FR Doc 2011-130
[Federal Register: January 7, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 5)]
[Notices]               
[Page 1138-1144]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr07ja11-32]                      

Download: download files




DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

[Docket ID ED-2010-OESE-0018]

 
Enhanced Assessment Instruments

AGENCY: Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of 
Education.

ACTION: Notice of proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and 
selection criteria.

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

SUMMARY: The Secretary of Education proposes priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria under the Enhanced Assessment 
Instruments Grant (EAG) competition. The Secretary may use one or more 
of these priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria 
for competitions using funds from fiscal year (FY) 2010 and later 
years. We take these actions in order to establish selection criteria 
that are likely to recognize high-quality proposals and to help focus 
Federal financial assistance on applications that address pressing 
needs and promising developments related to developing and implementing 
assessments under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, 
as amended (ESEA).

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before February 7, 2011. We 
encourage you to submit comments well in advance of this date.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal 
or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. We will not 
accept comments by fax or by e-mail. Please submit your comments only 
one time in order to ensure that we do not receive duplicate copies. In 
addition, please include the Docket ID and the term ``Enhanced 
Assessment Grants--Comments'' at the top of your comments.
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov to 
submit your comments electronically. Information on using 
Regulations.gov, including instructions for accessing agency documents, 
submitting comments, and viewing the docket, is available on the site 
under ''How To Use This Site.'' A direct link to the docket page is 
also available at http://www.ed.gov/programs/eag.
    Postal Mail, Commercial Delivery, or Hand Delivery. If you mail or 
deliver your comments about these proposed priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria, address them to the Office of 
Elementary and Secondary Education (Attention: Enhanced Assessment 
Grants Comments), U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, 
SW., room 3W210, Washington, DC 20202.

    Privacy Note:  The Department's policy for comments received 
from members of the public (including those comments submitted by 
mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery) is to make these 
submissions available for public viewing in their entirety on the 
Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Therefore, 
commenters should be careful to include in their comments only 
information that they wish to make publicly available on the 
Internet.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Collette Roney. Telephone: (202) 401-
5245 or by e-mail: collette.roney@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the 
Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Invitation to Comment: We invite you to 
submit comments regarding this notice. To ensure that your comments 
have maximum effect in developing the notice of final priorities, 
requirements, definitions, and selection criteria, we urge you to 
identify clearly the specific proposed priority, requirement, 
definition, or selection criterion that each comment addresses.
    We invite you to assist us in complying with the specific 
requirements of Executive Order 12866 and its overall requirement of 
reducing regulatory burden that might result from these proposed 
priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria. Please 
let us know of any further ways we could reduce potential costs or 
increase potential benefits while preserving the effective and 
efficient administration of the program.
    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public 
comments about this notice by accessing Regulations.gov. You may also 
inspect the comments in person, in room 3W210, 400 Maryland Avenue, 
SW., Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Eastern 
time, Monday through Friday of each week except Federal holidays.
    Assistance to Individuals with Disabilities in Reviewing the 
Rulemaking Record: On request we will provide an appropriate 
accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability who 
needs assistance to review the comments or other documents in the 
public rulemaking record for this notice. If you want to schedule an 
appointment for this type of accommodation or auxiliary aid, please 
contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Enhanced Assessment 
Instruments Grant (EAG) program is to enhance the

[[Page 1139]]

