Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?
105th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 2d Session                                                     105-409
_______________________________________________________________________


 
          PROHIBITION ON FEDERALLY SPONSORED NATIONAL TESTING
_______________________________________________________________________


January 30, 1998.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Mr. Goodling, from the Committee on Education and the Workforce, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                    SUPPLEMENTAL AND MINORITY VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 2846]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on Education and the Workforce, to whom was 
referred the bill (H.R. 2846) to prohibit spending Federal 
education funds on national testing without explicit and 
specific legislation, having considered the same, report 
favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend that the bill 
as amended do pass.
  The amendment is as follows:
  Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu 
thereof the following:

SECTION 1. FINDINGS.

  The Congress finds the following:
          (1) High State and local standards in reading, mathematics, 
        and other core academic subjects are essential to the future 
        well-being of elementary and secondary education in this 
        country.
          (2) State and local control of education is the hallmark of 
        education in the United States.
          (3) Each of the 50 States already utilizes numerous tests to 
        measure student achievement, including State and commercially 
        available assessments. State assessments are based primarily 
        upon State and locally developed academic standards.
          (4) Public Law 105-78, the Labor, Health and Human Services 
        and Education Appropriations Act, 1998, ensures that Federal 
        funds may not be used to field test, pilot test, implement, 
        administer, or distribute in any way, any federally sponsored 
        national test in fiscal year 1998, requires the National 
        Academy of Sciences to conduct a study to determine whether an 
        equivalency scale can be developed that would allow existing 
        tests to be compared one to another, and permits very limited 
        test development activites in fourth grade reading and eighth 
        grade mathematics in fiscal year 1998.
          (5) There is no specific or explicit authority in current 
        Federal law authorizing the proposed federally sponsored 
        national tests in fourth grade reading and eighth grade 
        mathematics.
          (6) The decision of whether or not this country implements, 
        administers, disseminates, or otherwise has federally sponsored 
        national tests in fourth grade reading and eighth grade 
        mathematics or any other subject, will be determined primarily 
        through the normal legislative process involving Congress and 
        the respective authorizing committees.

SEC. 2. PROHIBITION ON FEDERALLY SPONSORED TESTING.

  Part C of the General Education Provisions Act is amended by adding 
at the end the following:

``Sec. 447. Prohibition on federally sponsored testing

  ``(a) General Prohibition.--Notwithstanding any other provision of 
Federal law and, except as provided in sections 305 through 311 of 
Public Law 105-78, the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education 
Appropriations Act, 1998, funds provided to the Department of Education 
or to an applicable program under this Act or any other Act, may not be 
used to develop, plan, implement (including pilot testing or field 
testing), or administer any federally sponsored national test in 
reading, mathematics, or any other subject that is not specifically and 
explicitly provided for in authorizing legislation enacted into law.
  ``(b) Exceptions.--Subsection (a) shall not apply to the Third 
International Math and Science Study or other international comparative 
assessments developed under authority of section 406(a)(6) of the 
National Education Statistics Act of 1994, and administered to only a 
representative sample of pupils in the United States and in foreign 
nations.''.

                                Purpose

    The purpose of the bill is to reaffirm that the decision of 
whether or not to have Federally-sponsored national tests 
(hereinafter referred to as ``Federal tests'') rests primarily 
with Congress and the legislative process.

                            Committee Action

    On April 29, 1997, the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, 
Youth and Families held a hearing on the President's proposal 
for Federal voluntary tests in reading in the 4th grade and 
mathematics in the 8th grade. U.S. Secretary of Education 
Richard Riley was the sole witness.
    On January 21, 1998, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce held a field hearing at Frost Middle School in 
Granada Hills, California on the issue of national testing, 
with a particular focus upon the Administration's plan for 
national tests in 4th grade reading and 8th grade mathematics. 
Ms. Yvonne Larsen, President of the California State Board of 
Education, testified on the first panel. Witnesses on the 
second panel included: Mr. Paul Clopton, Cofounder of 
Mathematically Correct; Ms. Roxanne Petteway, a parent from 
Walnut, California; Ms. Rebecca Bocchino, a parent from San 
Clemente, California; and Ms. Teresa Bustillos, a parent and 
representative of the Mexican American Legal Defense and 
Education Fund (MALDEF), Los Angeles, California office.

                           Legislative Action

    On September 16, 1997, the House adopted an amendment, 
offered by Congressman Bill Goodling (R-PA), to prohibit the 
spending of any Federal funds under the FY 1998 Labor, Health 
and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies 
Appropriations bill to develop, plan, implement or administer 
President Clinton's new Federal tests in 4th grade reading and 
8th grade mathematics. The amendment was adopted by a vote of 
295 to 125. Subsequent to the vote on this amendment, an 
agreement was reached on this issue in the appropriations 
conference on the FY 1998 Labor, Health and Human Services, and 
Education Appropriations bill. This agreement, contained in the 
FY 1998 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education 
Appropriations Act (P.L. 105-78; enacted November 13, 1997), 
prohibits any Federal money from being used for field testing, 
pilot testing, administration or distribution of any new 
Federal tests in FY 1998.
    On November 6, 1997, Rep. Bill Goodling (R-PA), Chairman of 
the Committee on Education and the Workforce, introduced H.R. 
2846, a bill to prohibit Federal testing without explicit and 
specific legislative authority.
    During Full Committee markup on January 28, 1998, an 
amendment in the nature of a substitute was offered by Mr. 
Goodling (R-PA) and adopted by a voice vote. Mr. Andrews (D-NJ) 
moved to postpone consideration of H.R. 2846 and was defeated 
by a vote of 15 to 23. H.R. 2846 was ordered reported, as 
amended, out of Full Committee by a vote of 23 to 16.

                                Summary

                   summary of h.r. 2846 as introduced

    H. R. 2846 as introduced amends the General Education 
Provisions Act and the Fund for the Improvement of Education to 
prohibit Federal funds from being used to develop, plan, 
implement (including pilot testing or field testing), or 
administer any national tests in reading, mathematics, or any 
other subject that is not specifically and explicitly provided 
for in law.
    An exception is provided for the Third International Math 
and Science Study (TIMSS). In addition, because the regular 
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is 
specifically and explicitly authorized in sections 411-413 of 
the National Education Statistics Act of 1994, it would be 
unaffected by the legislation.

                       changes made to h.r. 2846

    The Committee substitute amends H.R. 2846 as introduced to 
add six findings. The findings relate to state and local 
control of education; state and local assessments; the actions 
on testing taken under the FY 1998 Labor, HHS, and Education 
appropriations bill; the lack of specific and explicit 
authority for national testing; and the role of Congress in 
testing.
    The Committee substitute amends only the General Education 
Provisions Act rather than both the General Education 
Provisions Act and the Fund for the Improvement of Education. 
Because the General Education Provisions Act applies to all 
education programs, no amendment is needed to the Fund for the 
Improvement of Education.
    The Committee substitute continues to prohibit any national 
testing without specific and explicit authority. However, to 
conform with the FY 1998 appropriations bill, the limited 
testdevelopment activities that were allowed to go forward only in FY 
1998 would be excepted from the prohibition.
    The Committee substitute modifies the exception to the 
prohibition for the TIMSS test to include any future 
international assessments which are administered to a 
representative sample of pupils in the United States and 
foreign nations.

              Summary of Committee Substitute to H.R. 2846

    The Committee substitute to H.R. 2846 amends the General 
Education Provisions Act to clarify that there can be no 
Federal tests unless specifically and explicitly provided for 
in authorizing legislation enacted into law. The bill provides 
exceptions for: (1) limited test development activities 
pursuant to P. L. 105-78 and only in fiscal year 1998; and, (2) 
the Third International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) or 
comparable international assessments administered to 
representative samples of students pursuant to section 
406(a)(6) of the National Education Statistics Act of 1994. The 
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which is 
currently specifically and explicitly authorized in sections 
411-413 of the National Education Statistics Act of 1994, would 
be unaffected by the legislation. Finally, H.R. 2846 is not 
inconsistent with the actions of Congress taken on Federal 
testing in sections 305-311 of P. L. 105-78, the FY 1998 Labor, 
Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act.

                            Committee Views

           Federal Testing--Background and General Discussion

    Beginning with the first announcement of proposed Federal 
tests on February 4, 1997 and up until enactment of Public Law 
105-78, the FY 1998 Labor, Health and Human Services, and 
Education Appropriations Act, the Clinton Administration and 
the Department of Education had sought to unilaterally and 
expeditiously develop and implement Federal tests in 4th grade 
reading and 8th grade mathematics without the participation of 
the Congress. The Federal testing effort was one which had, for 
several months, effectively bypassed Congress and the normal 
legislative process. Congress had no role in the proposed 
testing effort, nor did the outside community--except for the 
Department's hand-picked participants. The negative effects of 
the unilateral and expeditious actions of the Department have 
recently become known to the Committee. At its January 22, 1998 
board meeting, the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), 
which oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress 
(NAEP), recently reviewed the Department's test development 
contract, and found it wanting. NAGB rejected several parts of 
the contract. They found flaws in the Department's timetable, 
the test specifications developed by the Department, the 
Department's plans for the frequency of calculator use, and 
several other technical shortcomings.
    With enactment of the P. L. 105-78, the FY 1998 Labor, 
Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies 
appropriations bill, any attempts at pilot testing, field 
testing, implementation or administration of Federal tests were 
stopped in FY 1998. This prohibition allowed Congress to bring 
its views to bear upon what the testing policy of this country 
should be. The prohibition gave the authorizing committees 
(Committee on Education and the Workforce in the House of 
Representatives and Committee on Labor and Human Resources in 
the Senate) time to determine what, if any, consensus there 
might be in Congress on Federal testing. The Committee on 
Education and the Workforce has already begun to hold hearings 
and gather information on this matter. It will continue with 
several hearings and public debate on Federal testing during 
the reauthorization of the National Assessment of Educational 
Progress (NAEP) and the National Assessment Governing Board 
(NAGB) in 1998.
    During calendar year 1997 and subsequent to enactment of 
the appropriations law for FY 1998, the Clinton Administration 
has expressed its view that its proposed Federal tests are 
already authorized in Federal law and that pilot testing and 
field testing will automatically go forward in the fall of 1998 
with the beginning of a new fiscal year. At the November 13, 
1997 signing ceremony for the FY 1998 Labor, Health and Human 
Services, and Education and Related Agencies Appropriations 
Act, President Clinton stated ``* * * This bill represents a 
genuine breakthrough in what is now quite a long effort by many 
people to achieve national academic standards in the United 
States * * * and for the very first time, Congress has voted to 
support the development of voluntary national tests to measure 
performance in 4th grade reading and 8th grade math. The tests 
will be created by an independent, bipartisan organization and 
will be piloted in schools next October [1998].''
    The Committee believes that no Federal testing of any kind 
(whether development, pilot testing, field testing, 
implementation or administration) should go forward, without 
specific and explicit legislative authority having been granted 
by Congress. No such specific and explicit authority for the 
proposed Federal tests in 4th grade reading and 8th grade 
mathematics currently exists, except for the limited test 
development activities allowed under the FY 1998 Labor, Health 
and Human Services and Education and Related Agencies 
Appropriations Act. This preserves the normal legislative 
process and the proper role of Congress in setting education 
policy. For the Committee to stand by idly would be to ignore 
the Committee's duties and responsibilities in education, 
particularly on an issue of such magnitude as Federal testing.

   The Question of Existing Legislative Authority for Federal Testing

    Shortly after the President announced his proposal for 
Federal tests in 4th grade reading and 8th grade mathematics in 
February 1997, Rep. Bill Goodling (R-PA), Chairman of the 
Committee on Education and the Workforce; Rep. Frank Riggs (R-
CA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and 
Families; Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), Chairman of the 
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and Rep. John 
Porter (R-IL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health 
and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies of the 
Committee on Appropriations sent a joint letter (included in 
this report as Exhibit A) to the Honorable Richard W. Riley, 
Secretary of the Department of Education, on the President's 
testing proposal. The letter noted the signatories' concerns 
that State and local communities and parents need objective 
information to determine how students are performing 
academically. The letter also stated the President's testing 
proposal constituted a major changein Federal education policy, 
that Congress should receive clear information on the Administration's 
intentions and such far-reaching proposals need to be backed by a 
consensus in Congress. Attached to the letter was a list of 27 
questions for which the Members sought answers. Two of the questions 
related directly to purported legislative authority for the Department 
to unilaterally develop and implement the Federal tests. The questions 
were:

          Do you intend to seek explicit Congressional 
        authority and approval for the development and 
        implementation of the national tests, similar to the 
        explicit statutory authority Congress gave for the 
        National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)?
          If you believe authority already exists under current 
        law for the development and administration of the 
        national tests, under what specific statutory 
        authorizations does such authority exist? Include 
        specific U.S. Code title and subsections.

