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The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLBA) reauthorized the $10 billion Title I program, which seeks to improve the educational achievement of 12.5 million students at risk. In passing the legislation, Congress increased the frequency with which states are to measure student achievement in mathematics and reading and added science as another subject. Congress also authorized funding to support state efforts to develop and implement tests for this purpose. Congress mandated that GAO study the costs of implementing the required tests. This report describes characteristics of states' Title I tests, provides estimates of what states may spend to implement the required tests, and identifies factors that explain variation in expenses.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Education 1. Given the large federal investment in testing and the potential for reducing test expenditures, Education should use its existing mechanisms to facilitate the sharing of information on states' experiences as they attempt to reduce expenses.
Closed - Implemented
In November 2003, the Department of Education responded that it is sharing information on assessments and providing technical assistance directly to the states. Education is also collaborating with entities outside of the agency--such as the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Association of State Testing Directors, and the National Association of Title I Directors--to gather and share assessment information that would facilitate state efforts. In addition, the Department is monitoring the progress of grant recipients under the Enhanced Assessment Instruments program and sharing information with other states on models that are developed.

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