quality of assessment instruments and systems used by States for 
measuring the academic achievement and growth of elementary and 
secondary students.
    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 7301a.
    Proposed Priorities:
    Background:
    Proficiency on the State assessments required under Title I, Part A 
of the ESEA is the primary indicator of student academic achievement 
and, hence, a crucial measure of State success in meeting the goals of 
the ESEA. In view of the critical importance of these State 
assessments, section 6112 of the ESEA authorizes the Department, 
through the EAG program, to make competitive grant awards to State 
educational agencies (SEAs) to help them enhance the quality of their 
assessment instruments and assessment systems. The EAG program includes 
four statutory priorities:
    (a) Collaborating with institutions of higher education, other 
research institutions, or other organizations to improve the quality, 
validity, and reliability of State academic assessments beyond the 
requirements for these assessments described in section 1111(b)(3) of 
the ESEA;
    (b) Measuring student academic achievement using multiple measures 
of student academic achievement from multiple sources;
    (c) Charting student progress over time; and
    (d) Evaluating student academic achievement through the development 
of comprehensive academic assessment instruments, such as performance- 
and technology-based academic assessments.
    EAG grantees must address one or more of these statutory 
priorities. Through this notice, the Department proposes two additional 
priorities as well as requirements, definitions, and selection criteria 
that are designed to support States' assessment work and to build upon 
the assessments that the Department is funding through the Race to the 
Top Assessment (RTTA) program.
    Under the RTTA program, the Department awarded grants to two 
consortia, which collectively include 44 States and the District of 
Columbia, to support 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 English language arts and mathematics.
    The Department is also funding work on assessment development 
through the General Supervision Enhancement Grants (GSEG) program, 
which is authorized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. 
The Department recently awarded funds under the GSEG program to support 
two consortia of States in developing alternate assessments based on 
alternate academic achievement standards for students with the most 
significant cognitive disabilities that fit coherently with assessments 
being developed under the RTTA program.
    Section 1111(b)(7) of the ESEA requires States receiving ESEA Title 
I, Part A allocations to administer, on a yearly basis, valid and 
reliable assessments of the English language proficiency of all English 
learners and, under section 3122 of the ESEA, States receiving funds 
under Title III, Part A, Subpart 1 of the ESEA must use the results of 
these English language proficiency assessments for accountability 
purposes. The English language proficiency assessments developed to 
date have been designed to align with English language proficiency 
standards that correspond with State-specific standards in reading/
language arts and mathematics. States need English language proficiency 
assessments, however, that align with English language proficiency 
standards that correspond to standards that prepare students for 
college and the workplace. The Department did not include English 
language proficiency assessments among the priorities established in 
the notice inviting applications for the RTTA program. Accordingly, we 
propose here a priority for the EAG program for projects that propose 
to develop a system of English language proficiency assessments aligned 
with English language proficiency standards that correspond to a common 
set of college- and career-ready standards (as defined in the 
definitions section in this notice) in English language arts and 
mathematics that will be operational by the end of the project period 
(i.e., ready for large-scale administration). These assessments would 
complement the assessments that are being developed under the RTTA 
program.
    This priority would support the development of an English language 
proficiency assessment system for English learners, as specified in the 
priority. This priority would not support the development of English 
language proficiency assessments for English learners with the most 
significant cognitive disabilities who are eligible to participate in 
alternate assessments based on alternate academic achievement standards 
in accordance with 34 CFR 200.6(a)(2). The Department previously 
awarded a grant to support the development of alternate assessments of 
English language proficiency for such English learners through a prior 
EAG competition. In addition, through the GSEG program, the Department 
is currently funding the development of alternate assessments based on 
alternate academic achievement standards that measure student knowledge 
and skills against a set of college- and career-ready standards in 
English language arts and mathematics held in common by multiple 
States. We believe that these investments in alternate assessments will 
help prepare the field for developing the next generation of English 
language proficiency assessments for English learners with the most 
significant cognitive disabilities.
    The Department notes that, while this priority would not support 
the development of English language proficiency assessments for English 
learners with the most significant cognitive disabilities, all States 
remain responsible, in accordance with section 1111(b)(7) of the ESEA, 
for assessing the English language proficiency of all English learners, 
including English learners with the most significant cognitive 
disabilities. We are therefore including in the priority a requirement 
that an applicant describe the strategies it and, if it applies as part 
of a consortium, all States in the consortium would use to assess the 
English language proficiency of English learners with the most 
significant cognitive disabilities in lieu of including them in the 
operational administration of the assessments developed for other 
English learners under a grant from this competition.
    The Department plans to fund grant awards for at least a three-year 
project period to develop operational assessments for an English 
language proficiency assessment system.
    During public meetings the Department held to gain input on the 
design of the RTTA program's fiscal year (FY) 2010 competition, and in 
other arenas, States indicated to the Department their interest in 
continuing to work together in consortia to develop assessments aligned 
with common State-developed standards. Therefore, we propose a priority 
for the EAG program that would support projects that propose 
collaborative efforts among States.
    The Secretary may apply one or more of these priorities in any year 
in which the program is in effect.

