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SEC. 1503. ASSESSMENT EVALUATION.

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    (a) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall conduct an independent study of assessments used for State accountability purposes and for making decisions about the promotion and graduation of students. Such research shall be conducted over a period not to exceed 5 years and shall address the components described in subsection (d).
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    (b) CONTRACT AUTHORIZED- The Secretary is authorized to award a contract, through a peer review process, to an organization or entity capable of conducting rigorous, independent research. The Assistant Secretary of Educational Research and Improvement shall appoint peer reviewers to evaluate the applications for this contract.
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    (c) STUDY- The study shall —
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    • (1) synthesize and analyze existing research that meets standards of quality and scientific rigor; and
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    • (2) evaluate academic assessment and accountability systems in State educational agencies, local educational agencies, and schools; and
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    • (3) make recommendations to the Department and to the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the United States House of Representatives and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the United States Senate, based on the findings of the study.
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    (d) COMPONENTS OF THE RESEARCH PROGRAM- The study described in subsection (a) shall examine —
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    • (1) the effect of the assessment and accountability systems described in section (c) on students, teachers, parents, families, schools, school districts, and States, including correlations between such systems and —
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      • (A) student academic achievement, progress to the State-defined level of proficiency, and progress toward closing achievement gaps, based on independent measures;
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      • (B) changes in course offerings, teaching practices, course content, and instructional material;
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      • (C) changes in turnover rates among teachers, principals, and pupil-services personnel;
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      • (D) changes in dropout, grade-retention, and graduation rates for students; and
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      • (E) such other effects as may be appropriate;
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    • (2) the effect of the academic assessments on students with disabilities;
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    • (3) the effect of the academic assessments on low, middle, and high socioeconomic status students, limited and nonlimited English proficient students, racial and ethnic minority students, and nonracial or nonethnic minority students;
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    • (4) guidelines for assessing the validity, reliability, and consistency of those systems using nationally recognized professional and technical standards;
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    • (5) the relationship between accountability systems and the inclusion or exclusion of students from the assessment system; and
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    • (6) such other factors as the Secretary finds appropriate.
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    (e) REPORTING- Not later than 3 years after the contract described in subsection (b) is awarded, the organization or entity conducting the study shall submit an interim report to the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the United States House of Representatives and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions of the United States Senate, and to the President and the States, and shall make the report widely available to the public. The organization or entity shall submit a final report to the same recipients as soon as possible after the completion of the study. Additional reports may be periodically prepared and released as necessary.
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    (f) RESERVATION OF FUNDS- The Secretary may reserve up to 15 percent of the funds authorized to be appropriated for this part to carry out the study, except such reservation of funds shall not exceed $1,500,000.