics) outside of meetings. Test & Task Bank participants are also encouraged to take advantage of further professional development opportunities by being given a discount on normal VSUP / VaSCL member registration fees if they choose to attend selected VSUP / VaSCL Professional Development Conferences.

Role of Work Group Leads

Work Group Leads for each subject area facilitate the process of creating high-quality Test & Task Bank assessments. At the first meeting of the year, these Work Group Leads will facilitate the training of participants in their subject area. Before each subsequent meeting, Work Group Leads identify items (or tasks and rubrics) that need review and/or revision and determine the number of questions (or tasks and rubrics) at each level needed for each standard. During each meeting, Work Group Leads provide guidance for the review groups, answering questions about SOLs and levels of Blooms and overseeing the review process. After each meeting, Work Group Leads collect the checklists for assessments reviewed by groups, complete a final review of each assessment, and lock in assessments that are ready to be released. After the last meeting of the year, Work Group Leads submit a final report on the work completed and their recommendations for work to be undertaken in the future by the Test & Task Bank. For these additional responsibilities, some of which will require additional time, Work Group Leads are paid a small stipend by VSUP / VaSCL.
The Virginia School-University Partnership / Virgina School Consortium for Learning expresses its gratitude to PowerSchool, which has formed a Partnership with VSUP /VaSCL and serves as the host of the VSUP / VaSCL Test Bank. VSUP greatly appreciates the discount which PowerSchool generously offers to all VSUP / VaSCL members.