    On March 19, 1997, Acting Deputy Secretary of Education, 
Marshall S. Smith, responded in writing to the letter (included 
in this report as Exhibit B). The letter included the following 
question/answer responses:

          Question: Do you intend to seek explicit 
        Congressional authority and approval for the 
        development and implementation of the national tests, 
        similar to the explicit statutory authority Congress 
        gave for the National Assessment of Educational 
        Progress (NAEP)?
          Answer: We do not believe that additional authorizing 
        legislation is necessary for us to develop these tests 
        and make them available for use by States and 
        districts. Under our plan, we will need additional 
        funds in 1999 to reimburse States, districts, or other 
        entities such as test publishers, for the costs of 
        administering the tests in the first year, and we may 
        need funds for test administration in subsequent years 
        as well. We look forward to working with the Committees 
        to gain approval of appropriations for this purpose.
          Question: If you believe authority already exists 
        under current law for the development and 
        administration of the national tests, under what 
        specific statutory authorizations does such authority 
        exist? Include specific U.S. Code title and 
        subsections.
          Answer: We believe that authority exists under the 
        Fund for the Improvement of Education authorized by 
        Title X, Section 10101 of the Elementary and Secondary 
        Education Act (20 USC 8001).

    While the Department claims to have authority for Federal 
testing under the Fund for the Improvement of Education (FIE) 
(20 USC 8001), a review of the legislative history of the 
statute casts substantial doubt upon that argument. First, the 
predecessor statute to FIE--called the Secretary's Fund for 
Innovation in Education--specifically and explicitly provided 
for ``Optional Tests of Academic Excellence'' in section 4602 
of Public Law 100-297. However, that testing language was 
purposely deleted from Federal law in the Improving America's 
Schools Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-382). A conscious decision 
was made to take away the Secretary's authority for Federal 
testing. Clearly, the intent of Congress was that there should 
be no Federal testing under the FIE statute. Despite this clear 
intent, the Administration sought to move ahead, unilaterally, 
in 1997 to put their Federal tests on the fast-track with plans 
to pilot test in early 1998, and fully implement the tests in 
March 1999.
    It is clear that there is no current explicit and specific 
authority for Federal tests in 4th grade reading and 8th grade 
mathematics under FIE. At best, the Secretary has broad 
authority under the law to use FIE funding ``to support 
nationally significant programs and projects to improve the 
quality of education, assist all students to meet challenging 
State content standards and challenging State student 
performance standards, and contribute to achievement of the 
National Education Goals * * *'' and for the ``development and 
evaluation of model strategies for--(I) assessment of student 
learning * * *'' 20 USC 8001(a), 20 USC 8001(b)(1)(A)(ii). A 
reasonable and ordinary reading of this latter language would 
imply the development and evaluation of strategies (i.e. a 
planning process without anything further). It is the 
Committee's view that strategies does not include the 
development of specific Federal tests, the signing of test 
development contracts, the development of test questions, or 
the widespread promotion of Federal tests to States and school 
districts across the country such as has been done by the 
Clinton Administration.
    The Committee also notes that the existing National 
Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) (Sections 411-413 of 
the National Education Statistics Act), also known as the 
``Nation's Report Card,'' consists of random sample testing of 
4th, 8th, and 12th graders in several subject matter areas, and 
is explicitly and specifically provided for in statute. The 
statute provides for the establishment of a governing board for 
the tests; sets forth the random sampling technique for the 
tests; sets forth a clear purpose for the tests; tells how the 
tests are to be conducted; tells how and under what 
circumstances test results are made available in the aggregate; 
sets forth performance levels; sets forth reporting 
requirements; sets forth confidentiality protections; and many 
other related provisions.
    By contrast, there are no such explicit and specific 
provisions in law authorizing the President's tests. In 
addition, the Committee is aware that the current version of 
NAEP, as amended in 1994, came about through a consensus 
process, involving multiple hearings over a two year period. By 
contrast, the President and the Department of Education sought, 
unilaterally, to move from announcing the tests in February 
1997, to signing a $13 million test development contract in 
August 1997, to pilot/field testing in the spring of 1998, and 
to implementation in March 1999. The negative effects of such 
unilateral and expeditious actions of the Department have just 
recently become known to the Committee. At its January 22, 1998 
board meeting, the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), 
which oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress 
(NAEP), recently reviewed the Department's test development 
contract, and found it wanting. NAGB rejected several parts of 
the contract. They found flaws in the Department's timetable, 
the test specifications developed by theDepartment, the 
Department's plans for the frequency of calculator use, and several 
other technical shortcomings.
     With enactment of Public Law 105-78, the Labor, Health and 
Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies 
Appropriations Act for FY 1998, the pilot/field testing was 
prohibited in FY 1998, as well as any dissemination or 
implementation activities. Again, the Committee believes, 
particularly for something of the magnitude of Federal testing, 
that the normal legislative process should be followed, much 
like occurred with NAEP. This bill, H.R. 2846, will help ensure 
the normal legislative process is followed, by requiring 
specific and explicit authority for any new Federal testing to 
occur.
    The Committee notes, however, that it did receive a short 
two section, one-page bill from the Secretary of Education in 
early September 1997, well over six months after the test 
proposal was first announced. That bill gave broad authority to 
the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) to formulate 
policy for new Federal tests in reading and mathematics, rather 
than the Department of Education and its hand-picked advisors. 
The Administration's bill can hardly be said to grant explicit 
and specific authority for Federal tests. It skips over the 
issue of authority and jumps to policy. That bill presupposed 
that authority for the testing already existed; it did not.
    The Committee strongly believes the proper forum for 
addressing the President's Federal testing proposal is during 
reauthorization hearings on NAEP and NAGB. These hearings are 
scheduled for the first half of 1998. Both supporters and 
opponents of Federal testing will have an opportunity to 
advance their views and shape any legislation that might emerge 
from the Committee. However, to ensure that Congress's role in 
education policy is respected, H.R. 2846, provides that there 
will be no further Federal testing activity unless specifically 
and explicitly provided for in law. Exceptions are provided for 
the limited test development activities that were permitted in 
the FY 1998 Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Act (P. L. 
105-78), and for the Third International Math and Science Study 
(TIMSS) and similar international assessments involving 
sampling of students. The National Assessment of Educational 
Progress, which is currently specifically and explicitly 
authorized, is unaffected by H.R. 2846.

                Other Department of Education Activities

    The Committee has also been concerned about a number of 
other Department of Education activities in 1997 that gave the 
appearance of a continued, unilateral effort to push its 
Federal testing agenda upon the American people, all without 
Congressional approval or involvement. Those activities are as 
follows:
          (1) September 16, 1997 Title I Memo to Chief State 
        School Officers. The Committee has been made aware of a 
        September 16, 1997 memorandum (included in this report 
        as Exhibit C) from Assistant Secretary Gerald Tirozzi 
        to the Chief State School Officers in each state which 
        says that the new Federal tests can be used for Title I 
        assessments. The following language was included in the 
        memo:

          Question. May the national tests be used by the 
        States, in part, as the assessments required under 
        Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act?
          Answer. Yes. Title I requires a State to use 
        challenging content and student performance standards 
        developed for all students under the Goals 2000: 
        Educate America Act or under another process or, absent 
        such standards for all students, to develop for 
        children served under Title I challenging content and 
        student performance standards that reflect the State's 
        expectations for all children. The State must also 
        develop or adopt assessments aligned with these 
        standards. Thus, if a State determines that the 
        national tests are aligned with the State's standards, 
        those tests may be used for Title I purposes * * *
          Question. Will use of the national tests by a State 
        fully meet its assessment obligations under Title I?
          Answer. For most children, use of the national tests 
        will meet a State's obligations under Title I to assess 
        performance in reading at the fourth grade level and in 
        math at the eighth grade level * * *

          (2) Four Seasons Hotel. On September 22-23, 1997, 
        under the auspices of the Department of Education and 
        its agents, a meeting of the voluntary national tests 
        advisory panels was convened at the Four Seasons Hotel 
        in Washington, DC, costing taxpayers approximately 
        $13,654 for meals, rooms and conference space; $7,600 
        for transcription services; $7,350 for stipends to 
        panelists; and approximately $10,000 in transportation 
        costs. The Committee is aware that this meeting 
        occurred a full six days after the House overwhelmingly 
        expressed its opposition to national testing by a vote 
        of 295-125 on the Goodling testing amendment to the FY 
        1998 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education 
        Appropriations bill. Copies of relevant correspondence 
        are included in this report as Exhibits D and E.
          (3) October 1997 Secretary of Education's Letter to 
        School Board Chairs. The Committee has been made aware 
        of an October 1997 letter from the Secretary of 
        Education to local school board chairs which promotes 
        the President's Federal tests in 8th grade mathematics. 
        The letter (included in this report as Exhibit F), 
        states in part,

          In 1999, your district has the opportunity to 
        participate in a voluntary national test of mathematics 
        at grade eight that will provide individual student 
        scores, and will be linked to the National Assessment 
        of Educational Progress (NAEP) and Third International 
        Math and Science Study (TIMSS). Participating in this 
        mathematics test will tell you how your students are 
        doing compared to students in other states and other 
        nations. There will also be a voluntary national test 
        in reading at grade four--another critical subject * * 
        * We encourage you in your stewardship of your local 
        schools, to share this information with members of your 
        board, and take this opportunity to begin a dialogue 
        with your superintendent, principals, teachers, 
        parents, and others who are concerned about improving 
        our students' achievement.

         National Assessment Governing Board Activities (NAGB)

    Pursuant to the FY 1998 Labor, Health and Human Services, 
and Education Appropriations Act, the National Assessment 
Governing Board (NAGB) was given exclusive authority over all 
policies, direction and guidelines for voluntary national tests 
pursuant to contract # RJ97153001 between the Department of 
Education and the American Institutes of Research. NAGB was 
also required to review the contract and accept, modify, or 
terminate it within 90 days. As part of that process NAGB 
convened a Special Committee to Review the Test Development 
Contract, chaired by William T. Randall. The Special Committee, 
through its Chairman, prepared a January 15, 1998 memorandum to 
the full membership of NAGB (included as Exhibit G) reporting 
on its work.
    While the Committee is pleased with the expertise of NAGB 
and the professionalism it has shown in its review of the 
contract, the Committee is concerned with statements in the 
memorandum that indicate the first pilot test will be 
``conducted in March of 1999, the field test in March of the 
year 2000, and the operational test in March of the year 
2001.'' Such a statement appears to presume or conclude that 
there will automatically be pilot testing and field testing in 
1999. The Committee finds this to be an inappropriate 
presumption or conclusion in light of Congress not having yet 
addressed, what, if anything will be permitted on national 
testing in 1999. The same analysis applies to the 
implementation in March of 2001. Again, Congress has not 
addressed what, if anything, will be permitted on national 
testing in 2001. What is clear is that Congress has never 
affirmatively approved pilot testing, field testing or 
implementation of the Administration's national tests.

        Why is the Committee marking-up H.R. 2846 at this time?

    The Committee is concerned about the recent misperceptions 
that this Administration and others have that pilot testing, 
field testing, and implementation of Federal testing will be 
permitted to go forward starting on October 1, 1998, which is 
the beginning date of fiscal year 1999. The Committee believes 
it is important to quickly clear-up these misperceptions and 
state unequivocally that no Federal testing goes forward 
without specific and explicit legislative authority. Included 
below are reasons why it has become necessary to mark-up H.R. 
2846:
          The FY 1998 Labor, Health and Human Services, and 
        Education Appropriations Act (PL 105-78)--which the 
        President signed into law on November 13, 1997--was 
        supposed to be an agreement to stop this Administration 
        from going forward with administering Federal tests 
        prior to any Congressional action or public input.
          Yet, at the bill signing ceremony on November 13, 
        1997 for the Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations 
        bill, the President stated:

          * * * This bill represents a genuine breakthrough in 
        what is now quite a long effort by many people to 
        achieve national academic standards in the United 
        States.
          * * * And for the very first time, Congress has voted 
        to support the development of voluntary national tests 
        to measure performance in 4th grade reading and 8th 
        grade math. The tests will be created by an 
        independent, bipartisan organization and will be 
        piloted in schools next October.

          Further evidence that the President and his 
        Administration are seeking to circumvent the 
        legislative process can be found on the Department of 
        Education's web site. The page states: ``The bill [PL 
        105-78] provides full funding to proceed with immediate 
        development of the first-ever voluntary national tests 
        in 4th grade reading and 8th grade math * * * The bill 
        permits pilot testing to begin in Fall 1998.''
          More detailed information about testing provided on 
        the Department of Education's web site (updated after 
        the President signed the Appropriations bill) notes: 
        ``The first pilot tests are scheduled for the fall of 
        1998 and the field tests in the spring of 1999. The 
        voluntary national tests will first be officially 
        administered in the spring of 2000.''
          In a December 2, 1997 press release, Mark Musick, 
        chairman of the National Assessment Governing Board 
        (NAGB), stated: ``We will carry out the job Congress 
        has asked us to do--develop an individualized version 
        of the National Assessment of Educational Progress.'' 
        The NAGB press release went on further to state: ``The 
        Board will seek to complete all preliminary development 
        work by September 30, 1998, so there can be pilot 
        testing and field testing later.''
          Secretary of Education Dick Riley sent a letter to 
        the Chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee, 
        Rep. Bill Goodling (R-PA) on January 20, 1998 asking 
        him to reconsider this markup. He noted the Chairman's 
        involvement in reaching a bipartisan agreement under 
        the FY 1998 Labor, Health and Human Services, and 
        Education Appropriations Act on how to proceed with 
        regard to Federal tests including the transfer of 
        responsibilities to NAGB and the deadlines established 
        for studies by the National Academy of Sciences. This 
        agreement did not include language authorizing pilot 
        testing, field testing or implementation of tests in FY 
        1999, as the Administration has asserted will occur.
          As earlier mentioned, a January 15, 1998 memo from 
        William Randall, Chairman of the Special Committee to 
        Review the Test Development Contract, to members of 
        NAGB states the first pilot test will be ``conducted in 
        March of 1999, the field test in March of the year 
        2000, and the operational test in March of the year 
        2001.'' NAGB clearly views its role as laying the 
        foundation for pilot testing and other activities soon 
        after the September 30, 1998 expiration date for the 
        ban of pilot testing in the FY 1998 Labor, Health and 
        Human Services and Education Appropriations Act.
          To NAGB's credit, they determined that the 
        Administration's plans and ill-conceived timetable for 
        Federal tests were so flawed that NAGB decided to re-
        write the test development contract. It is clear the 
        test specifications were developed in a rush so as to 
        be administered prior to the end of the President's 
        second term. Again, this shows that the Department of 
        Education's original work was done in a very haphazard 
        manner, and provides even more reason for Congress to 
        prohibit Federal testing without specific and explicit 
        authority.

