FR Doc 2010-8176
[Federal Register: April 9, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 68)]
[Notices]               
[Page 18171-18185]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr09ap10-58]                   
         

Download: download files

----------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

 
Overview Information; Race to the Top Fund Assessment Program; 
Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Numbers: 84.395B 
(Comprehensive Assessment Systems grants) and 84.395C (High School 
Course Assessment Programs grants).
    Dates:
    Applications Available: April 9, 2010.
    Deadline for Notice of Intent To Apply: April 29, 2010.
    Date of Technical Assistance Meeting for Prospective Applicants: 
April 22, 2010.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: June 23, 2010.
    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: August 23, 2010.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

    Purpose and Overview of Program: Authorized under the American 
Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the Race to the Top Fund 
Assessment Program provides funding to consortia of States to develop 
assessments that are valid, support and inform instruction, provide 
accurate information about what students know and can do, and measure 
student achievement against standards designed to ensure that all 
students gain the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in college and 
the workplace. These assessments are intended to play a critical role 
in educational systems; provide administrators, educators, parents, and 
students with the data and information needed to continuously improve 
teaching and learning; and help meet the President's goal of restoring, 
by 2020, the nation's position as the world leader in college 
graduates.
    Through the Race to the Top Fund Assessment Program, the Department 
expects to award two categories of grants: (A) Comprehensive Assessment 
Systems grants, and (B) High School Course Assessment Programs grants. 
In this notice, we are establishing priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria for each grant category. An 
eligible applicant (i.e., a consortium of States) may apply for grants 
in both categories, provided it meets the eligibility requirements for 
each category. The Department will score and rank applications 
separately in each grant category. Following is an overview of the two 
grant categories:
    (A) Comprehensive Assessment Systems grants. Over the past decade, 
State assessment results have brought much-needed visibility to 
disparities in achievement among different groups of students and 
helped meet increasing demands for data that can be used to improve 
teaching and learning. To fully meet the dual needs for accountability 
and instructional improvement, however, States need assessment systems 
that are based on standards designed to prepare students for college 
and the workplace, and that more validly measure student knowledge and 
skills against the full range of those standards and across the full 
performance continuum. Further, States need assessment systems that 
better reflect good instructional practices and support a culture of 
continuous improvement in education by providing information that can 
be used in a timely and meaningful manner to determine school and 
educator effectiveness, identify teacher and principal professional 
development and support needs, improve programs, and guide instruction.
    This grant category supports the development of such assessment 
systems by consortia of States. Comprehensive Assessment Systems grants 
provide funding for the development of new assessment systems that 
measure student knowledge and skills against a common set of college- 
and career-ready standards (as defined in this notice) in mathematics 
and English language arts in a way that covers the full range of those 
standards, elicits complex student demonstrations or applications of 
knowledge and skills as appropriate, and provides an accurate measure 
of student achievement across the full performance continuum and an 
accurate measure of student growth over a full academic year or course. 
Assessment systems developed with Comprehensive Assessment Systems 
grants must include one or more summative assessment components in 
mathematics and in English language arts that are administered at least 
once during the academic year in grades 3 through 8 and at least once 
in high school and that produce student achievement data and student 
growth data (both as defined in this notice) that can be used to 
determine whether individual students are college- and career-ready (as 
defined in this notice) or on track to being college- and career-ready 
(as defined in this notice). In addition, assessment systems developed 
with Comprehensive Assessment Systems grants must assess all students, 
including English learners (as defined in this notice) and students 
with disabilities (as defined in this notice). Finally, assessment 
systems developed with Comprehensive Assessment Systems grants must 
produce data (including student achievement data and student growth 
data) that can be used to inform (a) determinations of school 
effectiveness; (b) determinations of individual principal and teacher 
effectiveness for purposes of evaluation; (c) determinations of 
principal and teacher professional development and support needs; and 
(d) teaching, learning, and program improvement.
    To be eligible for a Comprehensive Assessment Systems grant, an 
eligible applicant must include at least 15 States, of which at least 5 
States must be governing States (as defined in this notice). An 
eligible applicant receiving a Comprehensive Assessment Systems grant 
must ensure that the summative assessment components of the assessment 
system (in both mathematics and English language arts) will be fully 
implemented statewide in each State in the consortium no later than the 
2014-2015 school year.\1\ It is the expectation of the Department that 
States that adopt assessment systems developed with

[[Page 18172]]

Comprehensive Assessment Systems grants will use assessments in these 
systems to meet the assessment requirements in Title I of the ESEA.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ By requiring that member States fully implement the 
summative assessment components of the assessment system no later 
than the 2014-2015 school year, we believe that we are providing an 
eligible applicant receiving a Comprehensive Assessment Systems 
grant with an appropriate amount of time to design and develop 
summative assessments that meet the Absolute Priority and other 
requirements for this grant category.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addition to meeting the need for assessment systems that can be 
used to determine whether students are college- and career-ready, this 
grant category seeks to ensure that the results from those systems 
will, in turn, be used meaningfully by institutions of higher education 
(IHEs). Under this grant category, we intend to promote collaboration 
and better alignment between public elementary, secondary, and 
postsecondary education systems by establishing a competitive 
preference priority for applications that include commitments from 
public IHEs or IHE systems to participate in the design and development 
of the consortium's final high school summative assessments and to 
implement policies that exempt from remedial courses and place into 
credit-bearing college courses students who meet the consortium-adopted 
achievement standard (as defined in this notice) for those assessments. 
An application that addresses this priority will receive competitive 
preference points based on the extent to which it demonstrates strong 
commitment from the public IHEs or IHE systems (as evidenced by letters 
of intent) and on the percentage of direct matriculation students (as 
defined in this notice) in public IHEs in the States in the consortium 
who are enrolled in those IHEs or IHE systems.
    (B) High School Course Assessment Programs grants. In our nation's 
high schools, the rigor of courses offered varies and, in many cases, 
is not sufficient to prepare students for success in college and 
careers. To promote consistently high levels of rigor in high school 
courses across a well-rounded curriculum, this grant category supports 
the development of high school course assessment programs by consortia 
of States. High School Course Assessment Programs grants provide 
funding for the development of new assessment programs that cover 
multiple high school courses (which may include courses in core 
academic subjects and career and technical education courses) and that 
include a process for certifying the rigor of the assessments in the 
assessment program and for ensuring that assessments of courses 
covering similar content have common expectations of rigor. Each 
assessment in the assessment program must measure student knowledge and 
skills against standards from a common set of college- and career-ready 
standards in subjects for which such a set of standards exists, or 
otherwise against State or other rigorous standards; and must produce 
student achievement data and student growth data that can be used to 
inform (a) determinations of principal and teacher effectiveness and 
professional development and support needs, and (b) teaching, learning, 
and program improvement. In addition, assessments in the assessment 
program must be designed to assess the broadest possible range of 
students, including English learners and students with disabilities.
    To be eligible for a High School Course Assessment Programs grant, 
an eligible applicant must include at least 5 governing States. An 
eligible applicant receiving a High School Course Assessment Programs 
grant must ensure that at least one course assessment developed under 
the assessment program will be implemented in each State in the 
consortium no later than the 2013-2014 school year and that all 
assessments in the assessment program will be operational no later than 
the 2014-2015 school year.\2\ The Department will not require that 
assessments developed with High School Course Assessment Programs 
grants be used to meet the assessment requirements in Title I of the 
ESEA.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ By requiring that at least one course assessment developed 
under the assessment program be implemented in each State in the 
consortium no later than the 2013-2014 school year and that all 
assessments in the assessment program be operational no later than 
the 2014-2015 school year, we believe that we are providing an 
eligible applicant receiving a High School Course Assessment 
Programs grant with an appropriate amount of time to design and 
develop course assessment programs that meet the Absolute Priority 
and other requirements for this grant category.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We believe that States and high schools will use the assessments in 
these assessment programs as part of coherent high school improvement 
efforts that include aligned curricula, instruction, and professional 
development. In that context, these assessments will play important 
roles in providing teachers, principals, students, and parents with the 
information they need to determine whether high school courses are 
sufficiently rigorous to prepare students for success in college and 
careers, as well as monitor student progress, adjust instruction, and 
ultimately improve student outcomes. To ensure that these assessment 
programs help students prepare for and transition to college 
successfully, we encourage eligible applicants to collaborate with IHEs 
in their design and development.
    Within this grant category, the Department also seeks to promote 
the development of rigorous assessment programs for particular courses 
of high school study. To further the administration's goal of improving 
teaching and learning in the science, technology, engineering, and 
mathematics (STEM) subjects, we are establishing a competitive 
preference priority for applications that include a high-quality plan 
to develop, within the grant period and with input from one or more 
four-year degree-granting IHEs, assessments for high school courses 
that comprise a rigorous course of study designed to prepare high 
school students for postsecondary study and careers in the STEM fields. 
To help improve outcomes in career and technical education, we are also 
establishing a second competitive preference priority for applications 
that include a high-quality plan to develop, within the grant period 
and with relevant business community participation and support, 
assessments for high school courses that comprise a rigorous course of 
study in career and technical education that is designed to prepare 
high school students for success on technical certification 
examinations or for postsecondary education or employment.
    As mentioned earlier, the Department supports the development, 
under both grant categories in this competition, of common assessments 
by consortia of States. We believe that States working together in 
consortia benefit from increased assessment resources and expertise 
and, thus, can develop assessments that are of higher quality than 
assessments developed by an individual State working on its own. In 
addition, bringing States together in consortia will improve the 
efficiency and cost-effectiveness of projects funded under this 
competition and ensure that the assessments that this competition 
supports are developed for as many States as possible as quickly as 
possible. Finally, the development of common assessments will enable 
the production of comparable data that can be used to identify and 
promote effective instructional strategies and practices more reliably 
across States.
    In addition, we are requiring that eligible applicants receiving 
awards under either category in this competition develop assessment 
items and produce student data in a manner that is consistent with 
standards for interoperability, and that they make all assessment 
content (i.e., assessments and assessment items) developed with funds 
from this competition freely available to States, technology platform 
providers, or others that request it for purposes of administering 
assessments, consistent with States' needs and with

