Planning for Education Standards

PEMD-93-21R: Published: Apr 12, 1993. Publicly Released: Apr 12, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed proposed policy and oversight for education standards, focusing on: (1) the functions needed to certify proposed voluntary national education standards and create a system of assessments; (2) whether the proposed National Education Standards and Assessments Council (NESAC) and the National Education Goals Panel (NEGP) can perform these functions; and (3) how Congress can avoid overlap and conflict of responsibility among several existing and proposed governing bodies. GAO found that: (1) NESAC and NEGP need to review and certify content standards, design an assessment system, review national testing assessments, and evaluate the effectiveness of the assessment system; (2) NESAC will require more members with technical expertise to properly assess technical issues; (3) NESAC and NEGP will need to coordinate the review of content standards and the development of school delivery standards; (4) NESAC is not designed to deal with technical reviews of tests for their alignment with content standards; (5) proposed legislation does not address assessment system design or evaluation; (6) NEGP is constituted to carry out negotiation and representation functions necessary to policy decisions, but it will need a mechanism to provide technical expertise; and (7) NESAC and NEGP will assume many of the representational and policy functions now assigned to the National Assessment of Education Progress program's governing body, thus Congress will have to redesign the program's governance to avoid conflicts of responsibility.

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