                               Conclusion

    The actions of the President and the Department of 
Education in calendar year 1997, and pronouncements by 
Administration officials subsequent to the enactment of the FY 
1998 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education 
Appropriations Act (P.L. 105-78), continue to indicate the 
Administration's plans to move forward with Federal testing. 
H.R. 2846 ensures that Federal testing activity does not go 
forward unless specific and explicit authority is provided in 
law. This legislation preserves the proper and appropriate role 
of Congress by prohibiting all Federal testing activity unless 
specifically and explicitly authorized by Congress.

                               Exhibit A

                          House of Representatives,
                  Committee on Education and the Workforce,
                                     Washington, DC, March 5, 1997.
Hon. Richard W. Riley,
Secretary, Department of Education,
Washington, DC.
    Dear Secretary Riley: We are pleased to know of President 
Clinton's commitment to improving the education of all 
students, just as we are. Likewise, we agree with the 
Administration that states and communities need objective 
information, often in the form of statewide systems of 
standards and assessments, about how students are doing. This 
information can help provide a needed spark for education for 
education improvement.
    In this light, we will review the Administration's 
proposals on standards and assessments. However, other than a 
few brief mentions in budget documents and other Departmental 
public relations materials, our Committee has yet to receive 
any official guidance on the Administration's plans in this 
area.
    From what we ascertain, the President's national testing 
proposal in reading and math constitutes a major change in 
Federal education policy. Given this change, we believe 
Congress should have clear information on the Administration's 
intentions, and that your proposal receive the careful scrutiny 
it deserves--both by Congress and the public at-large. In our 
view, proposals like this must be backed by a consensus on the 
Hill and in the country if they are to achieve success when 
implemented.
    We are particularly interested in knowing the explicit 
statutory authority on which the Administration relies for the 
testing. It is also important that we know what specific 
category of funds the Administration intends to allocate for 
the tests. We would appreciate your assistance in clarifying 
these two issues, as well as in answering several questions 
that are included in the attached document. The answers to 
these questions will assist us in giving the Administration's 
proposal the careful consideration it deserves.
    In our view, this is a serious proposal that deserves 
serious debate and consideration. Tests, whether national or 
state, are but a measure of progress. While testing does 
provide a measure of progress, we believe national education 
policy should give priority to the things that we know work--
helping children master the basic academic subjects, engaging 
and involving parents, and getting dollars to the classroom 
where they can do the most good. These are our top priorities, 
and we look forward to working with you on these issues, as 
well as on your standards and testing proposal.
    We would appreciate receiving the responses to the 
questions no later than March 19, 1997. Thank you in advance 
for your assistance. We look forward to hearing from you.
            Sincerely,
                                   Bill Goodling,
                                           Chairman, Committee on 
                                               Education and the 
                                               Workforce.
                                   Peter Hoekstra,
                                           Chairman, Subcommittee on 
                                               Oversight and 
                                               Investigations.
                                   Frank Riggs,
                                           Chairman, Subcommittee on 
                                               Early Childhood, Youth 
                                               and Families.
                                   John Porter,
                                           Chairman, Subcommittee on 
                                               Labor, Health and Human 
                                               Services, Education and 
                                               Related Agencies of the 
                                               Committee on 
                                               Appropriations.

    1. Why did the Department not include a specific written 
budget request for the proposal in the Department of Education 
budget documents that were submitted to Congress earlier this 
year?
    2. What does the President perceive to be the difference 
between ``federal government standards'' and ``national 
standards''?
    3. Do you intend to seek explicit Congressional authority 
and approval for the development and implementation of the 
national tests, similar to the explicit statutory authority 
Congress gave for the National Assessment of Educational 
Progress (NAEP)?
    4. If you believe authority already exists under current 
law for the development and implementation of the national 
tests, under what specific statutory authorization does such 
authority exist? Include specific U.S. Code titles and 
subsections.
    5. Under what specific program's appropriation does the 
President propose to pay for the development and implementation 
of the new national tests? What, if any funds, do you intend to 
reprogram in FY 1997 or FY 1998 for the national tests?
    6. (a) What do you expect will be the total cost of 
development of these tests and on what basis do you make the 
estimate?
    (b) What do you expect will be the total costs per student 
and on what basis do you make the estimate?
    (c) What portion of the costs will be borne by the federal 
budget during the development phase and what portion will be 
borne by states and school districts?
    (d) What portion of the costs will be borne by the federal 
budget during the first administration of the tests?
    (e) What portion of the costs will be borne by the federal 
budget in the years following the first administration of the 
tests?
    7. (a) What is the specific timetable for the development 
of these tests?
    (b) What is the specific timetable for including any 
``requests for proposals'', grants, or contracts?
    (c) What is the specific timetable for the meeting of 
advisory committees on this issue, if any?
    (d) What is the specific timetable for any other stages in 
the process or activities associated with the process not 
mentioned in (a)-(c) above?
    8. (a) Do you plan to use actual NAEP tests (i.e. those 
used for the national and state assessments) for the 
individualized tests you propose or do you intend to create new 
test instruments?
    (b) If the latter, what specifically will be their 
relationship to NAEP?
    (c) How do you know their results will be comparable?
    9. (a) If you are proposing to engage outside organizations 
in the preparation and conduct of these tests, such as through 
grants or contracts to non-federal entities, which specific 
ones do you propose to use?
    (b) How will the grantees or contract recipients be 
selected and by whom?
    (c) If by officials of the Department of Education, name 
those officials.
    (d) If by ``peer review'', please name the federal 
officials who will select the reviewers and the types and 
qualifications of reviewers to be used.
    10. (a) What specifically, if any, is to be the 
relationship of the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) 
to the proposed new tests?
    (b) It has been reported that you may have decided that 
these tests, although based in some way on NAEP frameworks and 
NAGB standards, will be created and managed outside the 
existing NAEP administrative and policy structures. Please 
explain.
    11. (a) Do you plan to use the NAGB ``proficient'' 
standard, or the ``basic'' standard as the fundamental 
``national standard''?
    (b) If the latter, how do you justify changing from the 
standard that both NAGB and the National Education Goals Panel 
have adopted as the level of achievement that all young 
Americans should be expected to reach?
    12. How will you assure that use of these tests will be, 
and remain, voluntary and not become mandatory tests?
    13. (a) Will it be possible for states and communities to 
``embed'' or integrate the national tests in their own state 
and local testing programs?
    (b) How exactly will this be done?
    14. (a) Please explain in detail the ``standards'' in the 
Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) that, 
in your view, qualify TIMSS to be the proper basis for the 
eighth grade math test?
    (b) How do TIMSS standards differ, if at all, from NAEP 
standards?
    (c) If the President's plan for testing moves forward, does 
it not make more sense to use eighth NAEP standards and tests 
for math? Why or why not?
    15. (a) Why have you decided to limit this program to 
fourth grade reading and eighth grade math?
    (b) How do you plan to deal with states, that might prefer, 
for example, to use NAEP instruments for fourth grade math and 
eighth grade reading? Or science?
    16. Will the reading test be given only in English or in 
other languages as well?
    17. What accommodations, if any, do you intend to make for 
students with disabilities who take these tests?
    18. (a) In what form do you expect the test results to be 
made available to parents?
    (b) How will the confidentiality of individual test-takers 
be protected?
    (c) Will parents be able to obtain school-specific data?
    (d) Will parents be able to obtain school-specific data for 
schools other than the one(s) their own child or children 
attend?
    19. (a) Do you intend to create new advisory committees to 
help design and oversee this program? If so, please explain.
    (b) If so, why are you doing that rather than relying on 
NAGB?
    (c) Who will appoint these new committees?
    (d) What types of individuals will be appointed?
    (e) How many individuals will be appointed to such 
committees?
    (f) What criteria do you intend to use for such appointees?
    20. How do you plan to deal with states which may have 
state assessments and standards which are more rigorous than 
any new national tests or standards?
    21. Will states that wish to do so be free to use these 
test results for ``high stakes'' purposes?
    22. What is the relationship of the new tests to the state 
standards and state assessments aspects of goals 2000?
    23. (a) At least 32 states have developed state standards, 
and an additional 14 report that standards development is 
underway. In addition, 45 states report that they have 
statewide assessment systems. How will ``national standards'' 
affect states who have already developed and are using state 
standards?
    (b) If the national standards are different from the states 
standards, will the states have to change their standards?
    24. What provision, if any, does the President's proposal 
make for private and home-schooled students to be able to take 
these tests?
    25. How will you ensure test security?
    26. Will states be permitted to require teachers to take 
the same tests that their pupils are taking?
    27. If a state decides not to use the national tests in 
reading and math, can a local educational agency still go 
forward and use the test?
                              ----------                              


                               Exhibit B

                              U.S. Department of Education,
                                    Washington, DC, March 19, 1997.
Hon. Bill Goodling,
Chairman, Committee on Education and the Workforce, House of 
        Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: Thank you for your letter to the 
Secretary requesting more information about the President's 
plan to develop voluntary national tests for individual 
students in fourth grade reading in English and eighth grade 
mathematics. I am sending identical replies to Congressmen 
Hoekstra, Riggs, and Porter.
    Our plan is to make these tests available for use by States 
and school districts in the spring of 1999. They will offer a 
common set of expectations and standards in the basic skills of 
reading and mathematics, and allow every parent to compare the 
performance of his or her child with the performance of 
children around the country and the world.
    In these two basic skills areas--of fourth grade reading 
and eighth grade mathematics--there is little disagreement 
about what children should know and be able to do. Children 
need to be able to read independently and well by the fourth 
grade, or they will be unable to read to learn other subjects. 
They also need a strong background in challenging mathematics 
by the eighth grade, or they will be unable to take the 
rigorous courses in high school that prepare them for college. 
All children must be provided the challenging curriculum and 
quality teaching that enables them to achieve these basic 
skills. The voluntary national tests will be a strong force for 
making that happen.
    We plan to develop these tests under the authority provided 
by the Fund for the Improvement of Education, using monies made 
available for that program under the appropriation for 
Education Research, Statistics, and Improvement. Enclosed with 
this letter are responses to the questions you posed regarding 
the details of our plan.
    We appreciate your careful consideration of this 
initiative. We look forward to working with you on the various 
issues as we proceed.
            Sincerely,
                                         Marshall S. Smith,
                                           Acting Deputy Secretary.
    Enclosure.

