Improving Student Testing Act of 2007 (S. 2053)U.S. Senator Russ Feingold has introduced the Improving Student Testing Act of 2007, a bill that will make changes to the No Child Left Behind Act to improve the quality of education assessments used in our schools and support innovative state and local school reform efforts. The legislation is fully paid for through offsets.
Feingold's legislation contains the following provisions:
- Reforming NCLB's Focus on High Stakes Testing - Encourages states and local districts to move away from using high stakes standardized testing as the primary measurement of academic achievement in school accountability decisions. The bill provides competitive grant funds for states and local districts encouraging the creation of higher-quality, authentic measurements of student performance. The legislation also provides states and local districts with flexibility to use high-quality multiple measures of assessment in state testing and accountability systems.
- Reforming Testing Mandates - Promotes state and local control over decisions affecting children's day-to-day classroom experiences, including the frequency and use of high stakes standardized testing. The bill reforms the federal testing mandate to allow annual assessments at least once in grades 3-5, 6-9, and 10-12, instead of the current requirement for annual testing in grades 3-8 and once in high school.
- Revising the One-Size-Fits-All Adequate Yearly Progress Model - Provides flexibility for states to develop alternative accountability models. One example of such models includes growth models, which allow schools to better ensure that each student, regardless of his or her current academic level, continues to make academic progress.
- Addressing the 2014 Deadline - Reforms the 2014 deadline by putting in place a funding trigger that waives the 2014 deadline for any year that Congress does not fully fund Title I, Part A.
- Improving the Department of Education's Peer Review Process - Makes changes to the Department's peer review process to ensure that states have the ability to interact directly with peer review teams. The bill also encourages more consistent decision-making from state to state during the federal peer review process of state testing and accountability systems.
- Disaggregating Graduation Rates - Requires states to disaggregate graduation rates by NCLB's student subgroups, including economically disadvantaged students, students from major racial and ethnic groups, students with disabilities, and students with limited English proficiency.
- Encouraging Capacity Building - Creates a competitive and flexible grant program to provide funds for states and local districts to help build their infrastructure and capacity. Increased access to federal funding for capacity building will help encourage states to develop better assessment and accountability systems including using multiple measures of assessment and growth models.
- Improving Privacy Protections - Includes important measures to help ensure the privacy of personal information contained in state education data systems.