The U.S. Department of Education has awarded more than $15.1 million in Enhanced Assessment Grants (EAGs) to three state education agencies—North Carolina, Maryland and Texas—to develop or enhance their Kindergarten Entry Assessments.
"A child who's ready for kindergarten has a strong start toward success in school and in life," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. "The high-quality assessments that these states will develop will give educators and parents an additional tool for understanding a child's cognitive and non-cognitive development."
While in Arizona later today, Secretary Duncan will highlight that the state is part of a consortium of states receiving grants on behalf of North Carolina's application. The consortium's funds will be used to enhance the Kindergarten portion of a K-3 formative assessment system. Secretary Duncan will highlight the grants at a town hall about expanding access to early learning programs, an event that is part of the Department's "Strong Start, Bright Future" back-to-school bus tour.
The primary measure of school's success under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is proficiency on state assessments. The EAGs can be used to improve the quality, validity, and reliability of state academic assessments; measure student academic achievement using multiple measures; chart student progress over time; and evaluate student academic achievement through the development of comprehensive academic assessment instruments.
North Carolina's award amounts to more than $6.1 million. In addition to Arizona, other states in the consortium include Delaware, Iowa, Maine, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington DC and South Carolina as a collaborating state. The grant will be used to enhance a K-3 assessment system, helping improve student outcomes and promote early learning.
The Maryland grant, in the amount of $4.9 million, is part of a 7-state consortium, including Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada and Ohio. The grant will be used to enhance a multistate, state-of-the-art assessment system composed of a KEA and aligned formative assessments.
Texas's award totaling $3.9 million will fund a proposal to implement the Texas Kindergarten Entry Assessment System (TX-KEA) that enhances the quality and variety of assessment instruments and systems used by the state's school districts, which serve more than 5 million students—including up to 400,000 incoming kindergarten students.
The EAG program is administered by the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. For additional information on the program and these new awards, visit http://www.ed.gov/programs/eag.