 Questions Regrading National Tests in Fourth Grade Reading in English 
                      and Eighth Grade Mathematics

    1. Question. Why did the Department not include a specific 
written budget request for the proposal in the Department of 
Education budget documents that were submitted to Congress 
earlier this year?
    Answer. The President made the decision to develop 
voluntary national tests in fourth grade reading and eighth 
grade mathematics following his return from a trip to 
Northbrook, Illinois, on January 22, 1997. During that trip, 
the President participated in the release of results comparing 
the mathematics and science performance of students in the 
districts comprising the First in the World Consortium with the 
performance of students in the 41 countries that participated 
in the Third International Mathematics and Science Study 
(TIMSS). We had already sent our budget documents to print by 
that time so that we would be able to deliver them to the 
Appropriations Committees on the day that the President 
released his fiscal year 1998 budget.
    2. Question. What does the President perceive to be the 
difference between ``federal government standards'' and 
``national standards?''
    Answer. Federal Government standards would be standards 
somehow imposed or required by the Federal Government. The 
President and the Secretary are opposed to developing such 
standards. National standards are voluntary standards that are 
developed through a consensus process and widely accepted as 
representing what students should know and be able to do. They 
are developed by groups of individuals outside of government 
such as the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the 
National Assessment Governing Board. The standards embodied in 
the National Assessment of Educational Progress are an example 
of national standards. The national tests will be based on 
these standards.
    3. Question. Do you intend to seek explicit Congressional 
authority and approval for the development and implementation 
of the national tests, similar to the explicit statutory 
authority Congress gave for the National Assessment of 
Educational Progress (NAEP)?
    Answer. We do not believe that additional authorizing 
legislation is necessary for us to develop these tests and make 
them available for use by States and districts. Under our plan, 
we will need additional funds in 1999 to reimburse States, 
districts, or other entities such as test publishers, for the 
costs of administering the tests in the first year, and we may 
need funds for test administration in subsequent years as well. 
We look forward to working with the Committees to gain approval 
of appropriations for this purpose.
    4. Question. If you believe authority already exists under 
current law for the development and administration of the 
national tests, under what specific statutory authorization 
does such authority exist? Include specific U.S. Code titles 
and subsections.
    Answer. We believe that authority exists under the Fund for 
the Improvement of Education authorized by Title X, Section 
10101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (20 USC 
8001).
    5. Question. Under what specific program's appropriation 
does the President propose to pay for the development and 
implementation of the new national tests? What, if any, funds 
do you intend to reprogram in FY 1997 or FY 1998 for the 
national tests?
    Answer. We will use funds made available for the Fund for 
the Improvement of Education (FIE) in the appropriation for 
Education Research, Statistics, and Improvement to develop 
these tests. We expect to use up to $10 million in FIE funds 
for this purpose in 1997 and up to $12 million in 1998. Because 
we are using funds originally made available for the program 
under whose authority we intend to carry out this activity, we 
do not believe that reprogramming is needed.
    Funds will not be needed for the implementation (or 
administration) of these tests until 1999 when they first 
become available for use by States and districts. Our 1999 
budget for FIE will include funds to reimburse States and 
districts, or other entities, such as test publishers, that 
administer the tests, for the costs of administering the tests 
in the spring of 1999. These administration costs will include 
the costs of printing the tests, scoring the tests, analyzing 
the results, and reporting the results to parents and teachers.
    6.(a) Question. What do you expect will be the total cost 
of development of these tests and on what basis do you make the 
estimate?
    Answer. We intend to make available new versions of the 
national tests each year. We estimate that annual development 
costs will be approximately $10-12 million, with inflation 
increasing costs slowly over time. Our estimate is based on the 
Department's experience with NAEP and on the experience of 
State assessment programs.
    These tests will be based on the test frameworks used to 
develop the NAEP fourth grade reading and eighth grade 
mathematics assessments. The tests will be linked to the NAEP 
tests and, in the case of mathematics, also to the eighth grade 
mathematics test used in TIMSS. This will permit parents and 
teachers to compare the performance of individual students with 
the performance of their peers around the country and the 
world. It also means that the costs of developing the national 
tests will be low compared to other tests because the test 
frameworks and performance levels that will be used have 
already been developed for NAEP and TIMSS.
    6.(b) Question. What do you expect will be the total costs 
per student and on what basis do you make the estimate?
    Answer. We are still refining our estimates of per student 
costs. We are not including in these estimates any of the costs 
related to the development of the tests, as the development 
costs will be paid directly by the Department to the 
contractors competitively selected to develop the tests. The 
per student costs are essentially the costs of administering 
and scoring the tests and reporting the results, and they will 
be the basis of our fiscal year 1999 request for funds to 
reimburse States, districts, and others for administration of 
the tests. Based on input we received in the course of three 
public meetings, primarily from State assessment directors, our 
current estimates are that administration costs will be between 
$10 and $12 per student. These estimates may change as issues 
arise in the test development process.
    6.(c) Question. What portion of the costs will be borne by 
the federal budget during the development phase and what 
portion will be borne by states and school districts?
    Answer. We intend to include in our budget each year the 
costs of developing a fourth grade reading test and an eighth 
grade mathematics test. New versions of the tests will be made 
available each year, beginning in 1999. We do not intend to 
pass the costs of development on to States and school 
districts.
    6.(d) Question. What portion of the costs will be borne by 
the federal budget during the first administration of the 
tests?
    Answer. We intend to provide reimbursement for the costs 
incurred in administering the national tests in the spring of 
1999, the first year they will be available. Our 1999 budget 
will include funds for this reimbursement. The budget will also 
include funds for test development, as contractors will be 
developing and field testing versions of the tests to be used 
in subsequent years.
    6.(e) Question. What portion of the costs will be borne by 
the federal budget in the years following the first 
administration of the tests?
    Answer. We are not certain about this at the present time. 
We will continue to bear the costs of developing versions of 
the tests for use in subsequent years. We may also request 
funds to reimburse States, school districts, and other eligible 
entities for costs of administering the tests for additional 
years beyond 1999, but no final decision has been made yet on 
this point.
    7.(a) Question. What is the specific timetable for the 
development of these tests?
    Answer. We intend to have the first fourth grade reading 
test and the first eighth grade mathematics test available for 
use in the spring of 1999. This means that the tests will have 
to be field tested in the spring of 1998. In order for this to 
occur, development contracts must be in place no later than 
September of this year.
    7.(b) Question. What is the specific timetable for 
including any ``requests for proposals,'' grants, or contracts?
    Answer. We intend to issue a request for proposals by late 
April for two test development contracts, one for fourth grade 
reading and the other for eighth grade mathematics, with the 
contracts to be awarded by August or September. The draft scope 
of work for these contracts will be made available on the World 
Wide Web, probably during the week of March 17, with an 
invitation for public comment.
    We are exploring the possibility of having the technical 
specifications for the tests and for the test items developed 
under a separate award so that the specifications will be 
available for the test developers to begin work in August or 
September. The specifications will be based on the test 
frameworks already developed for the National Assessment of 
Educational Progress.
    7.(c) Question. What is the specific timetable for the 
meeting of advisory committees on this issue, if any?
    Answer. The test development contractors will be required 
to establish certain advisory panels, but we do not presently 
have a firm timetable for the meetings of those groups. Our 
current thinking is that meetings should probably be held 
shortly after the award of the contracts in 1997 and in March 
and September of each subsequent year. The request for 
proposals will outline the specific timetable.
    We have no schedule at this time for meetings of any other 
advisory committee(s) that might be established to provide 
advice on the tests. We have had a meeting with experts for 
input, and we have had a series of three public meetings at 
which we heard from test publishers, State assessment 
directors, and others. The transcripts of all of these meetings 
are being made available on the World Wide Web. The meetings 
have been very helpful. Other such meetings may occur.
    7.(d) Question. What is the specific timetable for any 
other stages in the process or activities associated with the 
process not mentioned in (a)-(c) above?
    Answer. The request for proposals will outline the stages 
of the test development process. It may contain a specific 
timetable for all activities, or it may contain a timetable for 
certain activities or results, with bidders asked to propose 
schedules for other activities.
    In addition to conducting field tests, test developers will 
have to conduct studies to equate the versions of the tests 
currently under development with the prior year's versions of 
the tests. Ongoing research related to accommodations for 
special populations and other issues will also be required. A 
separate contractor will work with the test developers to link 
the national tests with the appropriate NAEP and TIMSS tests, 
so that results on the national tests may be compared with NAEP 
and TIMSS performance standards. This contractor will be 
competitively selected next fiscal year.
    After the time period for actual administration of the 
national tests ends, the test instruments and scoring guides 
will be made available on the World Wide Web. This will allow 
others to use the tests, and it will provide parents, teachers, 
and the public an opportunity to see what students should know 
and be able to do. If possible, sample tests will be made 
available in the fall of 1998 so that parents and teachers will 
also have access to this information prior to the first 
administration of the tests. We want to do everything possible 
to make information available to help parents, teachers, and 
students prepare for these tests.
    An evaluation contractor will be engaged before the first 
administration of the new national tests.
    8.(a) Question. Do you plan to use actual NAEP tests (i.e., 
those used for the national and state assessments) for the 
individualized tests you propose or do you intend to create new 
test instruments?
    Answer. New test instruments must be created, because NAEP 
is not designed to provide individual student results. No 
student takes the entire NAEP test. A number of different test 
booklets are used in the assessment, with some students taking 
one booklet, others another booklet, and so on. In this way, it 
is possible to keep testing time for individual students to a 
minimum and yet provide estimates of student performance on a 
very comprehensive set of items.
    With the new national tests, all participating fourth 
graders will take the same reading test, and all participating 
eighth graders will take the same mathematics tests. Each 
student will receive his or her own score.
    8.(b) Question. If the latter, what specifically will be 
their relationship to NAEP?
    Answer. The test and item specifications for the new 
national tests will be based on the NAEP frameworks for fourth 
grade reading and eighth grade mathematics to ensure that the 
new tests measure the knowledge and skills that are measured by 
the NAEP tests. In addition, we will support linking studies so 
that when test results are reported to parents and teachers, 
they will receive not only the student's score on the national 
reading or mathematics test, but also an estimated NAEP score 
in reading or mathematics and, in the case of mathematics, an 
estimated TIMSS score. This will allow parents and teachers to 
know where the student performed in relation to the NAEP levels 
of basic, proficient, and advanced. In the case of mathematics, 
they will also know, for example, whether the student scored 
above or below the international average, and if above, whether 
the student scored on a par with the top 10 percent 
internationally.
    8.(c) Question. How do you know their results will be 
comparable?
    Answer. We will base the national tests on the NAEP 
frameworks, and we will conduct studies to link results on the 
national tests with NAEP results to ensure that they are 
comparable. The many experts whom we have consulted believe 
that the technical aspects of this plan are sound.
    9.(a) Question. If you are proposing to engage outside 
organizations in the preparation and conduct of these tests, 
such as through grants or contracts to non-federal entities, 
which specific ones do you propose to use?
    Answer. Separate contracts will be awarded for the 
development of a national fourth grade reading test and for the 
development of a national eighth grade mathematics test as the 
result of a competitive procurement process. We have no idea 
who will win those contracts.
    States, school districts, test publishers, and others will 
be eligible for certification to administer these tests. In 
order to receive certification, they will have to demonstrate 
that they can ensure standard administration and scoring of the 
tests. There will be no charge for certification. States and 
districts that are not certified to administer the tests, as 
well as private schools, will be able to have their students 
take the tests by making arrangements for administration and 
scoring with a certified entity. Our current plan is to award a 
competitive contract to an organization that will certify and 
enter into agreements with those States, school districts, test 
publishers, and others that meet the certification 
requirements.
    9.(b) Question. How will the grantees and contract 
recipients be selected and by whom?
    Answer. We do not intend to award grants related to these 
tests. Contractors will be chosen through a competitive 
process. Technical proposals will be evaluated by Department 
officials and outside experts. Cost proposals will then be 
evaluated by contracting personnel, with the final source 
selection the responsibility of the contracting officer.
    9.(c) Question. If by officials of the Department of 
Education, name those officials.
    Answer. The selection of contractors is the responsibility 
of a contracting officer. The Assistant Secretary for 
Educational Research and Improvement, or his or her designee, 
and employees of the Office of Educational Research and 
Improvement will provide advice, in accordance with the source 
selection criteria that will be set forth in the solicitation.
    9.(d) Question. If by ``peer review,'' please name the 
federal officials who will select the reviewers and the types 
and qualifications of reviewers to be used.
    Answer. The contracting officer will make the final 
decision regarding who will evaluate the technical proposals, 
based upon recommendations received from the Assistant 
Secretary for Educational Research and Improvement or his or 
her designee. The ``peer'' reviewers involved will be 
nationally recognized reading and mathematics experts and 
testing and measurement experts.
    10.(a) Question. What specifically, if any, is to be the 
relationship of the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) 
to the proposed new tests?
    Answer. The National Assessment Governing Board currently 
has no relationship to the national tests. The Governing 
Board's role is circumscribed by the National Education 
Statistics Act of 1994. The Board is established solely to 
formulate policy guidelines for the National Assessment of 
Educational Progress. Provisions of the NAEP authority require 
that all personally identifiable data about students and their 
performance remain confidential. This means that NAEP 
activities cannot include the development of tests for which 
individual student scores are reported, and thus that NAGB can 