[[Page 1140]]

    Proposed Priority 1--English Language Proficiency Assessment 
System.
    Background:
    English learners (as defined in this notice) must acquire both 
English language proficiency and content area knowledge in order to 
succeed in school and graduate from high school college- and career-
ready. In order to inform teaching, learning, and program improvement, 
educators need data from assessments about the English language 
proficiency level of each English learner and his or her progress 
toward attainment of proficiency in English. Assessments that provide 
that information would also assist in building the knowledge base about 
promising practices to improve English proficiency and thus support 
efforts to improve instruction for English learners.
    Proposed Priority 1 would support the development of high-quality 
English language proficiency assessments that are aligned with English 
language proficiency standards that in turn correspond to a common set 
of college- and career-ready standards in English language arts and 
mathematics. States in a consortium developing these English language 
proficiency assessments would use a common definition of ``English 
learner'' and common criteria for exiting a student from English 
learner status in order to ensure consistent identification of students 
as English learners across member States. These assessments also would 
be used to help determine the effectiveness of English language 
instruction educational programs.
    Proposed Priority 1:
    To meet this priority, an applicant must propose a comprehensive 
plan to develop an English language proficiency assessment system that 
is valid, reliable, and fair for its intended purpose. Such a plan must 
include the following features:
    (a) Design. The assessment system must--
    (1) Be designed for implementation in multiple States;
    (2) Be based on a common definition of ``English learner'' adopted 
by the applicant State and, if the applicant applies as part of a 
consortium, adopted and held in common by all States in the consortium;
    (2) At a minimum, include diagnostic (placement) and summative 
assessments;
    (3) Measure students' English language proficiency against a set of 
English language proficiency standards held by the applicant State and, 
if the applicant applies as part of a consortium, held in common by all 
States in the consortium, that correspond to a common set of college- 
and career-ready standards (as defined in this notice) in English 
language arts and mathematics;
    (4) Cover the full range of the English language proficiency 
standards across the four language domains of reading, writing, 
speaking, and listening, as required by section 3113(b)(2) of the ESEA;
    (5) Measure the linguistic components of language (e.g., phonology, 
morphology, syntax, vocabulary);
    (6) Produce results that indicate whether individual students have 
attained the English language proficiency necessary to participate 
fully in academic instruction in English and meet or exceed college- 
and career-ready standards;
    (7) Provide at least an annual measure of English language 
proficiency and student progress in learning English for English 
learners in grades kindergarten through 12 in each of the four language 
domains;
    (8) Assess all English learners, including English learners who are 
also students with disabilities and students with limited or no formal 
education, except for English learners with the most significant 
cognitive disabilities who are eligible to participate in alternate 
assessments based on alternate academic achievement standards; and
    (9) Be accessible to all English learners, including by providing 
appropriate accommodations for English learners with disabilities, 
except for English learners with the most significant cognitive 
disabilities who are eligible to participate in alternate assessments 
based on alternate academic achievement standards.
    (b) Technical Quality. The assessment system must measure students' 
English language proficiency in ways that--
    (1) Are consistent with nationally recognized professional and 
technical standards; and
    (2) As appropriate, elicit complex student demonstrations of 
comprehension and production of academic English (e.g., performance 
tasks, selected responses, brief or extended constructed responses).
    (c) Data. The assessment system must produce data, that--
    (1) Include student attainment of English language proficiency and 
student progress in learning English,
    (2) Indicate students' abilities in each of the four language 
domains and provide a comprehensive English language proficiency score 
based on all four domains, for students at each proficiency level; and
    (3) Can be used to inform--
    (i) Identification of students as English learners;
    (ii) Decisions about whether a student should exit from English 
language instruction educational programs;
    (iii) Determinations of school, local educational agency (LEA), and 
State effectiveness for the purposes of accountability under Title I 
and Title III of the ESEA;
    (iv) Determinations of individual principal and teacher 
effectiveness for purposes of evaluation;
    (v) Determinations of principal and teacher professional 
development and support needs; and
    (vi) Improvement in teaching, learning, and language instruction 
education programs.
    (d) Compatibility. The assessment system must use compatible 
approaches to technology, assessment administration, scoring, 
reporting, and other factors that facilitate the coherent inclusion of 
the assessments within States' student assessment systems.
    (e) Students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. The 
comprehensive plan to develop an English language proficiency 
assessment system must include the strategies the applicant State and, 
if the applicant is part of a consortium, all States in the consortium 
plan to use to assess the English language proficiency of English 
learners with the most significant cognitive disabilities who are 
eligible to participate in alternate assessments based on alternate 
academic achievement standards in accordance with 34 CFR 200.6(a)(2) in 
lieu of including those students in the operational administration of 
the assessments developed for other English learners under a grant from 
this competition.
    Proposed Priority 2--Collaborative Efforts Among States.
    Background:
    Two consortia of States are collaborating under the RTTA program to 
develop new assessment systems that measure student knowledge and 
skills against a common set of college- and career-ready standards in 
English language arts and mathematics. States also have indicated to 
the Department their interest in continuing to work together in 
consortia to develop assessments aligned to common standards. Because 
of the complexity of developing and implementing assessments and other 
assessment-related instruments, collaborative efforts between and among 
States can yield approaches that build on each State's expertise and 
experience as well as approaches that generate efficiencies in 
development, administration, costs, and