[[Page 18173]]

consortium or State requirements for test or item security. We believe 
that these requirements will ensure that assessment content developed 
with funds from this competition is widely available, including to 
States that are not part of consortia receiving funds under this 
competition as well as to commercial organizations wishing to further 
develop, extend, and incorporate the content into assessment products 
intended for State use. Moreover, we believe that making assessment 
content freely available will spur innovation in assessment technology 
and enable technology providers to compete for States' business on the 
basis of their developing efficient, effective, economical, and 
innovative assessment platforms.
    The Department recognizes that there are assessment needs--
particularly for alternate assessments based on alternate academic 
achievement standards and assessments of English language proficiency--
that we do not attempt to address through this competition. We wish to 
note that we have plans to address these needs in other ways. For 
students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, alternate 
assessments based on alternate academic achievement standards are 
critical components of a complete assessment system. It is the 
Department's intent to support States in developing new alternate 
assessments based on alternate achievement standards, in coordination 
with this Race to the Top Assessment competition, through a separate 
competition that will be administered by the Department's Office of 
Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; we intend to issue a 
notice inviting applications for this program later this year. For 
English learners, new assessments of English language proficiency are 
also needed. The Department intends to set aside other funds in its FY 
2011 budget to support State efforts to develop assessments of English 
language proficiency that are aligned with the college- and career-
ready standards in English language arts currently being developed and 
adopted.
    For additional information on the Race to the Top Fund Assessment 
Program, see http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/index.html.

    Note about Public and Expert Input Meetings: The design of this 
Race to the Top Fund Assessment Program competition has benefited 
significantly from a series of public and expert input meetings held 
by the Department. At these meetings, invited experts and members of 
the public provided input in response to questions, published in the 
Federal Register (see 74 FR 54795-54800 and 69081-69084), in the 
following programmatic areas: General and technical assessment 
issues, technology and innovation in assessment, high school 
assessments, assessing English learners, assessing students with 
disabilities, consortium and project management, and procurement. 
For information about these meetings, including transcripts and 
presentation materials, as well as other written input provided for 
this program, see 
http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/index.html.

    A. Comprehensive Assessment Systems:
    Priorities: For the Comprehensive Assessment Systems grant 
category, we are establishing the following priorities for the FY 2010 
grant competition only in accordance with section 437(d)(1) of the 
General Education Provisions Act (GEPA), 20 U.S.C. 1232(d)(1).
    Absolute Priority: This priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 
CFR 75.105(c)(3), we consider only applications that meet this 
priority. An eligible applicant should address this priority throughout 
the application narrative.
    The priority is:
    Comprehensive Assessment Systems Measuring Student Achievement 
Against Common College- and Career-Ready Standards. Under this 
priority, the Department supports the development of new assessment 
systems that will be used by multiple States; are valid, reliable, and 
fair for their intended purposes and for all student subgroups; and 
measure student knowledge and skills against a common set of college- 
and career-ready standards in mathematics and English language arts. To 
meet this absolute priority, an eligible applicant must demonstrate in 
its application that it will develop and implement an assessment system 
that--
    (a) Measures student knowledge and skills against a common set of 
college- and career-ready standards (as defined in this notice) in 
mathematics and English language arts in a way that--
    (i) Covers the full range of those standards, including standards 
against which student achievement has traditionally been difficult to 
measure;
    (ii) As appropriate, elicits complex student demonstrations or 
applications of knowledge and skills;
    (iii) Provides an accurate measure of student achievement across 
the full performance continuum, including for high- and low-achieving 
students; and
    (iv) Provides an accurate measure of student growth over a full 
academic year or course;
    (b) Consists of assessment components in mathematics and in English 
language arts that include, for each subject, one or more summative 
assessment components that--
    (i) Are administered at least once during the academic year in 
grades 3 through 8 and at least once in high school; and
    (ii) Produce student achievement data and student growth data (both 
as defined in this notice) that can be used to determine whether 
individual students are college- and career-ready (as defined in this 
notice) or on track to being college- and career-ready (as defined in 
this notice);
    (c) Assesses all students, including English learners (as defined 
in this notice) and students with disabilities (as defined in this 
notice); and
    (d) Produces data, including student achievement data and student 
growth data, that can be used to inform--
    (i) Determinations of school effectiveness for purposes of 
accountability under Title I of the ESEA;
    (ii) Determinations of individual principal and teacher 
effectiveness for purposes of evaluation;
    (iii) Determinations of principal and teacher professional 
development and support needs; and
    (iv) Teaching, learning, and program improvement.
    Competitive Preference Priority: This priority is a competitive 
preference priority. Consistent with 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i), we award 
additional points to an application as specified in the priority.
    The priority is:
    Collaboration and Alignment with Higher Education. The Department 
gives eligible applicants competitive preference points based on the 
extent to which they have promoted collaboration and alignment between 
member States' public elementary and secondary education systems and 
their public IHEs (as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education 
Act of 1965, as amended (HEA)) or systems of those IHEs. Eligible 
applicants addressing this priority must provide, for each IHE or IHE 
system, a letter of intent that--
    (a) Commits the IHE or IHE system to participate with the 
consortium in the design and development of the consortium's final high 
school summative assessments in mathematics and English language arts 
in order to ensure that the assessments measure college readiness;
    (b) Commits the IHE or IHE system to implement policies, once the 
final high school summative assessments are implemented, that exempt 
from remedial courses and place into credit-bearing college courses any 
student who meets the consortium-adopted

[[Page 18174]]

achievement standard (as defined in this notice) for each assessment 
and any other placement requirement established by the IHE or IHE 
system; and
    (c) Is signed by the State's higher education executive officer (if 
the State has one) and the president or head of each participating IHE 
or IHE system.
    All letters of intent must provide the total number of direct 
matriculation students (as defined in this notice) in the partner IHE 
or IHE system in the 2008-2009 school year. An eligible applicant must 
also provide the total number of direct matriculation students (as 
defined in this notice) in public IHEs in the consortium's member 
States.
    The Department will award up to 20 competitive preference points 
based on the strength of commitment demonstrated in the letters of 
intent and on the percentage of direct matriculation students in public 
IHEs in the member States who are direct matriculation students in the 
partner IHEs or IHE systems. To receive full competitive preference 
points under this priority, eligible applicants must provide letters of 
intent that demonstrate strong commitment from each partner IHE or IHE 
system and that represent at least 30 percent of direct matriculation 
students in public IHEs in member States. No points will be awarded for 
letters of intent that represent fewer than 10 percent of direct 
matriculation students in public IHEs in member States.
    Requirements: For the Comprehensive Assessment Systems grant 
category, we are establishing the following requirements for the FY 
2010 grant competition only in accordance with section 437(d)(1) of 
GEPA, 20 U.S.C. 1232(d)(1).
    Eligible Applicants: Eligible applicants are consortia of 
States.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ Consistent with section 14013 of the ARRA, the term 
``State'' means each of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and 
the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Eligibility Requirements:
    To be eligible to receive an award under this category, an eligible 
applicant must--
    1. Include a minimum of 15 States, of which at least 5 States must 
be governing States (as defined in this notice);
    2. Identify in its application a proposed project management 
partner and provide an assurance that the proposed project management 
partner is not partnered with any other eligible applicant applying for 
an award under this category;\4\ and
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ In selecting a proposed project management partner, an 
eligible applicant must comply with the requirements for procurement 
in 34 CFR 80.36. Due to the limited time period that eligible 
applicants have to select a proposed project management partner, we 
remind eligible applicants that they may, under 34 CFR 80.36, use 
informal procedures to select a proposed contractor for this 
purpose. For example, 34 CFR 80.36(d)(1) authorizes simple informal 
procedures to select contractors under the simplified acquisition 
threshold of $100,000; the regulations only require that the 
eligible applicant request offers from an adequate number of 
qualified sources. In addition, even if the eligible applicant 
expects that the proposed project management partner would cost more 
than $100,000, the regulations recognize special cases where a 
contractor must be selected within a very limited time period. 
Again, the eligible applicant must request proposals from an 
adequate number of qualified sources and select the contractor whose 
proposal is most advantageous to the program, considering price and 
other selection factors. In these situations, if informal 
solicitation does not result in an adequate number of proposals, the 
eligible applicant may select a single bidder so long as the 
eligible applicant documents the facts that formed the basis for its 
decision. 34 CFR 80.36(d)(1), (d)(3), and (d)(4).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    3. Submit assurances from each State in the consortium that, to 
remain in the consortium, the State will adopt a common set of college- 
and career-ready standards (as defined in this notice) no later than 
December 31, 2011, and common achievement standards (as defined in this 
notice) no later than the 2014-2015 school year.
    Application Requirements:
    An eligible applicant's application must--
    1. Indicate, consistent with 34 CFR 75.128, whether--
    (a) One member of the consortium is applying for a grant on behalf 
of the consortium; or
    (b) The consortium has established itself as a separate eligible 
legal entity and is applying for a grant on its own behalf;
    2. Be signed by--
    (a) If one member of the consortium is applying for a grant on 
behalf of the consortium, the Governor, the State's chief school 
officer, and, if applicable, the president of the State board of 
education from that State; or
    (b) If the consortium has established itself as a separate eligible 
legal entity and is applying for a grant on its own behalf, a 
representative of the consortium;
    3. Include an assurance that--
    (a) A competitive procurement process based on a ``best value'' 
selection \5\ will be used for tasks related to assessment design and 
development; and
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ For example, section 2.101 of the Federal Acquisition 
Regulation (FAR) defines ``best value'' as the expected outcome of 
an acquisition that, in the Government's estimation, provides the 
greatest overall benefit in response to the requirement.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (b) All applicable Federal procurement requirements, including the 
requirements of 34 CFR 80.36, will be met;
    4. Include, consistent with 34 CFR 75.128, for each State in the 
consortium, copies of all Memoranda of Understanding or other binding 
agreements. These binding agreements must--
    (a) Detail the activities that members of the consortium will 
perform;
    (b) Bind each member of the consortium to every statement and 
assurance made in the application;
    (c) Include an assurance, signed by the State's chief procurement 
official (or designee), that the State has reviewed its applicable 
procurement rules and determined that it may participate in and make 
procurements through the consortium; and
    (d) Be signed by the Governor, the State's chief school officer, 
and, if applicable, the president of the State board of education;
    5. Include--
    (a) An executive summary of the eligible applicant's proposed 
project;
    (b) A theory of action that describes in detail the causal 
relationships between specific actions or strategies in the eligible 
applicant's proposed project and its desired outcomes for the proposed 
project, including improvements in student achievement and college- and 
career-readiness;
    (c) A plan for designing and developing the proposed assessment 
system;
    (d) A plan for research and evaluation of the proposed assessment 
system;
    (e) A plan for implementing the proposed assessment system; and
    (f) A project management plan (including a workplan and timeline); 
and
    6. Include a budget that--
    (a) Describes in detail how funds from this grant category and 
other resources will be used to design, develop, implement, and 
evaluate the proposed assessment system;
    (b) Identifies Level 1 budget modules (as defined in this notice) 
that do not exceed $150 million in total; and
    (c) Identifies any Level 2 budget modules (as defined in this 
notice) that do not exceed $10 million each.