have no role in such tests.
    10.(b) Question. It has been reported that you may have 
decided that these tests, although based in some way on NAEP 
frameworks and NAGB standards, will be created and managed 
outside the existing NAEP administrative and policy structures. 
Please explain.
    Answer. Please see our response above. A statutory change 
would be required to involve NAGB in these activities. We may 
ask Congress to consider this issue. However, we do not believe 
that NAGB's involvement is essential at this juncture, and we 
do not want to delay the development of these tests.
    11.(a) Question. Do you plan to use the NAGB ``proficient'' 
standard, or the ``basic'' standard as the fundamental 
``national standard?''
    Answer. We do not plan to establish a ``fundamental'' 
national standard. We intend to ensure that students' scores 
can be reported in a manner that permits parents and teachers 
to know whether the students have attained NAGB's ``basic,'' 
``proficient,'' or ``advanced'' levels. We believe, as does 
NAGB, that all children should be at least ``proficient'' in 
the basics and other subjects.
    One immediate goal, however, is to motivate all students to 
attain at least the ``basic'' level in reading. Currently, 40 
percent of fourth graders cannot read at the ``basic'' level, 
and yet we know that students must be able to read 
independently by fourth grade, or they will be unable to read 
to learn other subjects. This does not obviate the overall goal 
of reading ``proficiently.''
    And, in mathematics, students must also master more 
challenging content. U.S. eighth graders scored slightly below 
the international average on the TIMSS eighth grade mathematics 
test, and only 20 percent of them had studied algebra, compared 
with 100 percent of students in some of the top performing 
countries. We know that, without a strong background in 
mathematics by the eighth grade, students are unable to take 
the kinds of courses in high school that prepare them for 
college.
    We must ensure that all students master the basic and 
advanced skills of reading and mathematics. We absolutely want 
to see more and more students attain the ``proficient'' and 
``advanced'' levels. And, in the case of mathematics, we not 
only want to see all students score above the international 
average, we want to see more and more students perform with the 
top 10 percent internationally.
    11.(b) Question. If the latter, how do you justify changing 
from the standard that both NAGB and the National Education 
Goals Panel have adopted as the level of achievement that all 
young Americans should be expected to reach?
    Answer. We are not in conflict with NAGB or the Goals 
Panel. We hope to see parents and teachers provided with 
information about how students' performance on these tests 
compares with the NAGB achievement levels. States and school 
districts that use these tests may establish whatever 
challenging goals they wish. All children should be able to 
read independently and well by the fourth grade and prepared in 
mathematics to take the courses in high school that prepare 
them for college.
    12. Question. How will you assure that use of these tests 
will be, and remain, voluntary and not become mandatory tests?
    Answer. We have no authority, nor do we want any authority, 
to make these tests mandatory. That would require legislative 
action, which we will not seek.
    13.(a) Question. Will it be possible for states and 
communities to ``embed'' or integrate the national tests in 
their own state and local testing programs?
    Answer. It will be possible for States and communities to 
integrate the national tests into their own testing programs. 
However, in order for the results to be compared with NAEP, it 
will be necessary for the tests to be administered under 
comparable testing conditions. This means that the national 
tests will have to be taken in their entirety in a given 
testing session. The items could not be commingled with other 
items from other tests. Released versions of the tests can, of 
course, be used as States and communities wish.
    13.(b) Question. How exactly will this be done?
    Answer. There are a number of ways it could be done. We 
will leave those decisions to State and local officials and to 
test publishers. We will ask the developers of the national 
tests to outline criteria, to ensure test validity, which will 
be used in the process of certifying test administration 
organizations.
    14.(a) Question. Please explain in detail the ``standards'' 
in the Third International Mathematics and Science Study 
(TIMSS) that, in your view, qualify TIMSS to be the proper 
basis for the eighth grade math test.
    Answer. We have decided that the NAEP eighth grade 
mathematics test should be the basis for the national test in 
eighth grade mathematics. The framework, or content standards, 
for TIMSS was the result of international negotiations, which 
required that compromises be made. We believe that the content 
standards for the NAEP test are more reflective of widely 
accepted standards for what U.S. students should know and be 
able to do in eighth grade mathematics.
    However, TIMSS provides a very important and useful 
international benchmark, and we intend to link the national 
eighth grade mathematics test to the eighth grade mathematics 
test used in TIMSS so that students can be provided with 
estimated TIMSS scores. This will allow them, and their parents 
and teachers, to know how their performance compares with that 
of their international peers.
    14.(b) Question. How do TIMSS standards differ, if at all, 
from NAEP standards?
    Answer. There is a great deal of overlap in the TIMSS and 
NAEP frameworks for eighth grade mathematics. That is why we 
will be able to link the new national test in eighth grade 
mathematics to the TIMSS test and provide students with 
estimated TIMSS scores, even though the test itself will be 
based on the NAEP mathematics framework. The NAEP framework is 
more elaborated than the TIMSS framework and more consistent 
with the content standards developed by the National Council of 
Teachers of Mathematics.
    14.(c) Question. If the President's plan for testing moves 
forward, does it not make more sense to use eighth grade NAEP 
standards and tests for math? Why or why not?
    Answer. We intend to use the NAEP framework for the eighth 
grade mathematics test, and students will receive estimated 
NAEP scores, as well as estimated TIMSS scores, so that their 
performance can be judged according to NAEP performance level 
standards. The rationale for this plan is explained above.
    15.(a) Question. Why have you decided to limit this program 
to fourth grade reading and eighth grade math?
    Answer. The purpose of these tests is to offer a common set 
of expectations and standards in the basic skills of reading 
and mathematics. We all know that being able to read 
independently by the fourth grade is a critical skill. Children 
who are unable to read independently by that critical 
transition period cannot read to learn science, history, and so 
on, and they are the children who most often go on to drop out 
or fail in school. Mathematics is the second basic, and the 
critical transition here seems to be at the eighth grade. 
Students who do not have a strong background in mathematics by 
the eighth grade are not able to take the kinds of courses in 
high school that prepare them for college.
    15.(b) Question. How do you plan to deal with states that 
might prefer, for example, to use NAEP instruments for fourth 
grade math and eighth grade reading? Or science?
    Answer. As explained in response to question 8(a), NAEP 
instruments are not appropriate for individual student use. 
They cannot be used to provide individual student scores. We 
plan to develop national tests only in fourth grade reading and 
eighth grade mathematics because reading and mathematics are 
the basic skills, and the critical transition period in reading 
is the fourth grade and in mathematics, the eighth grade. 
States can now and can continue in the future to participate in 
State-level NAEP assessments at other grade levels and in other 
subjects.
    16. Question. Will the reading test be given only in 
English or in other languages as well?
    Answer. The reading test will be a test of reading in 
English. Consequently, it will not be given in other languages. 
However, the mathematics test will be made available in a 
bilingual (Spanish-English) version.
    17. Question. What accommodations, if any, do you intend to 
make for students with disabilities who take the tests?
    Answer. Our intention is to make these tests as accessible 
to students with disabilities as possible. Braille and large 
print versions of the tests will be developed by the test 
developers. An audio cassette version of the mathematics test 
will also be developed. Test administrators will be expected to 
provide additional accommodations at the testing site. These 
accommodations would include extended time, one-on-one testing, 
and other accommodations normally provided to the particular 
student when he or she participates in other tests at the 
school. Ongoing research will be conducted so that 
accommodations can be improved as time goes on.
    18.(a) Question. In what form do you expect the test 
results to be made available to parents?
    Answer. This decision will be left to States and school 
districts. The test developers will provide guidelines for 
reporting results, which will be used in the process of 
certifying test administration organizations. The tests will be 
designed so that results can be reported to parents and 
teachers in an easily understandable metric. Estimated NAEP 
scores and, in the case of mathematics, estimated TIMSS scores 
will also be available.
    18.(b) Question. How will the confidentiality of individual 
test-takers be protected?
    Answer. In order to become a certified test administration 
entity, a State, school district, or test publisher will have 
to demonstrate that the confidentiality of students will be 
protected. These tests and the use of them will have to meet 
the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing of the 
American Psychological Association, the American Educational 
Research Association, and the National Council for Measurement 
in Education.
    18.(c) Question. Will parents be able to obtain school-
specific data?
    Answer. This decision will be made by the State or the 
school district, not by the Federal Government. We will 
encourage States and districts to provide overall school 
performance data to parents without breeching the 
confidentiality of individual student test scores. We believe 
that informing parents about how schools stack up against 
national performance levels is a significant potential benefit 
of these tests.
    18.(d) Question. Will parents be able to obtain school-
specific data for schools other than the one(s) their own child 
or children attend?
    Answer. This decision will be made by the State or the 
school district, not by the Federal Government. As indicated 
above, we will encourage States and school districts to provide 
this information.
    19.(a) Question. Do you intend to create new advisory 
committees to help design and oversee this program? If so, 
please explain.
    Answer. We are considering options for the establishment of 
appropriate advisory committees. Contractors will be required 
to establish their own committees to advise them on their work, 
including committees to advise on technical issues.
    19.(b) Question. If so, why are you doing that rather than 
relying on NAGB?
    Answer. We explained in response to question 10(a) why NAGB 
presently has no role regarding these tests. We are not 
opposed, however, to further considering this option.
    19.(c) Question. Who will appoint these new committees?
    Answer. Contractors will be responsible for appointing 
their own committees. If any advisory committees are 
established by the Department, members will be appointed by the 
Secretary.
    19.(d) Question. What types of individuals will be 
appointed?
    Answer. The types of individuals who will appointed to any 
advisory committees include reading and mathematics experts, 
testing and measurement experts, persons who are knowledgeable 
about making tests accessible to limited English proficient and 
disabled students, educational leaders, teachers, and parents. 
Appointees will be selected to assure public confidence in the 
integrity and non-partisan nature of this initiative.
    19.(e) Question. How many individuals will be appointed to 
such committees?
    Answer. We have no specific numbers at this time.
    19.(f) Question. What criteria do you intend to use for 
such appointees?
    Answer. Contractors will be expected to appoint nationally 
recognized experts. If any appointments are made by the 
Department, we will do the same.
    20. Question. How do you plan to deal with states which may 
have state assessments and standards which are more rigorous 
than any new national tests or standards?
    Answer. States will not be required to use these tests. 
However, whatever level a State's standards, these tests should 
be useful to inform parents how their children score against 
national--and in the case of mathematics, international--
performance levels.
    21. Question. Will states that wish to do so be free to use 
these test results for ``high stakes'' purposes?
    Answer. As is the case with all tests used by States and 
districts, the use of these tests will have to be consistent 
with the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing. 
This means they can be used only for purposes for which they 
have been validated. States that wish to use the tests for 
``high stakes'' purposes will have to collect the information 
to demonstrate that they are valid for such uses. This could 
not be done prior to the first administration of the tests.
    22. Question. What is the relationship of the new tests to 
the state standards and state assessments aspects of Goals 
2000?
    Answer. States will have to make these decisions. They will 
be free to use the national tests as part of their State 
assessment programs. No State will be required to use these 
tests in order to continue receiving Goals 2000 funds.
    23. (a) Question. At least 32 states have developed state 
standards, and an additional 14 report that standards 
development is underway. In addition, 45 states report that 
they have statewide assessment systems. How will ``national 
standards'' affect states who have already developed and are 
using state standards?
    Answer. This will be up to the States. We will work with 
them to make sure that the national tests can be integrated 
with their assessment systems. For many States, however, NAEP 
proficiency levels are more challenging than the State's own 
standards. In general, the percentages of students who reach 
the proficient level on NAEP are lower than the percentages who 
reach the proficient levels on States' assessments.
    23. (b) Question. If the national standards are different 
from the states' standards, will the states have to change 
their standards?
    Answer. Such decisions will be left entirely to the States. 
As far as content standards are concerned, however, there seems 
to be widespread agreement across the country about the basic 
skills of reading and mathematics. The Council of Chief State 
School Officers, for example, managed the consensus process 
that resulted in the frameworks for the NAEP fourth grade 
reading and eighth grade mathematics assessments. The 
mathematics framework is very consistent with the content 
standards developed by the National Council of Teachers of 
Mathematics, and those standards are heavily relied upon as 
States establish their own standards. In these two basic skill 
areas, the differences in standards will probably relate 
primarily to performance levels, not content.
    24. Question. What provision, if any, does the President's 
proposal make for private and home-schooled students to be able 
to take these tests?
    Answer. Private schools will be able to use these tests by 
obtaining them from certified test administration 
organizations, such as States, school districts, or test 
publishers. A private school that wants the Federal Government 
to reimburse the costs of administering the tests to its 
students would have to provide certain civil rights assurances 
related to admissions and test administration.
    Home-schooled students will be able to take these tests 
when they are released to the public following the close of the 
test administration period. Anyone may use the tests at that 
time. Scoring guides, as well as the tests themselves, will be 
made available.
    25. Question. How will you ensure these security?
    Answer. The test development contracts, as well as the 
agreements with certified test administration agencies and 
organizations, will include procedures to ensure the security 
of these tests. Particularly because new test questions will be 
developed each year, we expect these tests to be more secure 
than most tests that are widely available.
    Question. Will states be permitted to require teachers to 
take the same tests that their pupils are taking?
    Answer. Yes. This is a decision for States and districts to 
make, consistent with State and local law and any collective 
bargaining agreements.
    Question. If a state decides not to use the national tests 
in reading and math, can a local educational agency still go 
forward and use the test?
    Answer. Yes, a school district may use the tests whether 
they are used throughout the State or not. In fact, we would 
encourage districts to use the tests.
                              ----------                              


