Higher Standards, Better Tests, Race to the Top

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Last night Secretary Arne Duncan pledged to help pay for the development of assessments aligned with the higher common standards that 49 states and territories are developing. In remarks at the Governors Education Symposium in Cary, NC, he said:

“Once new standards are set and adopted, you need to create new tests that measure whether students are meeting those standards. Tonight I am announcing that the Obama administration will help pay for the costs of developing those tests…. The administration will dedicate up to $350 million…to help develop new assessments.”

Duncan also discussed the Race to the Top Fund, which will hold a national competition this year to support state efforts to improve student learning. These grants will focus on four reforms: using data to inform instruction, raising standards, turning around historically low-performing schools, and improving teacher and principal quality.

He will give two more major policy speeches leading up to the request for proposals: on school turnarounds June 22 at the the National Charter School Conference in Washington, DC, and teacher quality July 2 at the National Education Association annual meeting in San Diego. (He spoke last week on using data.)

Read last night’s speech or listen to it. See the press release, which includes a time line for Race to the Top.

ED Staff