Program Requirements

    An eligible applicant awarded a grant under this category must--
    1. Evaluate the validity, reliability, and fairness of the 
summative assessment components of the assessment system, and make 
available through formal mechanisms (e.g., peer-reviewed journals) and 
informal mechanisms (e.g., newsletters), and in print and 
electronically, the results of any evaluations it conducts;
    2. Actively participate in any applicable technical assistance 
activities

[[Page 18175]]

conducted or facilitated by the Department or its designees, including 
periodic expert reviews, collaboration with other consortia that 
receive funds under this program, and other activities as determined by 
the Department;
    3. Work with the Department to develop a strategy to make student-
level data that result from the assessment system available on an 
ongoing basis for research, including for prospective linking, 
validity, and program improvement studies; \6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ Eligible applicants awarded a grant under this program must 
comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) 
and 34 CFR Part 99, as well as State and local requirements 
regarding privacy.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    4. Ensure that the summative assessment components of the 
assessment system in both mathematics and English language arts are 
fully implemented statewide by each State in the consortium no later 
than the 2014-2015 school year;
    5. Maximize the interoperability of assessments across technology 
platforms and the ability for States to switch their assessments from 
one technology platform to another by--
    (a) Developing all assessment items to an industry-recognized open-
licensed interoperability standard that is approved by the Department 
during the grant period, without non-standard extensions or 
additions;\7\ and
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ We encourage grantees under this competition to work during 
the grant period with the Department and the entities that set 
interoperability standards to extend those standards in order to 
make them more functional for assessment materials.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (b) Producing all student-level data in a manner consistent with an 
industry-recognized open-licensed interoperability standard that is 
approved by the Department during the grant period;
    6. Unless otherwise protected by law or agreement as proprietary 
information, make any assessment content (i.e., assessments and 
assessment items) developed with funds from this grant category freely 
available to States, technology platform providers, and others that 
request it for purposes of administering assessments, provided they 
comply with consortium or State requirements for test or item security;
    7. Use technology to the maximum extent appropriate to develop, 
administer, and score assessments and report assessment results;
    8. Use funds from this grant category only for the design, 
development, and evaluation of the assessment system. An eligible 
applicant awarded a grant under this category may not use funds for the 
administration of operational assessments;
    9. Comply with the requirements of 34 CFR 75.129, which specifies 
that--
    (a) The applicant (i.e., the State applying on behalf of the 
consortium, or the consortium if established as a separate legal entity 
and applying on its own behalf) is legally responsible for--
    (i) The use of all grant funds;
    (ii) Ensuring that the project is carried out by the consortium in 
accordance with Federal requirements; and
    (iii) Ensuring that indirect cost funds are determined as required 
under 34 CFR 75.564(e); and
    (b) Each member of the consortium is legally responsible to--
    (i) Carry out the activities it agrees to perform; and
    (ii) Use any grant funds it receives under the consortium's 
Memoranda of Understanding or other binding agreements in accordance 
with Federal requirements that apply to the grant;
    10. Obtain approval from the Department of any third-party 
organization or entity that is responsible for managing funds received 
under this grant category; and
    11. Identify any current assessment requirements in Title I of the 
ESEA that would need to be waived in order for member States to fully 
implement the proposed assessment system.
    B. High School Course Assessment Programs:
    Priorities: For the High School Course Assessment Programs grant 
category, we are establishing the following priorities for the FY 2010 
grant competition only in accordance with section 437(d)(1) of GEPA, 20 
U.S.C. 1232(d)(1).
    Absolute Priority: This priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 
CFR 75.105(c)(3), we consider only applications that meet this 
priority. An eligible applicant should address this priority throughout 
the application narrative.
    The priority is:
    High School Course Assessment Programs. Under this priority, the 
Department supports the development of new and adapted assessments for 
high school courses that will be used by multiple States and are valid, 
reliable, and fair for their intended purposes and students. To meet 
this absolute priority, an eligible applicant must demonstrate in its 
application that it will develop and implement a high school course 
assessment program that--
    (a) For each course in the assessment program--
    (i) Measures student knowledge and skills against standards from a 
common set of college- and career-ready standards (as defined in this 
notice) in subjects for which such a set of standards exists, or 
otherwise against State or other rigorous standards;
    (ii) As appropriate, elicits complex student demonstrations or 
applications of knowledge and skills;
    (iii) Produces student achievement data (as defined in this notice) 
and student growth data (as defined in this notice) over a full 
academic year or course that can be used to inform--
    (A) Determinations of individual principal and teacher 
effectiveness and professional development and support needs; and
    (B) Teaching, learning, and program improvement; and
    (iv) Is designed to assess the broadest possible range of students, 
including English learners (as defined in this notice) and students 
with disabilities (as defined in this notice);
    (b) Includes assessments for multiple courses that will be 
implemented in each member State at a scale that will enable 
significant improvements in student achievement outcomes statewide; and
    (c) Includes a process for certifying the rigor of each assessment 
in the assessment program and for ensuring that assessments of courses 
covering similar content have common expectations of rigor.
    Competitive Preference Priorities: These priorities are competitive 
preference priorities. Consistent with 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i), we award 
additional points to an application as specified in these priorities.
    The priorities are:
    1. Focus on Preparing Students for Study in STEM-Related Fields. 
The Department gives 10 competitive preference points to applications 
that include a high-quality plan to develop, within the grant period 
and with input from one or more four-year degree-granting IHEs, 
assessments for high school courses that comprise a rigorous course of 
study that is designed to prepare high school students for 
postsecondary study and careers in the STEM fields, including 
technology and engineering. Any such course of study may include cross-
cutting or interdisciplinary STEM courses (e.g., computer science, 
information technology, bioengineering) and be designed to address the 
needs of underrepresented groups.
    An eligible applicant addressing this priority must, in addition to 
addressing the priority throughout the application narrative, provide a 
separate plan that describes--
    (a) The courses for which assessments will be developed;
    (b) How the courses comprise a rigorous course of study that is 
designed to prepare high school students for

[[Page 18176]]

postsecondary study and careers in the STEM fields; and
    (c) How input from one or more four-year degree-granting IHEs will 
be obtained in developing assessments for the courses.
    We will award points to eligible applicants addressing this 
priority on an ``all or nothing'' basis (i.e., 10 points or zero 
points). An eligible applicant may not use the same course of study to 
address both this priority and Competitive Preference Priority 2 (Focus 
on Career Readiness and Placement).
    2. Focus on Career Readiness and Placement. The Department gives 10 
competitive preference points to applications that include a high-
quality plan to develop, within the grant period and with relevant 
business community participation and support, assessments for high 
school courses that comprise a rigorous course of study in career and 
technical education that is designed to prepare high school students 
for success on technical certification examinations or for 
postsecondary education or employment.
    An eligible applicant addressing this priority must, in addition to 
addressing the priority throughout the application narrative, provide a 
separate plan that describes--
    (a) The courses for which assessments will be developed;
    (b) How the courses comprise a rigorous course of study in career 
and technical education that is designed to prepare high school 
students for success on technical certification examinations or for 
postsecondary education or employment; and
    (c) How relevant business community participation and support will 
be obtained in developing assessments for the courses.
    We will award points to eligible applicants addressing this 
priority on an ``all or nothing'' basis (i.e., 10 points or zero 
points). An eligible applicant may not use the same course of study to 
address both this priority and Competitive Preference Priority 1 (Focus 
on Preparing Students for Study and Careers in STEM-Related Fields).
    Requirements: For the High School Course Assessment Programs grant 
category, we are establishing the following requirements for the FY 
2010 grant competition only in accordance with section 437(d)(1) of 
GEPA, 20 U.S.C. 1232(d)(1).
    Eligible Applicants: Eligible applicants are consortia of 
States.\8\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ Consistent with section 14013 of the ARRA, the term 
``State'' means each of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and 
the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Eligibility Requirements:
    To be eligible to receive an award under this category, an eligible 
applicant must--
    1. Include a minimum of 5 governing States (as defined in this 
notice); and
    2. Identify in its application a proposed project management 
partner and provide an assurance that the proposed project management 
partner is not partnered with any other eligible applicant applying for 
an award under this category.\9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ In selecting a proposed project management partner, an 
eligible applicant must comply with the requirements for procurement 
in 34 CFR 80.36. Due to the limited time period that eligible 
applicants have to select a proposed project management partner, we 
remind eligible applicants that they may, under 34 CFR 80.36, use 
informal procedures to select a proposed contractor for this 
purpose. For example, 34 CFR 80.36(d)(1) authorizes simple informal 
procedures to select contractors under the simplified acquisition 
threshold of $100,000; the regulations only require that the 
eligible applicant request offers from an adequate number of 
qualified sources. In addition, even if the eligible applicant 
expects that the proposed project management partner would cost more 
than $100,000, the regulations recognize special cases where a 
contractor must be selected within a very limited time period. 
Again, the eligible applicant must request proposals from an 
adequate number of qualified sources and select the contractor whose 
proposal is most advantageous to the program, considering price and 
other selection factors; in these situations, if informal 
solicitation does not result in an adequate number of proposals, the 
eligible applicant may select a single bidder so long as the 
eligible applicant documents the facts that formed the basis for its 
decision. 34 CFR 80.36(d)(1), (d)(3), and (d)(4).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Application Requirements

