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.