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No Child Left Behind: A Desktop Reference
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Title VI--Flexibility And Accountability
Improving Academic Achievement, Accountability, Grants for State Assessments and Enhanced Assessments (VI-A-1)

Purpose

The Grants for State Assessments and Related Activities program helps states develop the assessments required under No Child Left Behind and supports collaborative efforts with institutions of higher education or research institutions to improve the quality of assessments.

WHAT'S NEW--The No Child Left Behind Act

Focuses on What Works

  • Facilitates identification of best practices. Following the development of the required state assessments, formula grants may be used to develop statewide information and reporting systems designed to identify best educational practices based on scientifically based research.

Increases Accountability for Student Performance

  • Supports development of academic assessments required under Title I. Following the development of the required state assessments, funds also may be used to develop multiple measures to increase the reliability and validity of state assessment systems; develop state standards and aligned assessments in academic subjects that are not required by No Child Left Behind; or develop or improve assessments of English language proficiency.

Empowers Parents

  • Allows dissemination of achievement information to parents. Following the development of the required state assessments, formula grants may be used to improve the dissemination of information on student achievement and school performance to parents and the community.

How It Works

This new grant program uses both a formula and a competitive funding mechanism to support the development and implementation of state assessments. The formula grants are called Grants for State Assessments and Related Activities. This part of the program will help states pay for the development and administration of additional state assessments and standards. Each state receives $3 million, and the remaining amount is allocated based on each state's share of the population of children between the ages of 5 and 17. States may use their formula funds to pay the costs of developing additional state standards and assessments required by No Child Left Behind. If a state has already developed the required standards and assessments, it may use its funds to administer the assessments or carry out other activities designed to hold school districts and schools accountable for results.

The other part of the program, called Grants for Enhanced Assessment Instruments, provides competitive grant awards to states to collaborate with other organizations to improve the quality, validity, and reliability of state assessments beyond the requirements for these assessments in the new law. After the formula grant funding has been allocated, any remaining funds are to be used for the competitive grants. These grants are awarded based on the quality, needs, and scope of the state application.

Key Requirements

States must apply to the U.S. Department of Education, and those receiving a grant must provide the secretary of education with an annual report describing the activities they carried out under the grant and the results of those activities. Ultimately, states are required to meet the Title I accountability requirements.

How It Achieves Quality

The formula funds can be used to carry out activities that help ensure that schools and districts are held accountable for results. These activities may include developing multiple measures to increase the reliability and validity of state assessment systems or developing information and reporting systems designed to identify best educational practices based on scientifically based research.

The competitive awards are meant to improve the quality, validity, and reliability of state academic assessments through collaboration with institutions of higher education or other research institutions.

How Performance Is Measured

Annual reports to the U.S. Department of Education, a requirement for the competitive grants,will describe the activities undertaken and the result of those activities.


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Last Modified: 09/14/2007