Race to the Top Assessment Program

Aligned to goals:
  • 1.4: Increase the transparency of the grant application and award process.
  • 1.5: Maintain up-to-date information on the Department's website about Department offices and key programs website.
  • 1.6: Foster more transparency in the larger educational community.
  • 2.1: Provide more insight into the agency's decision-making process.
  • 2.3: Collect and use input from the public and other stakeholders in decision-making.
  • 3.1: Enhance collaboration with other federal and non-federal agencies, the public, and non-profit and private entities.

The Race to the Top Assessment Program is a $350 million grant competition designed to fill an urgent need in the nation's educational system. It seeks to provide valid and instructionally useful assessments that provide accurate information about what students know and can do. These assessments will be anchored in standards designed to enable every student to gain the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in college or the workplace by the time he or she graduates from high school.

These grants will support the work of a consortium of States that develop and implement common, high-quality assessments aligned with common college- and career-ready K–12 standards. The use of common assessments based on common standards will promote a culture of higher expectations as well as collaboration on best practices. States will use these assessment systems to expand instructional practice and support continuous improvement that meaningfully improves school and educator effectiveness and enhances program impact.

Transparency and Public Input

To ensure that this program makes the most effective use of funds, the Department held 10 public meetings to accept input from experts and other stakeholders. At these meetings, held between November 2009 and January 2010, 42 invited assessment experts joined representatives from 37 State education agencies and nearly 1,000 members of the public for over 50 hours of public and expert contribution on critical questions about assessment and assessment design. Additionally, the Department solicited written input and received over 200 comments.

All written input as well as the materials presented at the public input meetings and transcripts are available on the Race to the Top Assessment Program's website at http://www.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/index.html.

Notice Inviting Applications

On April 9, 2010, the Department published the final priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria for the Race to the Top Assessment competition. These materials, as well as the application and answers to frequently asked questions, are all posted on our website and accessible to the public at http://www.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment.

To assist prospective applicants in preparing an application and to respond to questions, the Department hosted a Technical Assistance Meeting on April 22, 2010, and hosted a number of conference calls in which prospective applicants could ask questions of the Department's program team. For those unable to attend, transcripts of all these events were made available on the Race to the Top Assessment program website at http://www.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment.

As with the Race to the Top State competition, all applications—both successful and unsuccessful—as well as reviewers' comments and scores will be posted.

Open Licensing Requirements

As part of their grants, States are required to make any work developed with the funds freely available to others. States may do this by posting their work on a website that we identify (unless the work is otherwise protected by law or agreement as proprietary information).