[[Page 1141]]

uses of results. In previous competitions for EAG funds, which also 
included a priority for collaboration among States, States often 
responded by proposing consortia to complete a range of projects. In 
light of the interest among States, the benefits of collaboration, and 
the prior practice within the EAG program, the Department also proposes 
a priority for projects that involve collaborative efforts among 
States.
    Proposed Priority:
    To meet this priority, an applicant must--
    (a) Include a minimum of 15 States in the consortium;
    (b) 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 competition;
    (c) Provide a description of the consortium's structure and 
operation. The description must include--
    (1) The organizational structure of the consortium (e.g., 
differentiated roles that a member State may hold);
    (2) The consortium's method and process (e.g., consensus, majority) 
for making different types of decisions (e.g., policy, operational);
    (3) The protocols by which the consortium will operate, including 
the protocols for member States to change roles in the consortium;
    (4) The consortium's plan, including the process and timeline, for 
setting key policies and definitions for implementing the proposed 
project, including, for any assessments developed through a project 
funded by this grant, the common set of standards upon which to base 
the assessments, a common set of performance-level descriptors, a 
common set of achievement standards, common assessment administration 
procedures, common item-release and test-security policies, and a 
common set of policies and procedures for accommodations and student 
participation; and
    (5) The consortium's plan for managing grant funds received under 
this competition; and
    (d) Provide a memorandum of understanding or other binding 
agreement executed by each State in the consortium that includes an 
assurance that the State will adopt or utilize any instrument, 
including to the extent applicable, any standards or assessments, 
developed under the proposed project no later than the end of the 
project period.
    Types of Priorities:
    When inviting applications for a competition using one or more 
priorities, we designate the type of each priority as absolute, 
competitive preference, or invitational through a notice in the Federal 
Register. The effect of each type of priority follows:
    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only 
applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).
    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference 
priority, we give competitive preference to an application by (1) 
awarding additional points, depending on the extent to which the 
application meets the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) 
selecting an application that meets the priority over an application of 
comparable merit that does not meet the priority (34 CFR 
75.105(c)(2)(ii)).
    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are 
particularly interested in applications that meet the priority. 
However, we do not give an application that meets the priority a 
preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).
    PROPOSED REQUIREMENTS:
    Background:
    Like the priorities and selection criteria that we are proposing in 
this notice for the EAG program, the proposed program requirements for 
this program are closely aligned with those that we established for the 
RTTA program. These proposed requirements have been designed to ensure 
that any assessments or other assessment-related instruments developed 
under a grant for this program are operational by the end of the grant 
period, meet high standards of technical quality, and use the benefits 
of technology as well as enable wide-spread availability and usability 
of the assessments or other assessment-related instruments developed.
    Proposed Requirements:
    The Secretary proposes the following requirements for this program. 
We may apply one or more of these requirements in any year in which 
this program is in effect. An eligible applicant awarded a grant under 
this program must--
    (a) Evaluate the validity, reliability, and fairness of any 
assessments or other assessment-related instruments developed under a 
grant from this competition, and make available documentation of 
evaluations of technical quality through formal mechanisms (e.g., peer-
reviewed journals) and informal mechanisms (e.g., newsletters), both in 
print and electronically;
    (b) Actively participate in any applicable technical assistance 
activities conducted or facilitated by the Department or its designees 
(e.g., the RTTA program), and participate in other activities as 
determined by the Department;
    (c) Develop a strategy to make student-level data that result from 
any assessments or other assessment-related instruments developed under 
a grant from this competition available on an ongoing basis for 
research, including for prospective linking, validity, and program 
improvement studies;
    (d) Ensure that any assessments or other assessment-related 
instruments developed under a grant from this competition will be 
operational at the end of the project period (e.g., ready for large-
scale administration);
    (e) Maximize the interoperability of any assessments and other 
assessment-related instruments developed with funds from this 
competition across technology platforms and the ability for States to 
move their assessments from one technology platform to another by doing 
the following, as applicable, for any assessments developed with funds 
from this competition--
    (1) Developing all assessment items in accordance with an industry-
recognized open-licensed interoperability standard that is approved by 
the Department during the grant period, without non-standard extensions 
or additions; and
    (2) 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;
    (f) Unless otherwise protected by law or agreement as proprietary 
information, making any assessment content (i.e., assessments and 
assessment items) and other assessment-related instruments developed 
with funds from this competition freely available to States, technology 
platform providers, and others that request it for purposes of 
administering assessments, provided that those requesting assessment 
content comply with consortium or State requirements for test or item 
security; and
    (g) For any assessments and other assessment-related instruments 
developed with funds from this competition, using technology to the 
maximum extent appropriate to develop, administer, and score the 
assessments and report results.
    Proposed Definitions:
    Background:
    Several important terms associated with the EAG program's proposed 
priorities and selection criteria are not defined in the EAG statute.
    Proposed Definitions
    The Secretary proposes the following definitions for the EAG 
program. We may apply one or more of these

