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                                                       Calendar No. 640
109th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     109-348

======================================================================



 
                    AMERICAN HISTORY ACHIEVEMENT ACT

                                _______
                                

               September 26, 2006.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Enzi, from the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 860]

    The Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 860) to amend the National 
Assessment of Educational Progress Authorization Act to require 
State academic assessments of student achievement in United 
States history and civics, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment in the nature of a substitute and recommends that the 
bill (as amended) do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
  I. Purpose and Need for Legislation.................................1
 II. Summary..........................................................2
III. History of Legislation and Votes in Committee....................2
 IV. Explanation of Bill and Committee Views..........................2
  V. Cost Estimate and Unfunded Mandate Statement.....................4
 VI. Application of Law to the Legislative Branch.....................5
VII. Regulatory Impact Statement......................................5
VIII.Section-by-Section Analysis......................................5

 IX. Changes in Existing Law..........................................6

                  I. Purpose and Need for Legislation

    The purpose of the American History Achievement Act is to 
promote increased student achievement, academic standards, and 
improved instruction in U.S. history and civics through more 
frequent and improved data collection about student performance 
in those subjects.
    Studies show that American students are unfamiliar with 
many of the influential people and landmark events of our 
Nation's history. According to the 2001 National Assessment of 
Education Progress (NAEP) U.S. history exam, the most recent 
U.S. history NAEP test for which results are available, fewer 
students have a basic understanding of American history than 
any other subject we test, including math, science, and 
reading.
    The continued strength of our democracy and America's 
standing in the world depend upon our children mastering and 
appreciating our Nation's history and civic values.

                              II. Summary

    The legislation authorizes the National Assessment 
Governing Board to conduct a pilot program to administer the 
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) assessments 
in U.S. history and civics in not less than 10 States, in 
grades 8 and 12. Data collected from this pilot program will 
enable State comparisons of eighth- and twelfth-grade students' 
knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and civics. The 
legislation also increases the frequency with which the NAEP 
tests in U.S. history are given at the national level. The 
Commissioner for Education Statistics is directed to give a 
priority to conducting such assessments at least once every 4 
years in grades 4, 8, and 12.

           III. History of Legislation and Votes in Committee

    The American History Achievement Act was first introduced 
by Senators Alexander and Kennedy on July 22, 2004 during the 
108th Congress. The legislation, S. 2721, authorized pilot 
State NAEP testing in U.S. history and was referred to the 
Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. No 
further action on S. 2721 was taken during the 108th Congress.
    In the first session of the 109th Congress, the American 
History Achievement Act was reintroduced by Senators Alexander 
and Kennedy on April 20, 2005 as S. 860. The legislation, which 
was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and 
Pensions, added authorization for pilot State NAEP testing in 
civics. A hearing on the bill took place on June 30, 2005 
before the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions 
Subcommittee on Education and Early Childhood Development. On 
May 17, 2006, the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and 
Pensions by unanimous consent ordered the bill to be reported 
favorably with an amendment in the nature of a substitute 
offered by Senator Alexander and co-sponsored by Senator 
Kennedy.