                               Exhibit C

                      U.S. Department of Education,
              Office of Elementary and Secondary Education,
                                Washington, DC, September 16, 1997.

               memorandum to chief state school officers

Subject: Questions and Answers on the relationship of Title I 
        Requirements to the National Voluntary Tests.

    Enclosed are questions and answers that clarify the 
Department of Education's position on the relationship between 
the standards and assessment requirements of Title I and the 
proposed National Voluntary Tests in reading in grade 4 and 
mathematics in grade 8.
    If you need further clarification, call Mary Jean LeTendre 
at 202-260-0826 of fax your questions to 202-260-7764.
                                                 Gerald N. Tirozzi.
    Enclosure.

    Question. May the national tests be used by the States, in 
part, as the assessments required under Title I of the 
Elementary and Secondary Education Act?
    Answer. Yes. Title I requires a State to use challenging 
content and student performance standards developed for all 
students under the Goals 2000: Educate America Act or under 
another process or, absent such standards for all students, to 
develop for children served under Title I challenging content 
and student performance standards that reflect the State's 
expectations for all children. The State must also develop or 
adopt assessments aligned with these standards. Thus, if a 
State determines that the national tests are aligned with the 
State's standards, those tests may be used for Title I 
purposes. Because the national tests will be based on the 
content frameworks of the National Assessment of Educational 
Progress, they will reflect a national consensus among 
educators, testing experts, and other leaders on what children 
should know and be able to do in reading English at the fourth 
grade level and in mathematics at the eighth grade level. We 
therefore expect that the tests generally will be aligned with 
most, if not all, States' efforts to develop challenging 
content and performance standards in these subjects at the 
indicated grade levels. Moreover, the national tests will be 
developed according to the highest professional and technical 
standards; will be administered with accommodations for 
children with disabilities and limited English proficient 
children; will yield scores at three levels of performance; and 
will permit scores to be disaggregated in accordance with Title 
I provisions. The national tests thus can be an important 
resource to States in carrying out Title I's vital goal of 
holding students who participate in Title I to the same high 
standards expected of all students.
    Question. Will use of the national tests by a State fully 
meet its assessment obligations under Title I?
    Answer. For most children, use of the national tests will 
meet a State's obligations under Title I to assess performance 
in reading at the fourth grade level and in math at the eighth 
grade level. However, consistent with the inclusion criteria 
for the national tests, some students with limited English 
proficiency or with disabilities may not be included in the 
national tests. Other appropriate assessments would need to be 
administered for these students in reading/language arts and 
math to meet the Title I requirements. Moreover, Title I 
requires annual State assessments in at least reading/language 
arts and math in at least one grade in each of the following 
clusters of grades: grades 3 through 5; grades 6 through 9; and 
grades 10 through 12. Therefore, other assessments would be 
needed for the grades 10 through 12 cluster if there are Title 
I programs in schools serving those grades. In addition, other 
State assessments in math in the grades 3 through 5 cluster and 
in reading/language arts in the grades 6 through 9 cluster 
would be required under Title I.
    Question. Since the fourth grade national reading test will 
be given only in English, can it be used for Title I assessment 
purposes?
    Answer. States generally are required by Title I to test 
all students--including children with disabilities and limited 
English proficient children--in reading/language arts in the 
grades selected for assessment. Limited English proficient 
children are to be assessed, to the extent practicable, in the 
language and form most likely to yield accurate and reliable 
information on what those students know and can do to determine 
their mastery of skills in subjects other than English. Thus, a 
State may use a particular test, such as the national reading 
test, for limited English proficient children for whom the test 
would be appropriate, and use other comparable reading tests 
that assess the State's standards, but would be more 
appropriate for children with less English proficiency.
    We believe that the fourth grade test in reading English--
with appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities 
and limited English proficient children--will be appropriate 
for most fourth grade children. Inclusion criteria for the 
tests will reflect that judgment. Limited English proficient 
students who may be excluded from the national reading test--
i.e., children who have received instruction in English for 
less than three years--would need to be given for Title I 
purposes, another State reading/language arts test in, to the 
extent practicable, the language and form most likely to yield 
accurate and reliable information on what they know and can do. 
Title I requires the States to make every effort to develop 
assessments in languages other than English as they are needed 
and directs the Secretary, through the Office of Bilingual 
Education and Minority Languages Affairs, to assist the States, 
at their request, in identifying appropriate assessment 
measures in other languages. The Department is prepared to 
provide that assistance.
                              ----------                              


                               Exhibit D

                                   Washington, DC, October 1, 1997.
Hon. Richard W. Riley,
Secretary of Education,
Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Secretary: When it was announced on Thursday, 
September 25, that you had halted temporarily the Department's 
work on the President's plan for federalized testing of all 
students, we took the announced suspension as a sign of your 
good faith.
    However, it now appears the reported ``suspension'' of work 
came at the close of a busy and costly week designing test 
development. We must say, it would have been better for the 
country, and cheaper for taxpayers, if you had called timeout 
before the swarm of test developers descended for a two-day 
session at one of the capital's most expensive hotels, The Four 
Seasons. We are told that a one-night stay for two people there 
costs $370--unless you want the best view.
    These meetings cast doubt on the Administration's ability 
to work with Congress on this issue. Please note in the 
enclosed news article that the test designer participants in 
this gathering expressed their discomfort at flying in the face 
of congressional deliberations by suggesting that the meeting 
be put off until Congress settled the testing controversy. 
According to the article, your Deputy Secretary rejected the 
suggestion out of hand.
    Moreover, while the expenditure of millions of dollars for 
federal testing concerns us deeply, the extravagance and 
arrogance of this session are an affront to the taxpayers of 
this nation. The taxpayers deserve to know the cost of this 
gathering on September 22 and 23, and what you will do to 
assure that they are not stuck directly or indirectly with the 
cost of travel, meeting rooms, lodging, and catered meals. 
Perhaps the next bunch of experts you bring to Washington could 
be persuaded to conduct the meetings at a college campus, or at 
the Department itself.
    The extravagance of the venue and the arrogance attributed 
to the Deputy Secretary reinforce the justifiable suspicion 
held by American families over federalized student tests. The 
government's record in the area of federalized academic 
standards is one of abject failure. This new attempt by the 
Department to intrude further into local schools should be 
halted permanently.
    The Department's experiment with nationwide testing is 
multiply flawed. First, it will undercut the control of schools 
by parents, teachers, and local boards. This will occur because 
nationalized testing inevitably will drive curriculum and 
instruction, leading to a national curriculum designed in 
Washington. Such a national curriculum depriving families of 
their right to shape education at the local level would be a 
disaster.
    Second, schools already administer many different tests. 
Our students need more knowledge, not simply more tests.
    Finally, the use of ``fuzzy'' math, or whole math, in the 
proposed tests aligns the Department with yet another 
educational fad, one associated with falling test scores among 
Defense Department students subjected to such teaching methods 
and curriculum.
    Please provide detailed responses to the following 
questions by October 7, 1997.
    Did the Deputy Secretary in fact reject the idea of 
deferring test development until Congress had settled the 
issue? What was the total cost (including all expenses) 
associated with the meetings held at The Four Seasons Hotel on 
September 22 and 23? What will you do to assure that the 
taxpayers are not billed directly or indirectly for the cost of 
these meetings? How much has the Department expended to date on 
the development of nationwide individualized testing?
    Thank you for your immediate attention to these matters.
            Sincerely,
                                   John Ashcroft,
                                           U.S. Senate.
                                   William F. Goodling,
                                           Chairman, Committee on 
                                               Education and the 
                                               Workforce, House of 
                                               Representatives.
    Enclosure.

                [From the Weekly Standard, Oct. 6, 1997]

                   Clinton's Contractors Dis Congress

    If anything is clear in the murky debate about national 
education testing, it's that Congress doesn't want the Clinton 
administration to continue in the course it's been on: 
constructing tests of fuzzy math and whole language with the 
help of committees and contractors picked by the Education 
Department from the heart of the public school establishment.
    In recent weeks, the Senate voted 87-13 to reassign the 
testing venture to an independent board, while the House voted 
295-120 to call a halt to the whole thing. You might suppose 
the White House--which says salvaging this ill-begun venture is 
its top priority and is threatening vetoes if Congress kills 
it--would at least put its contractors on hold while it seeks 
to work with Congress. But no.
    Last week, Georgetown's posh Four Seasons Hotel hosted a 
two-day meeting of test developers and several dozen 
``advisers'' convened by the Council for Basic Education, which 
stands to earn a tidy sum for its part in the $13 million 
contract now in force. When nervous participants asked the 
Education Department if maybe the meeting ought not be deferred 
until Congress makes up its mind, Deputy Secretary Marshall 
Smith (who picked all these folks) said: Nothing doing.
    Smith's Folly, as some Hill-dwellers term the testing 
scheme, continues at flank speed. ``They're sticking their 
fingers in our eyes,'' complains a House staffer. Someone as 
deft at education politics as William Jefferson Clinton might 
be expected to know better. But the administration is getting 
cocky. Congress is scared to fight back. The contractors are 
getting paid. The hotel welcomes the business. And we foot the 
bill.
                              ----------                              


                               Exhibit E

                              U.S. Department of Education,
                                   Washington, DC, October 9, 1997.
Hon. William F. Goodling,
House of Representatives,
Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman. I am pleased to respond to your letter 
of October 1, 1997. I regret that you have been misled by a 
press account of the meeting held by the Council for Basic 
Education on September 22 and 23 and am happy to take this 
opportunity to provide factual information about the meeting. 
Furthermore, I was disappointed to see that you described this 
as ``federalized'' testing for all students. I am sending a 
similar reply to Senator Ashcroft.
    I think it is important to note that the meeting was 
planned, announced and held prior to the decision by the 
Department to cease temporarily the contractor's work on test 
item development. In order to secure the best advice from 
classroom teachers, experts and citizens, the meeting was 
attended by 60 people at costs of $13,654 for meals, rooms and 
conference space; $7,600 for transcription services; $7,350 for 
stipends to panelists; and approximately $10,000 in 
transportation costs.
    While the meeting was held at the Four Seasons Hotel, the 
meeting participants did not stay there. They stayed at the 
Georgetown Suites as a cost of $124.00 per night, which is the 
standard government rate of Washington, D.C. The meeting was 
conducted at the Four Seasons because the Georgetown Suites did 
not have conference rooms available, the Four Seasons is within 
walking distance of the Georgetown Suites, and the Four Seasons 
provided meals for conference participants at rates comparable 
to other hotels, but with a lower service charge. The hotel 
accommodations and meeting costs were well within established 
government rates and do not represent an extravagant cost to 
the taxpayer.
    The Acting Deputy Secretary of Education, Marshal S. Smith, 
did not attend the meeting or provide instructions to the 
participants. The panelists at the meeting were selected solely 
by the Council for Basic Education.
    With reference to your characterization of this as 
``federalized testing of all students,'' it is important to 
reiterate that these tests will be no more ``federalized'' than 
the highly regarded and widely used National Assessment of 
Educational Progress. While development of the tests would be 
supported with federal funds, under our proposal as passed by 
the Senate they will be developed under the control of the 
independent, bipartisan National Assessment Governing Board. As 
you well know, the Administration has made quite clear that 
they will be totally voluntary in nature, administered at the 
discretion of state and local officials.
    In closing, you inquired as to how much the Department has 
expended to date on development of the tests. The Department 
estimates that the contractors have expended approximately $3 
million for those purposes to date.
    I hope this information is useful.
            Yours sincerely,
                                       Richard W. Riley, Secretary.
                              ----------                              


                               Exhibit F

                              U.S. Department of Education,
                                      Washington, DC, October 1997.
    Dear School Board Chair: The American public is focused as 
never before on education, and on the need to ensure that no 
student is left behind in mastering basic and advanced skills, 
especially in reading and math. As a school board member, you 
are in the position to develop policies that articulate clearly 
what students should know and be able to do in your schools. 
Also, you have the forum to engage your school district 
leadership and staff, as well as the public in an ongoing 
dialogue about these expectations.
    I am writing to make you aware of vital information that 
you can use to inform your efforts and I am also sharing it 
with other educational leaders. The Third International 
Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), the most thorough 
international study of math and science education ever 
conducted, provides important information comparing the 
performance of a half million students, including 33,000 
Americans, at levels corresponding to U.S. grades 4, 8, and 12. 
We now have the results for the fourth and eighth grades.
    TIMSS shows that the achievement of our fourth-grade 
students is quite high: above the international average in both 
math and science, and in science outperformed only by Korea. 
However, by eighth grade, our students are not doing as well, 
particularly in mathematics. Among the 41 nations participating 
in TIMSS, U.S. eighth graders score above the international 
average in science, but below the international average in 
mathematics.
    Our fourth-grade performance in math and science should 
give us all renewed hope and excitement about the importance 
and promise of public education in America. However, our poor 
performance in mathematics at the eighth grade suggests that we 
must increase our efforts to improve the teaching and learning 
of this critical subject in the late elementary and middle 
school years. Information from TIMSS can inform those efforts. 
TIMSS thoroughly investigated curricula, teaching methods, and 
other factors that help explain differences in student 
achievement and found important differences between the U.S. 
and high-performing nations. Two key differences the study 
identified are: our expectations for our students and our 
teaching methods.
    Expectations. The U.S. expects less of its middle school 
and junior high students compared to high performing nations. 
In Germany and Japan, virtually all students in grades five 
through eight move beyond arithmetic to the foundations of 
algebra and geometry. In the U.S., students generally are not 
exposed to these more advanced topics prior to high school. As 
a result, the content taught in U.S. eighth-grade mathematics 
classrooms is usually at a seventh-grade level compared to the 
40 other nations in the TIMSS study.
    Teaching. TIMSS found that U.S. mathematics classes require 
students to engage in less high-level mathematical thought and 
solve fewer multistep problems than classes in Germany and 
Japan. A U.S. mathematics teacher's typical goal is to teach 
students how to do something, while a Japanese teacher's goal 
is to help them learn these basics and also understand 
mathematical concepts. In a typical U.S. classroom, students 
follow the teacher as he or she leads them through solutions to 
mathematics problems. In Japan, students are asked to solve 
problems, present them to the class, and describe how they 
approached the problem to increase their own understanding.
    A full summary of TIMSS fourth- and eighth-grade findings 
related to mathematics is attached, along with information on 
useful materials for parents, teachers, and school district 
leaders based on TIMSS. This new research can inform the work 
of school boards: the reports you commission, the questions you 
ask, and the policies you adopt. For example, school board 
members can:
          Examine whether the curriculum in grades five through 
        eight in your district includes significant amounts of 
        algebra, geometry and complex problem-solving.
          Ask what percent of students have the opportunity to 
        take algebra or a similarly demanding course in eighth 
        grade, and how that percentage can be increased to near 
        100 percent;
          Ask administrators about instructional practices, 
        such as how often students are asked to solve multistep 
        problems, to explain their solutions to the class, and 
        to answer the question, ``Why?''
    Another important way to use TIMSS is to look at the 
specific questions on the fourth- and eighth-grade tests, 
examples of which are attached. These questions are concrete 
examples of what internationally competitive standards look 
like. They allow you to determine whether students in your 
community can meet this standard, or even perform as well as 
the U.S. average.
    In 1999, your district has the opportunity to participate 
in a voluntary national test of mathematics at grade eight that 
will provide individual student scores, and will be linked to 
the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and to 
TIMSS. Participating in this mathematics test will tell you how 
your students are doing compared to students in other states 
and other nations. There will also be a voluntary national test 
in reading at grade four--another critical subject.
    It is clearer than ever that mathematics proficiency is a 
gateway to college, productive employment and civic 
participation. In order to succeed in the world they will 
inherit from us--a world of great complexity, opportunity, and 
uncertainty--all U.S. students will need to perform at world-
class levels. We encourage you in your stewardship of your 
local schools, to share this information with members of your 
board, and take this opportunity to begin a dialogue with your 
superintendent, principals, teachers, parents, and others who 
are concerned about improving our students' achievement.
            Yours sincerely,
                                       Richard W. Riley, Secretary.
                              ----------                              


