Performance Assessment Language for ESEA

The following language changes to Title I, Part A, section 1111 of NCLB would encourage more productive assessments:

1. Paragraph (b)(3) ACADEMIC ASSESSMENTS-
Summary of key changes: limit mandated state assessments to three grade levels in reading/language arts and mathematics; clarify that assessments shall be standards-based, use multiple measures including performance assessments, and ensure assessment of higher-order thinking and learning.

(C) (ii) [AMEND TO READ] Assessments administered or required by the state shall be comprehensively aligned with the state's challenging academic content and student academic achievement standards, including higher-level cognitive requirements; include performance assessments that evaluate applications of knowledge to real-world tasks; and provide comprehensive, diagnostic information about student attainment of such standards. Said assessments shall be constructed using principles of universal design, while selection of tests, assessments or accommodations for use with specific populations will be made on the basis of the specific needs of the students being tested and professionally-adopted standards for test development and use.

(vi) [REVISE and ADD] involve multiple up-to-date measures of student academic achievement, including performance measures that assess higher-order thinking skills and understanding in and across subject areas, including analysis, synthesis, evaluation, application, and problem-solving.

(aa) Multiple measures involve different sources and kinds of evidence of student learning in a subject or across subject areas.

(bb) They may include state-level assessments; classroom, school and district tests or tasks, including extended writing samples administered on demand or as part of classroom work; projects, performances, or exhibitions; and collected samples of student classroom work, portfolios or learning records.

(cc) Multiple measures allow multiple opportunities to demonstrate achievement, are accessible to students at varying levels of proficiency, and utilize different methods for demonstrating achievement.

2. Create new (b)(4) to replace existing language:

(b) (4) Local Assessments and Other Measures Used in State Assessment Systems.

(i) A state may include local assessment information in its state assessment system.

(A) Local assessments may include common assessments, which are assessments developed for use at the school or district level, and classroom-based evidence obtained from curriculum-embedded schoolwork by students. Such assessments may be used in state assessment systems when they

- assess student learning in light of content standards (state standards or state-approved local standards), including higher order thinking and performance skills;
- meet technical requirements of validity and reliability;
- are fair and unbiased
- include multiple measures, as described in (b)(3)(C)(vi)
- can be used to demonstrate student progress toward and attainment of proficiency
- meet state criteria for inclusion in the state assessment system

(B). Multiple measures of student learning and performance should be used to evaluate school progress. States shall determine how much weight to give each component of an assessment system. Weights may be given to a range of factors, such as statewide assessments and local assessments, and to other data including graduation rates, grade promotion rates, course grades, attendance, and similar data on student outcomes.

(ii) States may use funds provided in this section to develop assessment systems that employ multiple measures

V. State Authority (c) Nothing in this clause shall be interpreted to limit the authority of the State to implement its academic assessment system through assessments adopted by local agencies and reviewed and approved by the State educational agency, provided they meet the requirements of this subsection.

1. Title VI, Part A, Sub-part 1 - "Accountability"

a) Section 6111. Grants for states. Rewrite this section to focus grants to states on the following (as per changes in Title 1, Part A, Section 1111 above):

i. State-wide efforts to develop performance assessment;
ii. Locally developed performance assessments as a measure of student success;
iii. State and local research projects evaluating and validating performance assessments;
iv. Demonstration projects of performance assessments.

SEC. 6112. GRANTS FOR ENHANCED ASSESSMENT INSTRUMENTS.

(a) GRANT PROGRAM AUTHORIZED- From funds made available to carry out this subpart, the Secretary shall award, on a competitive basis, grants to State educational agencies that have submitted an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require, which demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Secretary, that the requirements of this section will be met, for the following:

(1) To enable States (or consortia of States) to collaborate with institutions of higher education, other research institutions, or other organizations to improve the quality, validity, and reliability of State and local academic assessments, including formative assessments, beyond the requirements for such assessments described in section 1111(b)(3).
(2) To measure student academic achievement using multiple measures of student academic achievement from multiple sources.
(3) To chart student progress over time.
(4) To evaluate student academic achievement through the development of comprehensive academic assessment instruments, such as performance, technology-based, and curriculum-embedded academic assessments.
(i) Pilot program to develop high quality state and local performance assessments. The federal government shall provide funding to enable states to develop or expand state or local performance assessments that will be used, when ready, as part of state assessment systems.

(A) States will establish criteria by which LEAs or schools may apply for funding to develop local performance assessments. Priority will be given to districts or schools with highest percentages of students in poverty or whose first language is not English.

(B) The funds may be used to support formative assessments that are performance-based and that enable schools and teachers to provide detailed feedback to students to enable them to improve their learning.

(C) States may retain up to 20 percent of the funds allocated under this provision to provide assistance to LEAs and schools in developing the program, or to collaborate with other states in sharing knowledge on assessment development and use, or to evaluate the local assessments.

(D) Professional development for educators to help develop and learn to use and score the local assessments and other assessments to strengthen teaching and learning is a permissible use of the funds.

(E) A minimum of $10 million per year will be allocated to any state receiving Title I support to develop such a system, with additional sums provided for states with more students. $200 million shall be authorized to be expended in the first year of the pilot program and at least that sum each year thereafter.

(F) Any state which has already begun to develop such a system is eligible for this support in order to strengthen or expand its local assessments.

(iii) An additional $100 million is authorized to enable organizations that have expertise in performance assessments to provide support to states and localities for development, implementation, evaluation and improvement of state and local performance assessment systems. This funding shall also be used to disseminate ideas developed in one state to other states. It may be used to develop tools states could use, such as various methods for weighting indicators used in the assessment and improvement system, or improved means of evaluating assessments systems and the consequences of their use.