This is the first in a series of three posts about the importance of the item content review meeting. In this first post, I want to set the stage by describing what I mean by a content review meeting.

First, it is a meeting, an arranged assembly of individuals with a common purpose. We expend a good bit of time and energy making arrangements for these meetings; finding available dates, choosing a suitable location, making travel and housing and food plans, preparing materials, etc. An investment of this magnitude demands a good return.

Second, it is for the purpose of review; an inspection, appraisal, or evaluation. We have spent months writing, editing, and polishing items in preparation for this meeting. Now it is time for the inspection. Stakeholders will appraise these items and render a judgment on their value based on an agreed upon set of criteria. Do the items meet the quality expectations required for field testing?

Third, it is to focus on the content of the items. We set criteria that include alignment to the standards, population appropriateness, clarity, accuracy, and more. These criteria distinguish this review from that of two others, bias/sensitivity review and data review. We’ll save discussion of these other reviews for another time.

The variation on the quote used as the opening line reveals my intention for this post. Content review meetings are about a lot more than approving a set of items for the next field test. Sure, we want stakeholders to review, revise, and approve items to help ensure test validity, but we have other goals and expectations regarding these meetings as well, and each is vital to the long-term success of the program.

Here is a list of four things that we set out to accomplish at item review meetings:

  1. Building stronger client-vendor relationships
  2. Gaining insight regarding the culture of the state
  3. Acquiring knowledge concerning classroom instruction
  4. Meeting colleagues — and making new friends

The extent to which the above is accomplished depends, in part, on who is in attendance. Generally, a mix of the following types of stakeholders is ideal:

  • Classroom teachers
  • Subject matter experts
  • District coordinators
  • Parents of students
  • SDOE representatives

In future posts, I will break out these lists in greater detail.

Is there anything or anybody else that you would add to these lists? What do you most want to take away from a content review meeting? What do you expect a vendor to bring to a content review meeting? Click on the title of this post to leave a comment.