                               Exhibit G

                  National Assessment Governing Board


              national assessment of educational progress


To: National Assessment Governing Board.
From: William T. Randall, Chairman, Special Committee to Review the 
        Test Development Contract.
Subject: Committee Recommendations on the Test Development Contract for 
        the Voluntary National Tests.
Date: January 15, 1998.
Background
    At the November 1997 Governing Board meeting, Chairman Mark 
Musick established this Special Committee. The Chairman asked 
the committee to review the Voluntary National Test Development 
Contract (RJ97153001), as required by P.L. 105-78, and to 
present recommendations on the contract at the January 22, 1998 
Board meeting.
    Under P.L. 105-78, the Governing Board is given exclusive 
authority over all policies, direction and guidelines for 
developing voluntary national tests pursuant to the contract. 
In addition, the law requires the Board to review the contract 
and accept, modify, or terminate it within 90 days (i.e., by 
February 11, 1998).
    The Special Committee has completed its review. Following 
below is an overview of the committee recommendations, which 
will be discussed in detail at the Board meeting.
Overview of Committee Recommendations
    The committee's recommendations are contained in revisions 
to the Statement of Work under which the contract was first 
awarded. They directly address what the Congress asked the 
Governing Board to do:
          Ensure that the voluntary national tests are based on 
        the same content and performance standards as are used 
        in the National Assessment of Educational Progress and 
        are linked to the National Assessment to the maximum 
        extent possible;
          Provide for broad public involvement as the tests are 
        developed;
          Assure that the tests are fair, accurate, and 
        technically sound;
          Assess what students should know and be able to do, 
        as defined by NAEP frameworks and achievement levels, 
        independent of how students were taught;
          Respect the prohibitions under P.L. 105-78;
          Assume responsibility for policy and oversight of 
        test development.
    The primary aim of the Voluntary National Tests is to 
produce an individual form of NAEP that will provide student-
level results according to the Governing Board's performance 
standards: Basic, Proficient, and Advanced.
    The committee recommends that the current contractor be 
instructed to modify the contract consistent with specific 
changes to the Statement of Work to be approved by the Board. 
The Statement of Work should be changed to reflect: (1) the 
policy and oversight responsibility given to the Board by 
Congress, (2) congressional intent that the voluntary national 
tests be based on NAEP, (3) activities that are prohibited 
using FY 1998 appropriations, (4) only activities necessary and 
desirable for test development, and (5) the first year of test 
administration being 2001. These are described more fully 
below.
    1. The Governing Board should require the current 
contractor to modify the contract proposals.
    The Contract Proposal must be changed in significant ways 
consistent with the revised Statement of Work, as approved by 
the Governing Board. Tasks, activities, and/or deliverables 
must be deleted, modified, or added, consistent with the 
revised Statement of Work, in order for this contract to be 
acceptable. The Governing Board should transmit to the 
contractor by January 23, 1998, the revised Statement of Work 
and complete action on the contract changes with the contractor 
by February 11, 1998. The contract shall be terminated if the 
contractor's response is not acceptable.
    2. The Statement of Work and contract proposals should be 
revised, consistent with P.L. 105-78, to clarify that exclusive 
authority over all policies, direction and guidelines for 
developing voluntary national tests pursuant to contract 
RJ97153001 is vested in the Governing Board.
    The original Statement of Work was written, and the 
contract awarded, prior to enactment of P.L. 105-78. The 
original Statement of Work and contract proposal assume no role 
for the Governing Board in setting policy with respect to the 
voluntary national tests. Instead, management and oversight of 
the contract are assumed to be responsibilities of the 
Department of Education. The attached Statement of Work 
contains the recommendations of the Special Committee on 
changes that should be made to reflect the Governing Board's 
responsibilities under P.L. 105-78. This includes changing 
certain tasks, deliverables and timelines (e.g., regarding the 
development of policies on reporting, test use, and 
accommodations) to take into account the Board's policy setting 
role, the schedule of Governing Board meetings, and the need to 
obtain expert advice and wide public comment.
    3. The Statement of Work and the contract proposal should 
be modified to reflect the intent of Congress that the 
Voluntary National Tests be based on the same content and 
performance standards are used in the National Assessment of 
Educational progress and be linked to the National Assessment 
to the maximum extent possible.
    The conference report accompanying P.L. 105-78 states that 
the Voluntary National Tests will be based on the same content 
and performance standards as the National Assessment of 
Educational progress and will be linked to the National 
Assessment to the maximum extent possible. The current contract 
states that test specifications will be prepared by a separate 
contractor and transmitted when completed to the test 
development contractor. However, under P.L. 105-78, the 
approval of final test specifications and of all test items 
will be the responsibility of the Governing Board. Accordingly, 
the attached Statement of Work contains the recommendations of 
the Special Committee on changes that should be made to reflect 
congressional intent on the relationship of the Voluntary 
National Tests to the National Assessment.
    4. The Statement of Works and contract proposal should be 
changed to reflect activities that are prohibited using FY 1998 
appropriations.
    Under P.L. 105-78, no FY 1998 funds may be used to pilot 
test, field test, implement, administer, or distribute in any 
way, any national tests, with the exception of NAEP and the 
Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). 
Accordingly, the attached Statement of Work contains the 
recommendations of the Special Committee on changes that should 
be made to clarify that: (1) the conduct of pilot tests, field 
tests, implementation, administration, and distribution of 
national tests shall not begin prior to October 1, 1998 and (2) 
as appropriate and necessary, planning and preparations for 
pilot testing, field testing, implementation, administration 
and distribution may be carried out consistent with the 
Statement of Work.
    5. The contract proposal should be changed to ensure that 
only work that is necessary and desirable for test development 
is supported under the contract.
    In reviewing the contract proposal, the Special Committee 
found examples of activities beyond the scope of test 
development. The attached Statement of Work cites specific 
examples in the current contract proposal and requires the 
contractor to delete from the proposal all activities not 
specifically required under the Statement of Work.
    6. The target year for the first administration of the 
Voluntary National Tests should be changed from the year 2000 
to the year 2001 to provide adequate time for test development 
and to ensure the technical quality of the equating of multiple 
versions of the tests and the linking of those multiple 
versions to NAEP and TIMSS.
    Developing an individual form of NAEP, reporting results to 
individual students by achievement levels, using multiple 
equated versions of the tests, and linking the results to NAEP 
and TIMSS all are ``first ever'' undertakings that will involve 
many technical challenges. Therefore, minimizing threats to 
success should be a central principle in the design of the 
pilot and field testing. Under the contractor's current design, 
pilot testing would occur in the fall and, therefore, include 
4th and 5th graders for the fourth grade reading test and 8th 
and 9th graders for the eighth grade mathematics test. However, 
field testing would occur in March, the same time of year as 
planned for administration of the Voluntary National Tests.
    The Special Committee believes that pilot testing should 
occur in March, the year before field testing, using 4th and 
8th graders only, so that the conditions for pilot, field and 
operational testing are as similar as possible and so that 
there is ample time for test development, analysis and planning 
from stage to stage of this complex activity. Accordingly, the 
Special Committee has recommended changes to the schedule in 
the attached Statement of Work. This schedule will result in 
the first pilot test being conducted in March of 1999, the 
field test in March of the year 2000, and the operational test 
in March of the year 2001.
    The members of the Special Committee to Review the Test 
Development Contract appreciate the opportunity to review the 
contract and prepare these recommendations. We look forward to 
the discussion with the Board at the meeting on January 22.

                      Section by Section Analysis

    H.R. 2846, a bill to prohibit spending Federal education 
funds on national testing without explicit and specific 
legislation, as reported by the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce on January 28, 1998.
    Section 1 contains the findings of the bill.
    Section 2 inserts language into Part C of the General 
Education Provisions Act to prohibit spending on the 
development, planning, implementation (including pilot testing 
or field testing) or administration of any Federally sponsored 
national test that is not specifically and explicitly 
authorized in law. The bill provides exceptions for: (1) 
limited test development activities pursuant to P. L. 105-78 
and only in fiscal year 1998; and (2) the Third International 
Math and Science Study (TIMSS) or comparable international 
assessments administered to representative samples of students 
pursuant to section 406(a)(6) of the National Education 
Statistics Act of 1994. The National Assessment of Educational 
Progress (NAEP), which is currently specifically and explicitly 
authorized in sections 411-413 of the National Education 
Statistics Act of 1994, would be unaffected by the legislation.

                       Explanation of Amendments

    The Amendment in the Nature of a substitute is explained in 
this report.

                           Committee Estimate

    Clause 7 of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison by the 
Committee of the costs which would be incurred in carrying out 
H.R. 2846. However, clause 7(d) of that rule provides that this 
requirement does not apply when the Committee has included in 
its report a timely submitted cost estimate of the bill 
prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office 
under section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    The prohibition on federally funded national testing and 
the other elements of this bill are within Congress' authority 
under the spending clause of the Constitution, Article I, 
section 8, clause 1.

              Application of Law to the Legislative Branch

    Section 102(b)(3) of Public Law 104-1 requires a 
description of the application of this bill to the legislative 
branch. This bill prohibits federally funded national testing; 
the bill does not prevent legislative branch employees from 
receiving the benefits of this legislation.

                       Unfunded Mandate Statement

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act requires a statement of whether the provisions of 
the reported bill include unfunded mandates. This bill 
prohibits federally funded national testing, and as such does 
not contain any unfunded mandates.

  Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the Committee

    In compliance with clause 2(l)(3)(A) of rule XI and clause 
2(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives, 
the Committee's oversight findings and recommendations are 
reflected in the body of this report.

 Statement of Oversight FIndings of the Committee on Government Reform 
                             and Oversight

    With respect to the requirement of clause 2(l)(3)(D) of 
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee has received no report of oversight findings and 
recommendations from the Committee on Government Reform and 
Oversight on the subject of H.R. 2846.

     Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    With respect to the requirements of clause 2(l)(3)(B) of 
rule XI of the House of Representatives and section 308(a) of 
the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and with respect to 
requirements of 2(l)(3)(C) of rule XI of the House of 
Representatives and section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act 
of 1974, the Committee has received the following cost estimate 
for H.R. 2846 from the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Act:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                  Washington, DC, January 29, 1998.
Hon. William F. Goodling,
Chairman, Committee on Education and the Workforce, House of 
        Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 2846, as ordered 
reported by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce 
on January 28, 1998.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Justin Latus.
            Sincerely,
                                         June E. O'Neill, Director.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 2846--A bill to prohibit spending Federal education funds on 
        national testing without explicit and specific legislation

    CBO estimates that enacting this bill would have no impact 
on the federal budget. Because the bill would not affect direct 
spending or receipts, pay-as-you-go procedures would not apply. 
The bill contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 
and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The fiscal year 1998 appropriation act for the Department 
of Education allows only certain very limited activities 
related to testing. H.R. 2846 would allow these activities to 
continue but would prohibit any expansion of these activities 
unless specifically provided in authorizing legislation. Since 
CBO assumes that no expanded activities related to testing 
would occur under current law, CBO estimates that H.R. 2846 
would have no budgetary effects.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Justin Latus. 
This estimate was approved by Paul N. Van de Water, Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.


         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with clause 3 of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (new matter is 
printed in italic and existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

             PART C OF THE GENERAL EDUCATION PROVISIONS ACT

          * * * * * * *

 Part C--General Requirements and Conditions Concerning the Operation 
  and Administration of Education Programs; General Authority of the 
                               Secretary

          * * * * * * *

Subpart 3--Administration of Education Programs and Projects by States 
                     and Local Educational Agencies

          * * * * * * *

Sec. 447. Prohibition on federally sponsored testing

    (a) General Prohibition.--Notwithstanding any other 
provision of Federal law and, except as provided in sections 
305 through 311 of Public Law 105-78, the Labor, Health and 
Human Services and Education Appropriations Act, 1998, funds 
provided to the Department of Education or to an applicable 
program under this Act or any other Act, may not be used to 
develop, plan, implement (including pilot testing or field 
testing), or administer any federally sponsored national test 
in reading, mathematics, or any other subject that is not 
specifically and explicitly provided for in authorizing 
legislation enacted into law.
    (b) Exceptions.--Subsection (a) shall not apply to the 
Third International Math and Science Study or other 
international comparative assessments developed under authority 
of section 406(a)(6) of the National Education Statistics Act 
of 1994, and administered to only a representative sample of 
pupils in the United States and in foreign nations.

