Special Board Meeting
Berkeley USD
October 04, 2017 6:00PM
1231 Addison Street, Berkeley, CA 94702

1. Call to Order - 6:00 PM
Quick Summary / Abstract:

The Presiding Officer will call the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.

2. Approve Special Meeting Agenda of October 4, 2017
3. Open Session Public Testimony (1st Opportunity)
Quick Summary / Abstract:

Persons wishing to address the Board should fill out a green speaker card. Cards turned in by 6:00 p.m. will be given priority. Public Testimony is strictly limited to 30 minutes with a 2-minute limit per speaker. 

4. Union Comments
Quick Summary / Abstract:
Representatives from each union are given the opportunity to address the Board on any issue, 5 minutes per union. (Order rotates).
5. Committee Comments
Quick Summary / Abstract:
Representatives from District committees that include members of the public are given the opportunity to address the Board on any issue.  5 minutes per committee.
6. Discussion Items
6.1. Use of Student Assessment in the Berkeley Unified School District


TO:         Board of Education
FROM:           Board President Ty Alper
DATE:            October 4, 2017
SUBJECT:      Special Meeting about Assessments

We assess our students in a number of ways, for a variety of reasons, and assessment is critical. As a District, we are committed to using multiple measures to assess our students. Teachers assess their students regularly, including via direct observation, video data, quizzes, traditional exams, state standardized tests, and performance-based examinations. We assess our students to inform instruction, to provide information to parents and guardians regarding their students’ progress, and to hold ourselves accountable as a District in our efforts to close the achievement gap. Aggregate student assessment data is important for a school site and the District generally to identify trends among subgroups of students; evaluate progress on closing our achievement gaps and meeting our equity goals; and assess our student body’s readiness for college and career.

The special meeting tonight will provide an opportunity for the Board to have a structured discussion around two framing questions on the topic of how we assess students in the District and how we use the results of those assessments. The plan is for this meeting to be followed by a meeting in the Spring at which we continue the conversation with a goal of producing direction from the Board to staff with respect to how assessments should be used in the District.

The two specific questions we want to use to frame our discussion tonight are:

1. What kind of assessments are best able to a) inform instruction, b) allow individual parents and guardians to know how their children are doing, c) hold the District accountable for how it is doing across all students and within subgroups of students and d) allow us to benefit from trends and innovations in other districts?

2. What programmatic or budget decisions, if any, should be informed by the results of the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA)?  With this question, we hope to move towards specific direction that may come from the Board, to be further discussed at a meeting in Spring 2018.  

We want the Board to think concretely about these questions.  What assessments should we be developing that we are not currently using?  What can we learn about what other districts in California are doing with assessments?  With respect to the SBA, how should the results be used, or not, in the District? (For example, with respect to the SBA:  When the Superintendent recommends continuing or discontinuing a particular program that is funded via supplemental LCAP funds, should SBA scores be used as a justification?  When we evaluate the success of a school or a principal, should we consider SBA scores?  When we report to the community (via Information items on Board agenda, in external communications like the A+ News, on our website, etc) regarding how well certain subgroups of students are doing, should we include SBA scores (as opposed to, for example, District assessments)?  Should SBA scores be included in data reports to school SGCs? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” should the scores be weighted in any particular way relative to the results of other assessments?  Is there research and science that can guide us in the proper use of assessments?  If so, what more do we need to understand in order for the Board to give staff direction when we come back to this topic in the Spring?)

Background Material

  • Attached to this memo is a chart prepared by District staff listing the District assessments that BUSD currently uses to assess students.

Structure of meeting:

6:00-6:05:  Introduction to the two framing questions.

6:05-6:35:  First Public Comment Period

6:35-6:45:  Presentation from Anna Maier, a research and policy associate at the Learning Policy Institute, (, regarding performance assessments and efforts in California and nationwide to incorporate them into districts’ formal assessments.

6:45 - 7:10:  Board discussion of first framing question.

7:10 - 7:40:  Board discussion of second framing question.

7:40 - 7:50:  Second Public Comment Period

7:50- 8:00pm: Final Board Comments and concluding discussion.

District Assessments
Models State Performance Assessment Systems
7. Open Session Public Testimony (2nd Opportunity)
Quick Summary / Abstract:

This will be a second opportunity for public testimony. It will be limited to 10 minutes and speaker will be limited to two minutes each

8. Extended Board Member and Superintendent Comments
Quick Summary / Abstract:
Board members and the Superintendent are given the opportunity to address any issue.  
9. Adjournment

Published: October 2, 2017, 1:29 PM

The resubmit was successful.