    An eligible applicant's application must--
    1. Indicate, consistent with 34 CFR 75.128, whether--
    (a) One member of the consortium is applying for a grant on behalf 
of the consortium; or
    (b) The consortium has established itself as a separate eligible 
legal entity and is applying for a grant on its own behalf;
    2. Be signed by--
    (a) If one member of the consortium is applying for a grant on 
behalf of the consortium, the Governor, the State's chief school 
officer, and, if applicable, the president of the State board of 
education from that State; or
    (b) If the consortium has established itself as a separate eligible 
legal entity and is applying for a grant on its own behalf, a 
representative of the consortium;
    3. Include an assurance that--
    (a) A competitive procurement process based on a ``best value'' 
selection \10\ will be used for tasks related to assessment design and 
development; and
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \10\ For example, section 2.101 of the FAR defines ``best 
value'' as the expected outcome of an acquisition that, in the 
Government's estimation, provides the greatest overall benefit in 
response to the requirement.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (b) All applicable Federal procurement requirements, including the 
requirements of 34 CFR 80.36, will be met;
    4. Include, consistent with 34 CFR 75.128, for each State in the 
consortium, copies of all Memoranda of Understanding or other binding 
agreements. These binding agreements must--
    (a) Detail the activities that members of the consortium will 
perform;
    (b) Bind each member of the consortium to every statement and 
assurance made in the application;
    (c) Include an assurance, signed by the State's chief procurement 
official (or designee), that the State has reviewed its applicable 
procurement rules and determined that it may participate in and make 
procurements through the consortium; and
    (d) Be signed by the Governor, the State's chief school officer, 
and, if applicable, the president of the State board of education;
    5. Include--
    (a) An executive summary of the eligible applicant's proposed 
project;
    (b) A theory of action that describes in detail the causal 
relationships between specific actions or strategies in the eligible 
applicant's proposed project and its desired outcomes for the proposed 
project, including improvements in student achievement and college- and 
career-readiness;
    (c) A plan for designing and developing the proposed assessment 
program;
    (d) A plan for research and evaluation of the proposed assessment 
program;
    (e) A plan for implementing the proposed assessment program; and
    (f) A project management plan (including a workplan and timeline); 
and
    6. Include a budget that--
    (a) Describes in detail how funds from this grant category and 
other resources will be used to design, develop, implement, and 
evaluate the proposed assessment program; and
    (b) Does not exceed more than $30 million in funds from this grant 
category.

Program Requirements

    An eligible applicant awarded a grant under this category must--
    1. Evaluate the validity, reliability, and fairness of the 
assessments in its high school course assessment program;
    2. Actively participate in any applicable technical assistance 
activities

[[Page 18177]]

conducted or facilitated by the Department or its designees, including 
periodic expert reviews, collaboration with other consortia that 
receive funds under this program, and other activities as determined by 
the Department;
    3. Work with the Department to develop a strategy to make student-
level data that result from the assessment program available on an 
ongoing basis for research, including for prospective linking, 
validity, and program improvement studies; \11\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ Eligible applicants awarded a grant under this program must 
comply with FERPA and 34 CFR Part 99, as well as State and local 
requirements regarding privacy.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    4. Ensure that at least one course assessment developed under the 
high school course assessment program will be implemented in each State 
in the consortium no later than the 2013-2014 school year and that all 
assessments in the assessment program will be operational no later than 
the 2014-2015 school year;
    5. To the extent that technology is used, maximize the 
interoperability of assessments across technology platforms and the 
ability for States to switch their assessments from one technology 
platform to another by--
    (a) Developing all assessment items to an industry-recognized open-
licensed interoperability standard that is approved by the Department 
during the grant period, without non-standard extensions or additions; 
\12\ and
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \12\ We encourage grantees under this competition to work during 
the grant period with the Department and the entities that set 
interoperability standards to extend those standards in order to 
make them more functional for assessment materials.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (b) Producing all student-level data in a manner consistent with an 
industry-recognized open-licensed interoperability standard that is 
approved by the Department during the grant period;
    6. Unless otherwise protected by law or agreement as proprietary 
information, make any assessment content (i.e., assessments and 
assessment items) developed with funds from this grant category freely 
available to States, technology platform providers, and others that 
request it for purposes of administering assessments, provided they 
comply with consortium or State requirements for test or item security;
    7. Use funds from this grant category only for the design, 
development, and evaluation of the assessment program. An eligible 
applicant awarded a grant under this category may not use funds for the 
administration of operational assessments;
    8. Comply with the requirements of 34 CFR 75.129, which specifies 
that--
    (a) The applicant (i.e., the State applying on behalf of the 
consortium, or the consortium if established as a separate legal entity 
and applying on its own behalf) is legally responsible for--
    (i) The use of all grant funds;
    (ii) Ensuring that the project is carried out by the consortium in 
accordance with Federal requirements; and
    (iii) Ensuring that indirect cost funds are determined as required 
under 34 CFR 75.564(e); and
    (b) Each member of the consortium is legally responsible to--
    (i) Carry out the activities it agrees to perform; and
    (ii) Use any grant funds it receives under the consortium's 
Memoranda of Understanding or other binding agreements in accordance 
with Federal requirements that apply to the grant; and
    9. Obtain approval from the Department of any third-party 
organization or entity that is responsible for managing funds received 
under this grant category.
    C. Definitions: For the Comprehensive Assessment Systems and High 
School Course Assessment Programs grant categories, we are establishing 
the following definitions for the FY 2010 grant competition only in 
accordance with section 437(d)(1) of GEPA, 20 U.S.C. 1232(d)(1).
    Accommodations means changes in the administration of an 
assessment, including but not limited to changes in assessment setting, 
scheduling, timing, presentation format, response mode, and 
combinations of these changes, that do not change the construct 
intended to be measured by the assessment or the meaning of the 
resulting scores. Accommodations must be used for equity in assessment 
and not provide advantage to students eligible to receive them.
    Achievement standard means the level of student achievement on 
summative assessments that indicates that (a) for the final high school 
summative assessments in mathematics or English language arts, a 
student is college- and career-ready (as defined in this notice); or 
(b) for summative assessments in mathematics or English language arts 
at a grade level other than the final high school summative 
assessments, a student is on track to being college- and career-ready 
(as defined in this notice). An achievement standard must be determined 
using empirical evidence over time.
    College- and career-ready (or readiness) means, with respect to a 
student, that the student is prepared for success, without remediation, 
in credit-bearing entry-level courses in an IHE (as defined in section 
101(a) of the HEA), as demonstrated by an assessment score that meets 
or exceeds the achievement standard (as defined in this notice) for the 
final high school summative assessment in mathematics or English 
language arts.
    Common set of college- and career-ready standards means a set of 
academic content standards for grades K-12 that (a) define what a 
student must know and be able to do at each grade level; (b) if 
mastered, would ensure that the student is college- and career-ready 
(as defined in this notice) by the time of high school graduation; and 
(c) are substantially identical across all States in a consortium. A 
State may supplement the common set of college- and career-ready 
standards with additional content standards, provided that the 
additional standards do not comprise more than 15 percent of the 
State's total standards for that content area.
    Direct matriculation student means a student who entered college as 
a freshman within two years of graduating from high school.
    English learner means a student who is an English learner as that 
term is defined by the consortium. The consortium must define the term 
in a manner that is uniform across member States and consistent with 
section 9101(25) of the ESEA.
    Governing State means a State that (a) is a member of only one 
consortium applying for a grant in the competition category, (b) has an 
active role in policy decision-making for the consortium, and (c) is 
committed to using the assessment system or program developed by the 
consortium.
    Level 1 budget module means a budget module for which an eligible 
applicant is seeking funds under the Comprehensive Assessment Systems 
grant category that (a) is necessary to delivering operational 
summative assessments in both mathematics and English language arts no 
later than school year 2014-2015, or (b) is otherwise necessary to the 
eligible applicant's proposed project and consistent with the eligible 
applicant's theory of action.
    Level 2 budget module means any budget module for which an eligible 
applicant is seeking funds under the Comprehensive Assessment Systems 
grant category other than a Level 1 budget module. An eligible 
applicant must prioritize Level 2 budget modules in the order of 
importance to the implementation of the proposed project.
    Moderation system means a system for ensuring that human scoring of 
complex item types, such as extended