[[Page 1142]]

definitions in any year in which this program is in effect.
    Common set of college- and career-ready standards means a set of 
academic content standards for grades K-12 held in common by a 
significant number of States, 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 by the time of high 
school graduation; and (c) for any consortium of States applying under 
the EAG program, are substantially identical across all States in the 
consortium.
    A State in the consortium 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.
    English learner means a student who is an English learner as 
defined by the applicant consistent with the definition of a student 
who is ``limited English proficient'' as that term is defined in 
section 9101(25) of the ESEA. If the applicant submits an application 
on behalf of a consortium, member States must develop and adopt a 
uniform definition of the term during the period of the grant.
    Student with a disability means a student who has been identified 
as a child with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities 
Education Act, as amended.
    Proposed Selection Criteria:
    Background:
    We expect that any assessments funded under this competition will 
be of similar technical quality to those funded under the RTTA program. 
Therefore, the proposed selection criteria are adapted from the 
selection criteria that the Department used to review applications 
under that program.
    Proposed Selection Criteria:
    The Secretary proposes the following selection criteria for 
evaluating an application under this program. We may apply one or more 
of these criteria in any year in which this program is in effect. In 
the notice inviting applications or the application package or both we 
will announce the selection criteria to be applied and the maximum 
possible points assigned to each criterion.
    (a) Theory of action. The Secretary reviews each application to 
determine the extent to which the eligible applicant's theory of action 
is logical, coherent, and credible, and will result in improved student 
outcomes. In determining the extent to which the theory of action has 
these attributes, we will consider the description of, and rationale 
for--
    (1) How the assessment results will be used (e.g., at the State, 
LEA, school, classroom, and student levels);
    (2) How the assessments and assessment results will be incorporated 
into coherent educational systems of the State(s) participating in the 
grant (i.e., systems that include standards, assessments, curriculum, 
instruction, and professional development); and
    (3) How those educational systems as a whole will improve student 
achievement.
    (b) Assessment design. The Secretary reviews each application to 
determine the extent to which the design of the eligible applicant's 
proposed assessments is innovative, feasible, and consistent with the 
theory of action. In determining the extent to which the design has 
these attributes, we will consider--
    (1) The number and types of assessments, as appropriate (e.g., 
diagnostic assessments, summative assessments);
    (2) How the assessments will measure student knowledge and skills 
against the full range of the relevant standards, including the 
standards against which student achievement has traditionally been 
difficult to measure, provide an accurate measure of student 
proficiency on those standards, including for students who are high- 
and low-performing in academic areas, and provide an accurate measure 
of student progress in the relevant area over a full academic year;
    (3) How the assessments will produce the required student 
performance data, as described in the priority;
    (4) How and when during the academic year different types of 
student data will be available to inform and guide instruction, 
interventions, and professional development;
    (5) The types of data that will be produced by the assessments, 
which must include student achievement data and other data specified in 
the relevant priority;
    (6) The uses of the data that will be produced by the assessments, 
including (but not limited to)--
    (i) Determining individual student achievement and student 
progress; determining individual principal and teacher effectiveness, 
if applicable, and professional development and support needs;
    (ii) Informing teaching, learning, and program improvement; and
    (7) The frequency and timing of administration of the assessments, 
and the rationale for these;
    (8) The number and types of items (e.g., performance tasks, 
selected responses, observational rating, brief or extended constructed 
responses) and the distribution of item types within the assessments, 
including the extent to which the items will be varied and elicit 
complex student demonstrations or applications of knowledge, skills, 
and approaches to learning, as appropriate (descriptions should include 
a concrete example of each item type proposed); and the rationale for 
using these item types and their distributions;
    (9) The assessments' administration mode (e.g., paper-and-pencil, 
teacher rating, computer-based, or other electronic device), and the 
rationale for the mode;
    (10) The methods for scoring student performance on the 
assessments, the estimated turnaround times for scoring, and the 
rationale for these; and
    (11) The reports that will be produced based on the assessments, 
and for each report, its intended use, target audience (e.g., students, 
parents, teachers, administrators, policymakers), and the key data it 
will present.
    (c) Assessment development plan. The Secretary reviews each 
application to determine the extent to which the eligible applicant's 
plan for developing the proposed assessments will ensure that the 
assessments are ready by the end of the grant period 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 assessment development plan has these attributes, we will 
consider--
    (1)(i) The approaches for developing assessment items (e.g., 
evidence-centered design, universal design) and the rationale for using 
those approaches; and the development phases and processes to be 
implemented consistent with the approaches; and
    (ii) The types of personnel involved in each development phase and 
process (e.g., practitioners, content experts, assessment experts, 
experts in assessing English learners, linguists, experts in second 
language acquisition, experts in assessing students with disabilities, 
psychometricians, cognitive scientists, institution of higher education 
representatives, experts on career readiness standards);
    (2) The approach and strategy for designing and developing 
accommodations, accommodation policies, and methods for standardizing 
the use of those accommodations for students with disabilities;

