Tuesday, September 25, 2007

$7.5 Million in Grants Awarded to Six States to Study Improved Student Assessments Under No Child Left Behind

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings today announced almost $7.5 million in grants to six states to explore ways to implement better assessments of student progress, beyond the testing procedures required under the No Child Left Behind Act.

The congressionally mandated program is especially aimed at upgrading evaluations of students with disabilities and those with limited English proficiency.

"We hope to find ways to enhance the quality of assessment instruments and systems that states use to measure the achievement of all students, particularly those with disabilities and limited English," Secretary Spellings said.

The state grants include:
Iowa, $1.2 million.
Illinois, $1.89 million.
Montana, $1.76 million.
South Carolina, $1.1 million.
Connecticut, $758,052. And,
Pennsylvania $708, 537.

States will use the grants to collaborate with higher education institutions, research facilities and other organizations to improve the quality, validity and reliability of state academic assessments beyond the requirements in the NCLB education reform law.

For instance, states will investigate ways to gauge student achievement using multiple measures from multiple sources. Better methods of charting student progress will be studied. And, the funds will support the development of comprehensive academic assessment instruments, such as performance and technology-based academic assessments.

The one-time grants will last 18 months.

A total of 14 states submitted programs, which were examined by panels of non-federal experts meeting in Arlington, Va., this summer.

The funding was authorized by section 6112 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to support more effective implementation of assessment requirements of Title I of ESEA and the Education Department's emphasis on accountability through measuring results.
Additional information on the grants is available on the Education Department's Web site at http://www.ed.gov/programs/eag/applicant.html.