[[Page 18178]]

responses or performance tasks, is accurate, consistent across schools 
and States, and fair to all students.
    On track to being college- and career-ready \13\ means, with 
respect to a student, that the student is performing at or above grade 
level such that the student will be college- and career-ready (as 
defined in this notice) by the time of high school graduation, as 
demonstrated by an assessment score that meets or exceeds the 
achievement standard (as defined in this notice) for the student's 
grade level on a summative assessment in mathematics or English 
language arts.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \13\ The term on track to being college- and career-ready is 
used in place of the term ``proficiency'' used in section 1111(b)(3) 
of the ESEA.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Performance level descriptor means a statement or description of a 
set of knowledge and skills exemplifying a level of performance 
associated with a standard.
    Student achievement data means data regarding an individual 
student's mastery of tested content standards. Student achievement data 
from summative assessment components must be reported in a way that can 
be reliably aggregated across multiple students at the subgroup,\14\ 
classroom, school, LEA, and State levels.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \14\ Eligible applicants receiving funds under this competition 
must aggregate data using the student subgroups in section 
1111(b)(3)(C)(xiii) of the ESEA (i.e., by gender, by each major 
racial and ethnic group, by English proficiency status, by migrant 
status, by students with disabilities as compared to nondisabled 
students, and by economically disadvantaged students as compared to 
students who are not economically disadvantaged, except that such 
aggregation is not required in a case in which the number of 
students in a subgroup is insufficient to yield statistically 
reliable information or the results would reveal personally 
identifiable information about an individual student). When using 
the term ``subgroup'' throughout this notice, we mean these student 
subgroups.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Student growth data means data regarding the change in student 
achievement data (as defined in this notice) between two or more points 
in time. Student growth data from summative assessment components must 
be reported in a way that can be reliably aggregated across multiple 
students at the subgroup, classroom, school, LEA, and State levels and 
over a full academic year or course.
    Student with a disability means, for purposes of this competition, 
a student who has been identified as a student with a disability under 
the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, as amended (IDEA), 
except for a student with a disability who is eligible to participate 
in alternate assessments based on alternate academic achievement 
standards consistent with 34 CFR 200.6(a)(2).
    Through-course summative assessment means an assessment system 
component or set of assessment system components that is administered 
periodically during the academic year. A student's results from 
through-course summative assessments must be combined to produce the 
student's total summative assessment score for that academic year.
    Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking: Under the Administrative Procedure 
Act (5 U.S.C. 553), the Department generally offers interested parties 
the opportunity to comment on proposed priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria. Section 437(d)(1) of GEPA, 
however, allows the Secretary to exempt from rulemaking requirements 
regulations governing the first grant competition under a new or 
substantially revised program authority. This is the first grant 
competition for the Race to the Top Assessment Program under section 
14006 of the ARRA and therefore qualifies for this exemption. In order 
to ensure timely grant awards, the Secretary has decided to forego 
public comment on the priorities, requirements, definitions, and 
selection criteria under section 437(d)(1) of GEPA. (We note that, as 
discussed earlier, the design of this grant competition has benefited 
significantly from a series of public and expert input meetings held by 
the Department.) These priorities, requirements, definitions, and 
selection criteria will apply to the FY 2010 grant competition only.

    Program Authority: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 
2009, Division A, Section 14006, Public Law 111-5.

    Applicable Regulations: The Education Department General 
Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 74, 75, 77, 79, 80, 
81, 82, 84, 85, 86, 97, 98, and 99.

II. Award Information

    Type of Award: Discretionary grants.
    Estimated Available Funds: $350,000,000.
    Estimated Size of Awards:
    A. Comprehensive Assessment Systems: $160,000,000.
    B. High School Course Assessment Programs: $30,000,000.

Estimated Number of Awards

    A. Comprehensive Assessment Systems: 1-2 awards.
    B. High School Course Assessment Programs: 1 award.

    Note: The Department is not bound by any estimates in this 
notice. The Department will determine the number of awards to be 
made in each grant category based on the quality of applications 
received consistent with the selection criteria. It will also 
determine the size of an award made to an eligible applicant based 
on a review of the eligible applicant's budget. However, with 
respect to Comprehensive Assessment Systems grants, an eligible 
applicant may not submit Level 1 budget modules exceeding $150 
million in total, and with respect to High School Course Assessment 
Programs grants, an eligible applicant may not submit a budget 
exceeding $30 million. Applications requesting budget amounts that 
exceed these maximum amounts will not be reviewed for funding. An 
eligible applicant awarded a Comprehensive Assessment Systems grant 
will receive funding for the Level 1 budget modules identified in 
its application, and may receive funding for one or more Level 2 
budget modules identified in its application if those modules do not 
exceed the maximum amount of $10 million each and funds are 
available. The Department will rank and fund separately applications 
under each grant category. The Department may use any unused funds 
designated for this competition to make awards in Phase 2 of the 
Race to the Top Fund Program (CFDA Number 84.395A).

    Project Period: Up to 48 months.

III. Application and Submission Information

    A. Address to Request Application Package: Prospective applicants 
can obtain an application package for either grant category in this 
competition via the Internet or from the Education Publications Center 
(ED Pubs). To obtain a copy via the Internet, use the following 
address: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/index.html. 
To obtain a copy from ED Pubs, write, fax, or call the 
following: Education Publications Center, P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 
20794-1398. Telephone, toll free: 1-877-433-7827. FAX: (301) 470-1244. 
If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call, toll 
free: 1-877-576-7734.
    Prospective applicants can also contact ED Pubs at its Web site: 
http://www.ed.gov/pubs/edpubs.html or at its e-mail address: 
edpubs@inet.ed.gov.
    If requesting an application from ED Pubs, be sure to identify this 
competition as follows: CFDA Number 84.395B (Comprehensive Assessment 
Systems grants) or CFDA Number 84.395C (High School Course Assessment 
Programs grants).
    Individuals with disabilities can obtain a copy of the application 
package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, 
or computer diskette) by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT in section VI of this notice.
    B. Content and Form of Application Submission: Requirements 
concerning

[[Page 18179]]

the content of an application, together with the forms an applicant 
must submit, are in the application package for each grant category in 
this competition.
    Page Limit: The application narrative (Part I.G of the application 
for each grant category) is where the applicant addresses the selection 
criteria that reviewers use to evaluate applications. The Department 
recommends that applicants limit the application narrative for a 
Comprehensive Assessment Systems grant to no more than 60 total pages, 
and for a High School Course Assessment Programs grant to no more than 
45 total pages, using the following standards:
     A page is 8.5'' x 11'', on one side only, with 1'' margins 
at the top, bottom, and both sides.
     Each page is numbered.
     Line spacing is set to 1.5 spacing, and the font used is 
12 point Times New Roman font.
    An applicant must limit the executive summary of its proposed 
project (Part I.D of the application for each grant category) to no 
more than two pages using the standards above. We will not read 
information on any pages that exceed this page limit.
    C. Submission Dates and Times:
    Applications Available: April 9, 2010.
    Deadline for Notice of Intent to Apply: April 29, 2010.
    The Department will be able to develop a more efficient process for 
reviewing grant applications if we have a better understanding of the 
number of applications we will receive. Therefore, we strongly 
encourage each prospective applicant to send an e-mail notice of its 
intent to apply for funding under a grant category in this competition 
to the e-mail address racetothetop.assessment@ed.gov by April 29, 2010. 
The notice of intent to apply is optional; an applicant may still 
submit an application if it has not notified us of its intention to 
apply.
    Date of Technical Assistance Meeting for Prospective Applicants: 
April 22, 2010.
    To assist prospective applicants in preparing an application and to 
respond to questions, the Department will host a Technical Assistance 
Meeting for Prospective Applicants on April 22, 2010. Detailed 
information about this meeting (including the meeting location) will be 
posted on the Department's Web site at 
http://www.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment. 
Attendance at the meeting is strongly 
encouraged. Announcements of any other technical assistance 
opportunities for prospective applicants will also be available at the 
Web site above.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: June 23, 2010.
    An applicant must submit an original and one paper copy of its 
application for either grant category under this competition. An 
applicant may submit its application by mail or hand delivery. E-mailed 
applications will not be read. For more information about how to submit 
an application, please refer to the Other Submission Requirements later 
in this section.
    The Department will not consider an application that does not 
comply with the deadline requirements.
    Individuals with disabilities who need an accommodation or 
auxiliary aid in connection with the application process should contact 
the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VI 
of this notice. If the Department provides an accommodation or 
auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability in connection with the 
application process, the individual's application remains subject to 
all other requirements and limitations in this notice.
    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: August 23, 2010.
    D. Intergovernmental Review: This program is subject to Executive 
Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. Information about 
Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs under Executive Order 
12372 is in the application package for each grant category in this 
competition.
    E. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding 
restrictions in the Requirements and Applicable Regulations in section 
I of this notice.
    F. Other Submission Requirements: An applicant must submit an 
original and one paper copy of its application for either grant 
category under this competition. An applicant may submit its 
application by mail or hand delivery. E-mailed applications will not be 
read.
    If an applicant's application includes content that cannot be 
presented in a paper copy, the applicant may submit that content 
separately in one or more electronic files on a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM. The 
application content must reside on the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM; the 
Department will not review material in external references or links. 
The files may be in any of the following formats: .DOC/.DOCX (Microsoft 
Word Document), .PDF (Adobe Portable Document Format), .PPT/.PPTX 
(Microsoft Powerpoint), .HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), .JPEG (Joint 
Photographic Experts Group Image), .GIF (Graphics Interchange Format), 
.PNG (Portable Network Graphics), .TIFF (Tagged Image Format), 
.XLS/.XLSX (Microsoft Excel), .XML/.XSD (Extensible Markup Language/XML 
Schema), .CSV (Comma Separated Values), .TXT (Text File), and .ZIP 
(Compressed Package). If an applicant is submitting data files, it 
should include in its application a description or schema of the data 
elements within the files. If an applicant submits a file type other 
than the types specified in this paragraph, the Department will not 
review that material. Applicants should not password-protect these 
files. Each electronic file name should clearly identify the part of 
the application to which the content is responding. The CD-ROM or DVD-
ROM should be clearly labeled with the applicant's name and any other 
relevant information. An applicant must provide 10 copies of any CD-ROM 
or DVD-ROM it submits with the original and paper copy of its 
application.
    The Department must receive all applications by 4:30 p.m., 
Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. We will not 
accept an application for this competition after 4:30 p.m., Washington, 
DC time, on the application deadline date. Therefore, we strongly 
recommend that applicants arrange for mailing or hand delivery of their 
applications in advance of the application deadline date.
    (1) Submission of Applications by Mail. An applicant for either 
grant category may submit its application (i.e., the original and one 
paper copy of the application and, if necessary, 10 copies of an 
accompanying CD-ROM or DVD-ROM with any electronic files of application 
content that cannot be included in the original or paper copy of the 
application) by mail (either through the U.S. Postal Service or a 
commercial carrier). We must receive applications no later than 4:30 
p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. Therefore, 
to avoid delays, we strongly recommend sending applications via 
overnight mail. Mailed applications for Comprehensive Assessment 
Systems grants must be mailed to the Department at the following 
address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, 
Attention: (CFDA Number 84.395B), LBJ Basement Level 1, 400 Maryland 
Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20202-4260. Mailed applications for High 
School Course Assessment Programs grants must be mailed to the 
Department at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, 
Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.395C), LBJ 
Basement Level