                           SUPPLEMENTAL VIEWS

    Congress is preparing to consider HR 2846, which forbids 
the use of federal funds to develop or implement a National 
Test without explicit authorization from Congress. Supporters 
of protecting the United States Constitution from overreaching 
by the Executive Branch should support this bill. Article I of 
the United States Constitution grants Congress sole authority 
to determine how executive agencies spend taxpayers' monies. 
Therefore, the Administration's plan to develop and implement a 
national education test without Congressional authorization is 
a power grab by the Executive Branch violative of the 
constitutional doctrine of separation of powers.
    However, support of this bill should in no way be 
interpreted to imply that Congress has the power to authorize 
national testing. After all, Congress, like the Executive and 
the Judicial branches of government, must adhere to the 
limitations on its power imposed by the United States 
Constitution. Although many seem to have forgotten this, in our 
system, the limits set by the Constitution, rather than the 
will of any particular Congress, determine the legitimate 
authority of the United States Government.
    Under the United States Constitution, the federal 
government is prohibited from developing and implementing a 
national test, or any program dealing with education. Education 
is not one of the powers delegated to the federal government, 
and, as the ninth and tenth amendment make clear, the federal 
government can only act in those areas where there is an 
explicit delegation of power. Therefore, the federal government 
has no legitimate authority to legislate in the area of 
education rather all matters concerning education, including 
testing, in the hands of those best able to educate children--
individual states, local communities, and, primally, parents.
    Implementation of a national test also must be opposed 
because of its primary effect: the de facto creation of a 
national curriculum. Many supporters of national testing try to 
minimize this threat to local and parental sovereignty by 
claiming the program would be voluntary. However, these are 
many of the same people who consider Goals 2000 a ``voluntary'' 
program, despite the numerous times Goals 2000 legislation uses 
the terms ``shall'' and ``must'' in describing state functions. 
Furthermore, whether or not schools are directly ordered to 
administer the tests, schools will face pressure to do so as 
colleagues and employers inevitably begin to use national tests 
as the standard by which students are measured for college 
entrance exams and entry-level jobs. At the very least, schools 
would soon find federal, and perhaps even state, funding 
conditioned upon their ``voluntary'' participation in the 
national testing program.
    When all, or at least the majority of, schools are 
administering national tests, the tests will then be the 
standard by which all schools will be measured. Those schools 
whose students did poorly on the national tests would be 
labeled as doing a poor job of educating children.
    Educators would react to this pressure to ensure students 
scored highly on the national test by ``teaching to the 
test''--that is, structuring the curriculum so students learn 
those subjects, and only those subjects covered by the national 
tests. As University of Kansas Professor John Poggio remarked 
in February of last year, ``What gets tested is what will be 
taught.'' Government bureaucrats would then control the 
curriculum of every school in the nation, and they would be 
able to alter curriculums at will by altering the national 
test!
    Private schools and home schools will be affected as well, 
as performance on the national tests becomes the standard by 
which student performance is judged. Those in private and home 
schools will face increasing pressure to participate in 
national testing and shape what is taught to fit the criteria 
of the tests.
    National testing is a backdoor means by which the federal 
government can control the curriculum of every school in the 
nation. Implementation of national testing would be a perhaps 
fatal blow to constitutional government and parental control of 
education.
    The Executive Branch has no constitutional authority to 
implement and develop a national test and the Congress has no 
authority to authorize the test. I therefore urge my colleagues 
to support HR 2846, which stops the Administration from 
ultimately implementing national tests and oppose all 
legislation authorizing the creation of a national test. 
Instead, this Congress should work to restore control over 
their children's education to the American people by shutting 
down the federal education bureaucracy and cutting taxes on 
America's parents so they may provide for the education of 
their own children.

                                                          Ron Paul.

                             MINORITY VIEWS

    The majority states in its views that ``the Committee 
strongly believes the proper forum for addressing the 
President's federal testing proposal is during reauthorization 
hearings in NAEP and NAGB.'' We wholeheartedly agree.
    It is premature to act on this legislation. Testing 
language, negotiated by Chairman Goodling in the FY 1998 Labor, 
HHS, and Education Appropriations bill, is very clear. It 
prohibits the use of 1998 fiscal year funds to field test, 
administer, distribute or implement any national test. Further, 
it transfers oversight for testing from the Department of 
Education to the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), an 
independent, 26-member Board which is composed of state, local, 
and federal officials, educators business representatives, and 
members of the public.
    We note that there is bipartisan concern about the passage 
of H.R. 2846. Secretary Riley respectfully requested the 
Committee delay action on the bill, urging Chairman Goodling to 
choose bipartisanship and consensus over politics (letter 
attached). During the Committee's markup of the bill, 
Representative Castle expressed his serious reservations about 
the bill:
    ``First, I really do not think this legislation is 
necessary right now. We still have before us the 
reauthorization of NAGB and the National Assessment of 
Education Progress, NAEP, that would provide a better vehicle 
for this discussion. The legislation before us does not give 
Congress a chance to consider the studies on national tests 
which were a key part of the hard fought compromise by the 
chairman * * * in essence, this bill muddies the waters of 
compromise and negotiations * * *. (Representative Castle, at 
the January 28, 1998, markup of H.R. 2846).''
    In fact, the appropriations bill called for three separate 
studies to be completed by the National Academy of Sciences. 
These studies will examine (1) the feasibility of linking pupil 
scores on existing state and commercial tests to each other and 
to National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) \1\ 
results; (2) the technical quality of test items developed for 
the national tests, including their reliability, validity, and 
freedom from racial, cultural, or gender bias; and (3) 
safeguards and appropriate uses of pupil scores.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\ NAEP--is mandated by Congress to survey the educational 
accomplishments of U.S. students and to monitor changes in those 
accomplishments. Often referred to as the Nation's Report Card, NAEP 
tracks the educational achievement of 4th, 8th, and 12th-grade students 
over time in selected content areas, which includes reading, math, 
writing, science, U.S. History, geography, and civics. For over 27 
years, NAEP has been collecting data with the aim of providing accurate 
and useful information to educators, policymakers, and the public. 
Since 1990 NAEP has collected student achievement data at the state 
level. Participation in NAEP is voluntary.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    We should act to resolve the national testing issue with 
the benefit of these important studies, in a measured, 
deliberate, bipartisan way during the reauthorization of NAEP 
and NAGB. Taking up H.R. 2846 now only diverts attention away 
from a number of other education priorities that require prompt 
Committee action. We should be taking action to repair our 
nation's crumbling and overcrowded schools. We should be moving 
legislation to support locally-driven public school renewal so 
that all our children can become high achievers. And we should 
immediately begin consideration of President Clinton's 
proposals to reduce class size, strengthen after school 
programs, and improve teacher training.

                              U.S. Department of Education,
                                  Washington, DC, January 20, 1998.
Hon. William Goodling,
Chairman, House Committee on Education and the Workforce, House of 
        Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Bill: I have recently learned of your plan to hold a 
mark-up of legislation relating to the President's proposed 
voluntary national tests on January 28. I am writing to 
encourage you to reconsider this plan.
    Last fall, you worked directly with White House officials 
and the President and with members of Congress in both parties 
to reach a bipartisan agreement on how to proceed with regard 
to the proposed national tests. The agreement called for a 
series of studies to be conducted by the National Academy of 
Sciences that would help inform future actions by the Congress 
and the Administration on this issue. The deadlines for the 
studies were carefully established in order to provide the 
Congress and the Administration the benefit of the additional 
information and analyses before Congress took up this matter 
again.
    Since that time, the Administration has transferred 
relevant responsibilities to the National Assessment Governing 
Board (NAGB), and the studies and reports called for in the 
agreement are under way. The outcome of those studies will be 
very important to future discussions and, I am sure, to the 
work of NAGB in this regard.
    I strongly believe that the agreement, which was developed 
as a result of your efforts, should be fully implemented and 
that any votes taken before then would prejudge the findings 
from the studies. I can assure that the Administration and NAGB 
are operating within the parameters of that agreement. In the 
same spirit, I would hope that your Committee would withhold 
further action in this reagrd at this point in time.
            Yours sincerely,
                                       Richard W. Riley, Secretary.
                              ----------                              

                       National Assessment Governing Board,
                                  Washington, DC, January 30, 1998.
Hon. William L. Clay,
Ranking Minority Member, Committee on Education and the Work Force, 
        House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Clay: This is in response to your request for 
information about the National Assessment Governing Board's 
decisions and plans with respect to voluntary national tests.
    Public Law 105-78 (the Act) vests in the Governing Board 
``exclusive authority over all policies, direction, and 
guidelines for developing voluntary national tests pursuant to 
contract RJ97153001 * * * '' The Act requires the Governing 
Board to review the contract and modify it `` as the Board 
determines necessary and not inconsistent with [the provisions 
of P.L. 105-78]'' or, if it cannot be so modified, terminate 
the contract and negotiate a new one. The Act provides that the 
review and modifications be completed by February 11, 1998.
    On January 22, the Governing Board deliberated on the 
recommendations of its Special Committee to Review the Test 
Development Contract. As a result, the Governing Board approved 
a detailed set of changes to the contract and, on January 23, 
delivered those changes to the test development contractor, 
American Institutes for Research. The contractor's response is 
due on January 30 and all actions by the Governing Board on the 
disposition of the contract are planned for completion by 
February 11, as required by the Act.
    As you will see in the highlights of our changes to the 
contract (below), we do not presume that test development will 
continue beyond September 30. That is why we changed the 
contract performance periods to end on September 30 and why we 
specified in the contract that pilot and field testing may not 
be conducted with FY 1998 funds.
    We are aware that the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce plans to take up reauthorization of the National 
Assessment of Educational Progress and the Governing board this 
year and that the future of voluntary national test is 
anticipated to be deliberated at that time. Also we understand 
that the deliberations will be informed by the results of three 
congressionally mandated National Academy of Science studies. 
Our plans are based on the expectation that we will receive 
timely guidance through the congressional authorization 
process. We have taken steps, including changing the timing of 
the contract to coincide with reauthorization and the Fiscal 
Year to ensure that we are positioned to act in accordance with 
that guidance.
    While we intend to follow the dictates of Congress, for our 
planning purposes we cannot presume that test development will 
stop on September 30, just as we have not presumed that it will 
go forward. We have included in the contract, planning 
activities that are essential components of test development. 
For example, although pilot testing and field testing will not 
occur during FY 1998, we have asked the contractor to provide a 
detailed description of its plan for sampling and data analysis 
for the pilot and field tests. This plan will be reviewed by 
the Governing Board for technical quality and revised as 
directed by the Board. However, pilot testing and field testing 
will not be implemented until we have clear guidance from 
Congress. Thus, we will be in a position to continue to 
discontinue test development work, as Congress indicates 
appropriate.
    We have enclosed a copy of the contract revisions. This 34-
page document has many detailed, specific changes. These 
include:
          Changing the contract performance periods to end on 
        September 30 rather than August 15;
          Specifying that no FY 1998 funds may be used to pilot 
        test, field test, implement, administer, or distribute 
        in any way, any national tests, except the National 
        Assessment of Educational Progress and the third 
        International Mathematics and Science Study, as 
        provided by the Act;
          Setting the schedule so that test questions are 
        written during 1998, pilot testing (if the Congress 
        indicates we are to continue test development) is moved 
        from October 1998 to March 1999, field testing is moved 
        from March 1999 to March 2000, and the first testing of 
        students in 4th grade reading and 8th grade mathematics 
        is moved from March 2000 to March 2001.
          Adding provisions regarding the four determinations 
        the Governing Board is to make under the Act with 
        respect to: test bias; testing in the form most likely 
        to yield accurate information; meeting the needs of 
        disadvantaged, limited English proficient, and disabled 
        students; and how parents, guardians and students will 
        be informed about testing content, purpose, and uses;
          Removing activities that are beyond the scope of test 
        development.
    Again, these changes are consistent with the Act and 
intended to meet its letter and spirit.
    Thank you for your request. Please feel free to contact me 
if you have any additional questions.
            Sincerely,
                                     Roy Truby, Executive Director.

                                   Bill Clay.
                                   Dale E. Kildee.
                                   Major R. Owens.
                                   Lynn C. Woolsey.
                                   Chaka Fattah.
                                   Carolyn McCarthy.
                                   Ron Kind.
                                   Harold E. Ford, Jr.
                                   George Miller.
                                   Matthew G. Martinez.
                                   Donald M. Payne.
                                   Robert E. Andrews.
                                   Bobby Scott.
                                   Carlos Romero-Barcelo.
                                   Ruben Hinojosa.
                                   John F. Tierney.
                                   Loretta Sanchez.
                                   Dennis J. Kucinich.