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TO: All Teachers and Administrators in Alpha Plus Online System

DATE: 11-8-19

SUBJECT:  Yes, Reading Summative B is more difficult than Summative A. Here’s why and more. …

Dear Educators:

Because Alpha Plus only uses tools aligned to state standards, we rewrote summative assessments A and B the summer after the Oklahoma Academic Standards (OAS) were adopted. All tests were revised for the 2016-17 school year. Later that fall, the state’s Test Blueprint and Item Specifications came out so we revised Summative A for 2017-18; we did not make major changes to B, our midyear benchmark, at that time.

In subsequent releases of Item Specs, we began to see that passages and items in our B tests were not closely aligned to the state’s released items and new Depth of Knowledge (DOK) requirements.  As always, our educator team was evaluating reports from teachers of alignment issues, typographical errors, and other concerns.  In our summer 2019 review, some items in the B mathematics test were made more difficult; but it became necessary to rewrite the English Language Arts passages and questions for Grades 3-8 Summative B assessments.

  • We also began transitioning our “paired passages” content and format (which will be completed by next year to better simulate the state test).
  • As important, it was necessary to increase the Depth of Knowledge (link to Webb reports) of many items to approximate the state’s DOK.
  • When the state released its “Data Review Takeaways” report last month (link to that part), we knew we were on the right track and completed changes to B test in October.
  • As such, Summative B – especially reading – is substantively more difficult than our baseline (Summative A) was this fall.

We will not be changing Summative A assessments before the spring 2020 benchmark window in order to ensure their reliability for quantifying true growth. All assessments will be evaluated for major upgrades to be made in Summative A by fall 2020.

  • When we make major changes to a test there are often some typos and other errors that need to be corrected.  We appreciate the teachers who took Summative B this week, and reported issues; some of these were corrected this week in Alpha Plus Online (link to login ). PDFs are up to date for download here: (link to MOS )
  • If you have concerns about specific questions, please submit a support ticket – or contact your facilitator to discuss – so our educator team can evaluate whether a correction is needed. The OAS objective aligned to each question can be found in your Item Response Reports (IRR).

Any time a test item is reported as an error, our educator team evaluates it and, if appropriate, we revise that item in the online system ASAP; we do not update the copy for printing (PDF) until the next summer.  If you disagree with an Alpha Plus question stem, distractor, or correct answer, give your students credit for the answer inside the system so data is an accurate check on mastery of instruction.

Summative B opens for most schools on Tues., Nov. 12 (available through mid-Jan.). Some related notes:

  • Many teachers give students a content grade on B. We suggest giving a content grade only on questions aligned to objectives taught before B was administered (use Benchmarked Classroom List Report online or OAG to identify these). 
  • As always, we recommend giving a test-taking procedures grade on both B and A2 benchmarks.
  • If students perform poorly on questions aligned to objectives you have taught, we recommend copying and pasting those questions from B into (or writing similar questions for) your semester tests.
  • After you give the B benchmark, you can use the “Review Test” function for classroom discussion of questions most students got incorrect as part of reviewing for semester tests.

If you would like an Alpha Plus Facilitator to meet with content-area groups to dive deep into the takeaways from the state’s field-test items, understand the increased DOK, or evaluate Summative B performance data, let us know.  

Please contact your facilitator or call (405) 842-8408 with any questions. – Thanks, Jan Barrick


Jan Barrick, CEO

Alpha Plus Educational Systems

(405) 842-8408

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Math WebbAlign_DOK_Summary_Table.pdf

ELA WebbAlign_DOK_Summary_Table.pdf


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