[[Page 18180]]

1, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20202-4260.
    If we receive an application after the application deadline, we 
will not consider that application.
    (2) Submission of Applications by Hand Delivery. An applicant for 
either grant category may submit its application (i.e., the original 
and one paper copy of the application and, if necessary, 10 copies of 
an accompanying CD-ROM or DVD-ROM with any electronic files of 
application content that cannot be included in the original or paper 
copy of the application) by hand delivery (including via a courier 
service). We must receive applications no later than 4:30 p.m., 
Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. Hand-delivered 
applications for Comprehensive Assessment Systems grants must be 
received at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, 
Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.395B), 550 12th 
Street, SW., Room 7041, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-
4260. Hand-delivered applications for High School Course Assessment 
Programs grants must be received at the following address: U.S. 
Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA 
Number 84.395C), 550 12th Street, SW., Room 7041, Potomac Center Plaza, 
Washington, DC 20202-4260. The Application Control Center accepts hand 
deliveries daily between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, 
except Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays.
    If we receive an application after the application deadline, we 
will not consider that application.
    (3) Envelope Requirements and Receipt: When an applicant submits 
its application, whether by mail or hand delivery--
    (a) It must indicate on the envelope that the CFDA number of the 
competition under which it is submitting its application is 84.395B 
(for Comprehensive Assessment Systems grants) or 84.395C (for High 
School Course Assessment Programs grants); and
    (b) The Application Control Center will mail to the applicant a 
notification of receipt of the grant application. If the applicant does 
not receive this notification, it should call Joyce Mays at the U.S. 
Department of Education Application Control Center at (202) 245-6288.
    In accordance with 34 CFR 75.216(b) and (c), an application will 
not be evaluated for funding if the applicant does not comply with all 
of the procedural rules that govern the submission of the application 
or the application does not contain the information required under the 
program.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    The requirements and selection criteria established in this notice 
require the collection of information that is subject to review by the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act 
of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). An emergency review has been requested 
in accordance with the Act (44 U.S.C. 3507(j)), since public harm is 
reasonably likely to result if normal clearance procedures are 
followed. Approval by OMB has been requested by April 5, 2010.
    Burden Hour Estimates for Comprehensive Assessment Systems Grants: 
We estimate 4 applicants for Comprehensive Assessment Systems grants, 
and that each applicant would spend approximately 502.25 hours of staff 
time to address the application requirements and criteria, prepare the 
application, and obtain necessary clearances. The total number of hours 
for all applicants for Comprehensive Assessment Systems grants is an 
estimated 2,009 hours (4 applicants times 502.25 hours equals 2,009 
hours).
    Burden Hour Estimates for High School Course Assessment Programs 
Grants: We estimate 2 applicants for High School Course Assessment 
Programs grants, and that each applicant would spend approximately 
363.25 hours of staff time to address the application requirements and 
criteria, prepare the application, and obtain necessary clearances. The 
total number of hours for all applicants for High School Course 
Assessment Programs grants is an estimated 726.5 hours (2 applicants 
times 363.25 hours equals 726.5 hours).
    Total Cost Estimates: Across both grant categories, we estimate the 
average total cost per hour of the staff who carry out this work to be 
$30.00 an hour. The total estimated cost for all applicants under both 
grant categories would be $82,065 ($30.00 times 2,735.5 (2,009 + 726.5) 
hours equals $82,065).

IV. Application Review Information

    A. Comprehensive Assessment Systems:
    Selection Criteria: For the Comprehensive Assessment Systems 
category, we are establishing the following selection criteria for the 
FY 2010 grant competition only, in accordance with section 437(d)(1) of 
GEPA, 20 U.S.C. 1232(d)(1). Eligible applicants may receive up to 200 
total points based on the extent to which their applications address 
these selection criteria. The number of points that may be awarded for 
each criterion is indicated in parentheses next to the criterion.
    (A)(1) Consortium Governance (up to 20 points). The extent to which 
the consortium's proposed governance structure will enable the 
successful design, development, and implementation of the proposed 
assessment system. In determining the extent to which the consortium's 
proposed governance structure will enable the successful design, 
development, and implementation of the proposed assessment system, we 
will consider--
    (a) The consortium's vision, goals, role, and key deliverables 
(e.g., assessment components, scoring and moderation system, 
professional development activities), and the consistency of these with 
the consortium's theory of action;
    (b) The consortium's structure and operations, including--
    (i) The organizational structure of the consortium and the 
differentiated roles that a member State may hold (e.g., lead State, 
governing State (as defined in this notice), advisory State);
    (ii) For each differentiated role, the rights and responsibilities 
(including the level of commitment to adopting and implementing the 
assessment system) associated with the role;
    (iii) The consortium's method and process (e.g., consensus, 
majority) for making different types of decisions (e.g., policy, 
operational);
    (iv) The protocols by which the consortium will operate, including 
the protocols for member States to change roles or leave the consortium 
and for new member States to join the consortium;
    (v) The consortium's plan, including the process and timeline, for 
setting key policies and definitions for the proposed assessment 
system, including a common set of college- and career-ready standards 
(as defined in this notice), a common set of performance level 
descriptors (as defined in this notice), a common set of achievement 
standards (as defined in this notice), common assessment administration 
procedures, common item release and test security policies, a common 
definition of ``English learner,'' and a common set of policies and 
procedures for accommodations (as defined in this notice) and student 
participation; and
    (vi) The consortium's plan for managing funds received under this 
grant category;

[[Page 18181]]

    (c) The terms and conditions of the Memoranda of Understanding or 
other binding agreements executed by each member State, including--
    (i) The consistency of the terms and conditions with the 
consortium's governance structure and the State's role in the 
consortium; and
    (ii) The State's commitment to and plan for identifying any 
existing barriers in State law, statute, regulation, or policy to 
implementing the proposed assessment system and to addressing any such 
barriers prior to full implementation of the summative assessment 
components of the system; and
    (d) The consortium's procurement process, and evidence of each 
member State's commitment to that process.
    (A)(2) Theory of Action (up to 5 points). The extent to which the 
eligible applicant's theory of action is logical, coherent, and 
credible, and will result in improved student academic outcomes. In 
determining the extent to which the theory of action has these 
attributes, we will consider the description of, and rationale for--
    (a) Each component of the proposed assessment system and the 
relationship of the component to other components in the system;
    (b) How the assessment results produced by each component will be 
used;
    (c) How the assessments and assessment results will be incorporated 
into a coherent educational system (i.e., a system that includes 
standards, assessments, curriculum, instruction, and professional 
development); and
    (d) How the educational system as a whole will improve student 
achievement and college- and career-readiness (as defined in this 
notice).
    (A)(3) Assessment System Design (up to 55 points). The extent to 
which the design of the eligible applicant's proposed assessment system 
is innovative, feasible, and consistent with the theory of action. In 
determining the extent to which the design has these attributes, we 
will consider--
    (a) The number and types of components (e.g., through-course 
summative assessments (as defined in this notice), end-of-year 
summative assessments, formative assessments, interim assessments) in 
mathematics and in English language arts in the assessment system;
    (b) For the assessment system as a whole--
    (i) How the assessment system will measure student knowledge and 
skills against the full range of the college- and career-ready 
standards, including the standards against which student achievement 
has traditionally been difficult to measure; and provide an accurate 
measure of student achievement, including for high- and low-performing 
students, and an accurate measure of student growth over a full 
academic year or course;
    (ii) How the assessment system will produce the required student 
performance data (i.e., student achievement data and student growth 
data (both as defined in this notice) that can be used to determine 
whether individual students are college- and career-ready (as defined 
in this notice) or on track to being college- and career-ready (as 
defined in this notice));
    (iii) How the assessment system will be accessible to all students, 
including English learners and students with disabilities, and include 
appropriate accommodations (as defined in this notice) for students 
with disabilities and English learners; and
    (iv) How and when during the academic year different types of 
student data will be available to inform and guide instruction, 
interventions, and professional development; and
    (c) For each component in mathematics and in English language arts 
in the assessment system--
    (i) The types of data produced by the component, including student 
achievement data (as defined in this notice), student growth data (as 
defined in this notice), and other data;
    (ii) The uses of the data produced by the component, including 
determining whether individual students are college- and career-ready 
(as defined in this notice) or on track to being college- and career-
ready (as defined in this notice); informing determinations of school 
effectiveness for the purposes of accountability under Title I of the 
ESEA; informing determinations of individual principal and teacher 
effectiveness for the purposes of evaluation; informing determinations 
of principal and teacher professional development and support needs; 
informing teaching, learning, and program improvement; and other uses;
    (iii) The frequency and timing of administration of the component, 
and the rationale for these;
    (iv) The number and types of items (e.g., performance tasks, 
selected responses, brief or extended constructed responses) and the 
distribution of item types within the component, including the extent 
to which the items will be varied and elicit complex student 
demonstrations or applications of knowledge and skills (descriptions 
should include a concrete example of each item type proposed); and the 
rationale for using these item types and their distributions;
    (v) The component's administration mode (e.g., paper-and-pencil, 
computer-based, or other electronic device), and the rationale for the 
mode;
    (vi) The methods for scoring student performance on the component, 
the estimated turnaround times for scoring, and the rationale for 
these; and
    (vii) The reports produced based on the component, and for each 
report, its intended use, target audience (e.g., students, parents, 
teachers, administrators, policymakers), and the key data it presents.
    (A)(4) Assessment System Development (up to 35 points). The extent 
to which the eligible applicant's plan for developing the proposed 
assessment system will ensure that the assessment system is ready for 
wide-scale administration in a manner that is timely, cost-effective, 
and consistent with the proposed design and incorporates a process for 
ongoing feedback and improvement. In determining the extent to which 
the development plan has these attributes, we will consider--
    (a) The approaches for developing assessment items (e.g., evidence 
centered design, universal design for learning \15\) and the rationale 
for using those approaches; the development phases and processes to be 
implemented consistent with the approaches; and the types of personnel 
involved in each development phase and process (e.g., practitioners, 
content experts, assessment experts, experts in assessing English 
learners, experts in assessing students with disabilities, 
psychometricians, cognitive scientists, IHE representatives, career and 
technical education experts);
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \15\ ``Universal design for learning'' is used as that term is 
defined in section 103(24) of the HEA.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (b) The approach and strategy for designing and developing 
accommodations (as defined in this notice), accommodation policies, and 
methods for standardizing the use of those accommodations for--
    (i) English learners; and
    (ii) Students with disabilities;
    (c) The approach and strategy for ensuring scalable, accurate, and 
consistent scoring of items, including the approach and moderation 
system (as defined in this notice) for any human-scored items that are 
part of the summative assessment components and the extent to which 
teachers are trained and involved in the scoring of assessments;
    (d) The approach and strategy for developing the reporting system; 
and
    (e) The overall approach to quality control; and the strategy for 
field testing