[[Page 1143]]

    (3) The approach and strategy for ensuring scalable, accurate, and 
consistent scoring of items, including the approach and moderation 
system for any human-scored items and the extent to which teachers are 
trained and involved in the administration and scoring of assessments;
    (4) The approach and strategy for developing the reporting system; 
and
    (5) The overall approach to quality control and the strategy for 
field-testing 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.
    (d) Research and evaluation. The Secretary reviews each application 
to determine 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. In determining the 
extent to which the research and evaluation plan has these attributes, 
we will consider--
    (1) The plan for identifying and employing psychometric techniques 
suitable for verifying, as appropriate to each assessment, its 
construct, consequential, and predictive validity; external validity; 
reliability; fairness; precision across the full performance continuum; 
and comparability within and across grade levels; and
    (2) 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.
    (e) Professional capacity and outreach. The Secretary reviews each 
application to determine the extent to which the eligible applicant's 
plan for implementing the proposed assessments 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--
    (1) The plan for supporting teachers and administrators in 
implementing the assessments and for developing, in an ongoing manner, 
their professional capacity to use the assessments and results to 
inform and improve instructional practice; and
    (2) The strategy and plan for informing the public and key 
stakeholders (including teachers, administrators, families, 
legislators, and policymakers) in each State or in each member State 
within a consortium about the assessments and for building support from 
the public and those stakeholders.
    (f) Technology approach. The Secretary reviews each application to 
determine the extent to which the eligible applicant would use 
technology effectively to improve the quality, accessibility, cost-
effectiveness, and efficiency of the proposed assessments. In 
determining the extent to which the eligible applicant is using 
technology effectively, we will consider----
    (1) The description of, and rationale for, the ways in which 
technology will be used in assessment design, development, 
administration, scoring, and reporting; the types of technology to be 
used (including whether the technology is existing and commercially 
available or is being newly developed); and how other States or 
organizations can re-use in a cost-effective manner any technology 
platforms and technology components developed under this grant; and
    (2) How technology-related implementation or deployment barriers 
will be addressed (e.g., issues relating to local access to internet-
based assessments).
    (g) Project management. The Secretary reviews each application to 
determine the extent to which the eligible applicant's project 
management plan will result in implementation of the proposed 
assessments 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----
    (1) The project workplan and timeline, including, for each key 
deliverable (e.g., necessary procurements and any needed approvals for 
human subjects research, assessment, scoring and moderation system, 
professional development activities), the major milestones, deadlines, 
and entities responsible for execution;
    (2) The approach to identifying, managing, and mitigating risks 
associated with the project;
    (3) The extent to which the eligible applicant's budget is adequate 
to support the development of assessments that meet the requirements of 
the priority and 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;
    (4) For each applicant State or for each member State within a 
consortium, the estimated costs for the ongoing administration, 
maintenance, and enhancement of the operational assessments after the 
end of the project period for the grant and a plan for how the State 
will fund the assessments over time (including by allocating to the 
assessments funds for existing State or local assessments that will be 
replaced by the new assessments); and
    (5) The quality and commitment of the personnel who will carry out 
the proposed project, including the qualifications, relevant training 
and experience of the project director and other key project personnel, 
and the extent to which the time commitments of the project director 
and other key project personnel are appropriate and adequate to meet 
the objectives of the proposed project.
    Final Priorities, Requirements, Definitions, and Selection 
Criteria:
    We will announce the final priorities, requirements, definitions, 
and selection criteria in a notice in the Federal Register. We will 
determine the final priorities, requirements, definitions, and 
selection criteria after considering responses to this notice and other 
information available to the Department. This notice does not preclude 
us from proposing additional priorities, requirements, definitions, or 
selection criteria, subject to meeting applicable rulemaking 
requirements.