[[Page 18182]]

assessment items, accommodations, scoring systems, and reporting 
systems, including, with respect to assessment items and 
accommodations, the use of representative sampling of all types of 
student populations, taking into particular account high- and low-
performing students and different types of English learners and 
students with disabilities.
    (A)(5) Research and Evaluation (up to 30 points). The extent to 
which the eligible applicant's research and evaluation plan will ensure 
that the assessments developed are valid, reliable, and fair for their 
intended purposes and for all student subgroups. In determining the 
extent to which the research and evaluation plan has these attributes, 
we will consider--
    (a) The plan for identifying and employing psychometric techniques 
suitable to verify, as appropriate to each assessment component, its 
construct, consequential, and predictive validity; external validity; 
reliability; fairness; precision across the full performance continuum; 
and comparability within and across grade levels; and
    (b) The plan for determining whether the assessments are being 
implemented as designed and the theory of action is being realized, 
including whether the intended effects on individuals and institutions 
are being achieved.
    (A)(6) Professional Capacity and Outreach (up to 15 points). The 
extent to which the eligible applicant's plan for implementing the 
proposed assessment system is feasible, cost-effective, and consistent 
with the theory of action. In determining the extent to which the 
implementation plan has these attributes, we will consider--
    (a) The plan for supporting teachers and administrators in 
implementing the assessment system and for developing, in an ongoing 
manner, the professional capacity to use the assessments and results to 
inform and improve instructional practice; and
    (b) The strategy and plan for informing the public and key 
stakeholders (including legislators and policymakers) in each member 
State about the assessment system and for building support for the 
system from the public and those stakeholders.
    (A)(7) Technology Approach (up to 10 points). The extent to which 
the eligible applicant is using technology effectively to improve the 
quality, accessibility, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency of the 
proposed assessment system. In determining the extent to which the 
eligible applicant is using technology effectively, we will consider--
    (a) The description of, and rationale for--
    (i) The ways in which technology will be used in assessment design, 
development, administration, scoring, and reporting;
    (ii) The types of technology to be used (including whether the 
technology is existing and commercially-available or is being newly 
developed); and
    (iii) How other States or organizations can re-use in a cost-
effective manner any technology platforms and technology components 
developed under this grant; and
    (b) How technology-related implementation or deployment barriers 
will be addressed (e.g., issues relating to local access to Internet-
based assessments).
    (A)(8) Project Management (up to 30 points). The extent to which 
the eligible applicant's project management plan will result in 
implementation of the proposed assessment system on time, within 
budget, and in a manner that is financially sustainable over time. In 
determining the extent to which the project management plan has these 
attributes, we will consider--
    (a) The quality, qualifications, and role of the project management 
partner, as evidenced by its mission, date of founding, size, 
experience (including past success in implementing similar projects), 
and key personnel assigned to this project (including their names, 
curricula vitae, roles, percent of time dedicated to this project, and 
experience in managing similar projects);
    (b) The project workplan and timeline, including, for each key 
deliverable (e.g., assessment component, scoring and moderation system, 
professional development activities), the major milestones, deadlines, 
and entities responsible for execution; and the approach to 
identifying, managing, and mitigating risks associated with the 
project;
    (c) The extent to which the eligible applicant's budget--
    (i) Clearly identifies Level 1 budget modules (as defined in this 
notice) and any Level 2 budget modules (as defined in this notice);
    (ii) Is adequate to support the development of an assessment system 
that meets the requirements of the absolute priority; and
    (iii) Includes costs that are reasonable in relation to the 
objectives, design, and significance of the proposed project and the 
number of students to be served; and
    (d) For each member State, the estimated costs for the ongoing 
administration, maintenance, and enhancement of operational assessments 
in the proposed assessment system and a plan for how the State will 
fund the assessment system over time (including by allocating to the 
assessment system funds for existing State or local assessments that 
will be replaced by assessments in the system).
    B. High School Course Assessment Programs:
    Selection Criteria: For the High School Course Assessment Programs 
category, we are establishing the following selection criteria for the 
FY 2010 grant competition only, in accordance with section 437(d)(1) of 
GEPA, 20 U.S.C. 1232(d)(1). Eligible applicants may receive up to 200 
total points based on the extent to which their applications address 
these selection criteria. The total number of points that may be 
awarded for each criterion and the number of points that may be awarded 
for each factor within a criterion are indicated in parentheses next to 
the criterion or factor.
    (B)(1) Consortium Governance (up to 30 points). The extent to which 
the consortium's proposed governance structure will enable the 
successful design, development, and implementation of the proposed high 
school course assessment program. In determining the extent to which 
the consortium's proposed governance structure will enable the 
successful design, development, and implementation of the proposed 
assessment program, we will consider--
    (a) The consortium's vision, goals, role, and key deliverables 
(e.g., assessments, scoring and moderation system, certification 
system, professional development activities), and the consistency of 
these with the consortium's theory of action;
    (b) The consortium's structure and operations, including--
    (i) The organizational structure of the consortium and the 
differentiated roles that a member State may hold (e.g., lead State, 
governing State (as defined in this notice), advisory State);
    (ii) For each differentiated role, the rights and responsibilities 
(including the level of commitment to adopting and implementing the 
assessment program) associated with the role;
    (iii) The consortium's method and process (e.g., consensus, 
majority) for making different types of decisions (e.g., policy, 
operational);
    (iv) The protocols by which the consortium will operate, including 
the protocols for member States to change roles or leave the consortium 
and for new member States to join the consortium;
    (v) The key policies and definitions to which all member States 
will adhere, the rationale for choosing these policies and definitions, 
and the consortium's

[[Page 18183]]

plan (including the process and timeline) for developing them; and
    (vi) The consortium's plan for managing funds received under this 
grant category;
    (c) The terms and conditions of the Memoranda of Understanding or 
other binding agreements executed by each member State, including the 
consistency of the terms and conditions with the consortium's 
governance structure and the State's role in the consortium; and
    (d) The consortium's procurement process, and evidence of each 
member State's commitment to that process.
    (B)(2) Theory of Action (up to 5 points). The extent to which the 
eligible applicant's theory of action is logical, coherent, and 
credible, and will result in improved academic outcomes for high school 
students across the States in the consortium. In determining the extent 
to which the theory of action has these attributes, we will consider 
the description of and rationale for--
    (a) How the proposed high school course assessment program will be 
incorporated into a coherent high school educational system (i.e., a 
system that includes standards, assessments, curriculum, instruction, 
and professional development);
    (b) How the assessment program's rigor will be demonstrated and 
maintained over time;
    (c) How the assessment program will cover diverse course offerings 
that provide a variety of pathways to students; and
    (d) How the assessment program will be implemented at a scale that, 
across the States in the consortium, increases access to rigorous 
courses for students who have not typically had such access, and 
broadly improves student achievement and college and career readiness 
(as defined in this notice).
    (B)(3) Course Assessment Program Design and Development (up to 60 
points). The extent to which the design and development of the eligible 
applicant's proposed high school assessment program is feasible, 
scalable, and consistent with the theory of action. In determining the 
extent to which the design has these attributes, we will consider--
    (a) The high school courses for which the consortium will implement 
assessments; the rationale for selecting those courses, including a 
need to increase access to rigorous courses for students who have not 
typically had such access; and the processes by which new high school 
course assessments will be added to the assessment program over time 
and existing course assessments will be updated and refreshed;
    (b) How the assessments will measure student knowledge and skills 
against standards from a common set of college- and career-ready 
standards (as defined in this notice) in subjects for which such a set 
of standards exists, or otherwise against State or other rigorous 
standards;
    (c) How the consortium will certify the rigor of each assessment in 
the assessment program, whether the assessment is new or adapted; and 
how the consortium will maintain consistent and high levels of rigor 
over time; and
    (d) The general design and development approach for course 
assessments, including--
    (i) The number and types of components (e.g., mid-term tests, 
through-course summative assessments (as defined in this notice), end-
of-course assessments) in a high school course assessment;
    (ii) The extent to which, and, where applicable, the approach for 
ensuring that, assessment items will be varied and elicit complex 
student demonstrations or applications of knowledge and skills;
    (iii) How the assessments will produce student achievement data (as 
defined in this notice) and student growth data (as defined in this 
notice);
    (iv) The approach and strategy for ensuring scalable, accurate, and 
consistent scoring of assessments, and the extent to which teachers are 
trained and involved in the scoring of assessments; and
    (v) How the course assessments will be accessible to the broadest 
possible range of students, including English learners and students 
with disabilities, and include appropriate accommodations (as defined 
in this notice) for students with disabilities and English learners.
    (B)(4) Research and Evaluation (up to 25 points). The extent to 
which the eligible applicant's research and evaluation plan will ensure 
that the assessments developed are valid, reliable, and fair for their 
intended purposes and for all students. In determining the extent to 
which the research and evaluation plan has these attributes, we will 
consider--
    (a) The plan for verifying validity, reliability, and fairness; and
    (b) The plan for determining whether the assessments are being 
implemented as designed and the theory of action is being realized, 
including whether the intended effects on students and schools are 
being achieved.
    (B)(5) Course Assessment Program Implementation (up to 45 points). 
The extent to which the eligible applicant's plan for implementing the 
proposed high school course assessment program will result in increased 
student enrollment in courses in the assessment program (and therefore 
improved student academic outcomes) in each member State. In 
determining the extent to which the implementation plan has these 
attributes, we will consider--
    (a) The approach to be used in each member State for promoting 
participation in the high school course assessment program by high 
schools, by teachers, and by students (e.g., voluntary participation, 
mandatory participation, incentive programs); the plan for implementing 
the approach, including goals, major activities, timelines, and 
entities responsible for execution; and the expected participation 
levels in each member State and across the consortium overall, 
including--
    (i) The number and percentage of high schools expected to implement 
at least one of the assessments in the high school course assessment 
program in each of five consecutive years beginning with the 2013-2014 
school year;
    (ii) For each assessment in the assessment program, the number and 
percentage of high schools expected to implement the assessment in each 
of five consecutive years beginning with the 2013-2014 school year; and
    (iii) The unduplicated number and percentage of high school 
students expected to take at least one assessment in the assessment 
program in each of five consecutive years beginning with the 2013-2014 
school year; and
    (b) The plan for supporting teachers and administrators in 
implementing the high school course assessment program and for 
developing, in an ongoing manner, the professional capacity to use the 
assessments and results to inform and improve instructional practice.
    (B)(6) Project Management (up to 35 points). The extent to which 
the eligible applicant's project management plan will result in 
implementation of the proposed high school course assessment program on 
time, within budget, and in a manner that is financially sustainable 
over time. In determining the extent to which the project management 
plan has these attributes, we will consider--
    (a) The quality, qualifications, and role of the project management 
partner, as evidenced by its mission, date of founding, size, 
experience (including past success in implementing similar projects), 
and key personnel assigned to this project (including their names, 
curricula vitae, roles, percent of time dedicated to this project, and 
experience in managing similar projects);
    (b) The project workplan and timeline, including, for each key

[[Page 18184]]

deliverable (e.g., assessments, scoring and moderation system, 
certification system, professional development activities), the major 
milestones, deadlines, and entities responsible for execution;
    (c) The extent to which the eligible applicant's budget--
    (i) Is adequate to support the development of a high school 
assessment program that meets the requirements of the absolute 
priority;
    (ii) Includes costs that are reasonable in relation to the 
objectives, design, and significance of the proposed project and the 
number of students to be served; and
    (d) For each member State, the estimated costs for the ongoing 
administration, maintenance, and enhancement of operational assessments 
in the proposed assessment program and a plan for how the State will 
fund the assessment program over time (including by allocating to the 
assessment program funds for existing State or local assessments that 
will be replaced by assessments in the program).
    C. Review and Selection Process: The Department will screen 
applications that are received in accordance with the requirements in 
this notice and determine which applications will be reviewed for 
funding based on whether the applicant has met the eligibility 
requirements for the grant category and has requested a budget amount 
that does not exceed the maximum amount for the grant category as 
discussed in the Award Information section of this notice (section II). 
Applications from applicants that do not meet the eligibility 
requirements for the grant category or that request a budget amount 
that exceeds the maximum amount for the grant category will not be 
reviewed for funding. Reviewers \16\ will then review and score 
applications using the competitive preference priorities, selection 
criteria and points included in this notice, and determine whether 
applications meet the Absolute Priority for the grant category. 
Applications that do not meet the Absolute Priority will not be 
considered for funding. The reviewers' scores will be averaged for each 
application that meets the Absolute Priority for the grant category, 
and those applications will be rank ordered in each grant category. 
After the review process is complete, the Secretary will select, 
consistent with 34 CFR 75.217, the grantees for each grant category 
after considering the rank order of applications, the funding 
available, and any other relevant information.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \16\ The Department intends to use a panel of expert, 
independent reviewers who have been chosen from a pool of qualified 
assessment and management experts. The Department will thoroughly 
screen all reviewers for conflicts of interest in order to ensure a 
fair and competitive review process.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

V. Award Administration Information

    A. Award Notices: If an application is successful, the Department 
will notify the applicant's U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and 
send the applicant a Grant Award Notification (GAN). We may also notify 
the applicant informally.
    If an application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, we 
will notify the applicant.
    B. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify 
administrative and national policy requirements in the application 
package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable 
Regulations in section I of this notice.
    We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of 
an award in the Applicable Regulations in section I of this notice and 
include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also 
incorporates the approved application as part of the applicant's 
binding commitments under the grant.
    C. Reporting: Grantees (i.e., applicants that receive an award) 
under this program must submit an annual performance report that 
provides the most current performance and financial expenditure 
information as directed by the Secretary under 34 CFR 75.118. The 
Secretary may require more frequent performance reports under 34 CFR 
75.720(c). At the end of the project period, grantees must also submit 
a final performance report, including financial information, as 
directed by the Secretary.
    Grantees under this program must also meet the reporting 
requirements that apply to all programs funded under the ARRA. 
Specifically, grantees must submit reports, within 10 days after the 
end of each calendar quarter, that contain the information required 
under section 1512(c) of the ARRA in accordance with any guidance 
issued by the Office of Management and Budget or the Department (ARRA 
Division A, Section 1512(c)).
    In addition, for each year of the program, grantees must comply 
with the requirements of ARRA Division A, Section 14008, and other 
performance reporting that the Department may require.
    The Department will monitor grantees' progress in meeting project 
goals, objectives, timelines, and budget requirements; and may require 
grantees to enter into a cooperative agreement with the Department.
    D. Performance Measures: We are establishing the following 
Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) performance 
measures for the Race to the Top Assessment Program:

Comprehensive Assessment Systems Grants

    The performance measures for Comprehensive Assessment Systems 
grants are:

    1. Number of States that have formally adopted a common set of 
college- and career-ready standards in mathematics and English language 
arts;
    2. Number of States that have fully implemented the summative 
assessment components of the assessment systems;
    3. Number of IHEs that are working with grantees to design and 
develop the final high school summative assessments in mathematics and 
English language arts;
    4. Number of IHEs that have implemented policies that exempt from 
remedial courses and place into credit-bearing college courses students 
who meet the achievement standard for the final high school summative 
assessments in mathematics and English language arts and any other 
placement requirements; and
    5. Percentage of direct matriculation students (as defined in this 
notice) in public IHEs who are enrolled in IHEs that are working with 
grantees to design and develop the final high school summative 
assessments in mathematics and English language arts and/or have 
implemented policies that exempt from remedial courses and place into 
credit-bearing college courses students who meet the achievement 
standard for the final high school summative assessments in mathematics 
and English language arts.

High School Course Assessment Programs Grants

    The performance measures for High School Course Assessment Programs 
grants are:
    1. Number of courses for which assessments have been developed 
under the high school assessment programs;
    2. Number of States implementing the high school course assessment 
programs;
    3. Percentage of LEAs in each State implementing at least one 
assessment in the high school course assessment programs;
    4. Percentage of high schools in each State implementing at least 
one assessment in the high school course assessment programs;
    5. For each assessment in the high school course assessment 
programs,

[[Page 18185]]

percentage of high schools in each State implementing the assessment;
    6. Percentage of students in each State taking at least one 
assessment in the high school course assessment programs; and
    7. Percentage of high schools in each State that incorporate 
courses in the high school course assessment programs into requirements 
for high school diplomas or certificates.

VI. Agency Contacts

    For Further Information Contact: James Butler, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 3C108, Washington, DC 20202-
6400. Telephone: (202) 453-7246 or by e-mail: 
racetothetop.assessment@ed.gov.
    If you use a TDD, call the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

VII. Other Information

    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document and a copy of the application package in an accessible format 
(e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) on 
request to the program contact person listed under For Further 
Information Contact in section VI of this notice.
    Electronic Access to This Document: You can view this document, as 
well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal 
Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the 
Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/news/fedregister. To 
use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at 
this site.

    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO Access at: 
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.html.


    Dated: April 6, 2010.
Arne Duncan,
Secretary of Education.
[FR Doc. 2010-8176 Filed 4-8-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P