    Note:  This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use one or more of these proposed priorities, 
requirements, definitions, and selection criteria, we invite 
applications through a notice in the Federal Register.

    Executive Order 12866: Under Executive Order 12866, the Secretary 
must determine whether this regulatory action is ``significant'' and 
therefore subject to the requirements of the Executive Order and 
subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Section 
3(f) of Executive Order 12866 defines a ``significant regulatory 
action'' as an action likely to result in a rule that may: (1) Have an 
annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, or adversely 
affect a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the 
environment, public health or safety, or State, local or tribal 
governments or communities in a material way (also referred to as an 
``economically significant'' rule); (2) create serious inconsistency or 
otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency; 
(3) materially alter the budgetary impacts of entitlement grants, user 
fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients 
thereof; or (4) raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal 
mandates, the President's priorities, or

[[Page 1144]]

the principles set forth in the Executive Order. The Secretary has 
determined that this regulatory action is not significant under section 
3(f) of the Executive Order.
    This notice has been reviewed in accordance with Executive Order 
12866. Under the terms of the order, we have assessed the potential 
costs and benefits of this proposed regulatory action.
    The potential costs associated with this proposed regulatory action 
are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have 
determined as necessary for administering this program effectively and 
efficiently.
    In assessing the potential costs and benefits--both quantitative 
and qualitative--of this proposed regulatory action, we have determined 
that the benefits of the proposed priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria justify the costs.
    More specifically, Title I, Part A of the ESEA requires States to 
annually assess the English language proficiency of English learners. 
The English language proficiency assessment systems to be developed 
under the proposed priority would be available for use by multiple 
States and could be used by States to meet their obligations under 
Title I, Part A. In addition, the requirements that the assessments be 
based on a set of English language proficiency standards held by the 
applicant State and, if the applicant applies as part of a consortium, 
held in common by all States in the consortium, that correspond to a 
common set of college- and career-ready standards in English language 
arts and mathematics would result in States that adopt the assessments 
being able to collect comparable data regarding the English language 
proficiency of their English learners. The proposed selection criteria 
would help ensure that the assessments developed by grantees are of 
high quality, meet relevant technical standards, and align with other 
assessment work funded by the Department. The proposed priority for 
consortia would encourage States to work together on developing 
assessments and other assessment-related instruments rather than 
developing or using separate assessments, thus creating cost 
efficiencies.
    We have determined, also, that this proposed regulatory action does 
not unduly interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the 
exercise of their governmental functions.
    Intergovernmental Review: This program is subject to Executive 
Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. One of the 
objectives of the Executive Order is to foster an intergovernmental 
partnership and a strengthened federalism. The Executive Order relies 
on processes developed by State and local governments for coordination 
and review of proposed Federal financial assistance. This document 
provides notification of our specific plans regarding this program.
    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document in an accessible format (e.g., Braille, large print, 
audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to the contact persons 
listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    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. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. 
Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in 
the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512-1530.

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

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.368A.

    Dated: January 4, 2011.
Thelma Mel[eacute]ndez de Santa Ana,
Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.
[FR Doc. 2011-130 Filed 1-6-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P