              IV. Explanation of Bill and Committee Views

    The committee believes this legislation represents an 
important effort to increase the focus on the teaching of U.S. 
history and civics in our Nation's schools. Existing data 
clearly show that many of our students are uninformed about the 
most fundamental aspects of our nation's history and civics, 
rendering them ill-prepared to preserve and defend our 
democracy and ideals. These facts are particularly troubling at 
a time when our Nation's values are being challenged amid the 
global war on terror.
    Asked in a 2004 Hart-Teeter poll what the principal goal of 
education should be, adults most often selected ``producing 
literate, educated citizens who can participate in our 
democracy.'' Unless efforts to more effectively teach history 
and civics are undertaken, our students will fall short of that 
goal.
    This legislation contains two primary provisions to promote 
increased student achievement in U.S. history and civics: more 
frequent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 
testing in U.S. history, and a new State-level pilot of NAEP 
exams in U.S. history and civics.
    The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 
exams have been administered to a national sample of students 
in grades 4, 8, and 12 in a variety of subjects since 1969, and 
are the best available indicator of student achievement at the 
national level. The most recent NAEP U.S. history test was 
administered from January through March of 2006. Previously, 
assessments in U.S. history were conducted in 2001, 1994, and 
earlier. The committee believes that more frequent assessments 
would create timelier and more meaningful information on 
student performance that could help drive curricular 
improvement. Therefore, the legislation directs the 
Commissioner for Education Statistics to give a priority to 
conducting NAEP U.S. history assessments at least once every 4 
years in grades 4, 8, and 12.
    The legislation would supplement these national-sample 
assessments with State-specific samples by creating a pilot 
State academic assessment program in U.S. history and civics. 
Beginning in 1990, the National Assessment Governing Board has 
periodically administered a State-level assessment in 
mathematics in grade 8. Subsequent voluntary State-level 
assessments have been conducted in grade 8 in reading, writing, 
and science and at grade 4 in mathematics, reading, writing and 
science. In addition, the No Child Left Behind Act requires all 
States to participate in biennial NAEP assessments of fourth- 
and eighth-grade reading and mathematics.
    The legislation would authorize the National Assessment 
Governing Board, in consultation with the Commissioner for 
Education Statistics, to select 10 or more geographically 
diverse States to participate in trial State assessments of 
student achievement in U.S. history and civics in grades 8 and 
12. A priority is given to administering the pilot assessments 
in U.S. history. To minimize cost and disruption to academic 
instruction and classroom routines, the pilot State assessments 
are directed to be conducted in conjunction with previously 
scheduled national-sample NAEP exams.
    At the request of Congress, the National Assessment 
Governing Board conducted a study to determine the feasibility 
of conducting State-level assessments in U.S. history and 
civics. In its report released in June 2006, the Board 
concluded that it is feasible to conduct State-level 
assessments in U.S. history and civics in grades 8 and 12 as 
early as 2010 if Congress appropriates sufficient funding in 
both Fiscal Year 2009 and Fiscal Year 2010. Accordingly, the 
legislation authorizes $8.5 million for the fiscal year 
preceding the conduct of the first trial assessment, $8.5 
million for the fiscal year during which the first trial 
assessment is conducted, and such sums as may be necessary for 
each succeeding fiscal year. Under the legislation, the 
National Assessment Governing Board is permitted to spend no 
more than $500,000 per fiscal year to develop and administer 
the trial State assessments.
    This pilot program will generate data to evaluate States 
based on their eighth- and twelfth-grade students' knowledge 
and understanding of U.S. history and civics. Such data will 
also encourage States and school districts to improve their 
U.S. history and civics standards and curricula, and thereby 
promote increased student achievement in these critical 
subjects.

            V. Cost Estimate and Unfunded Mandate Statement

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                      Washington, DC, June 1, 2006.
Hon. Mike Enzi,
Chairman, Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 860, the American 
History Achievement Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Justin 
Humphrey.
            Sincerely,
                                          Donald B. Marron,
                                                   Acting Director.
    Enclosure.

S. 860--American History Achievement Act

    Summary: S. 860 would amend the National Assessment of 
Educational Progress Authorization Act (NAEPAA) and authorize 
funds to conduct trial academic assessments of student 
achievement in U.S. history and civics in grades 8 and 12 in at 
least 10 geographically diverse states. The bill also would 
direct the Commissioner of Education Statistics to give 
priority to conducting national assessments of student 
achievement in history at least once every four years in grades 
4, 8, and 12.
    The bill would authorize the appropriation of $8.5 million 
for both the fiscal year preceding and the fiscal year during 
the conduct of the trial assessments and such sums as may be 
necessary for each fiscal year after those assessments are 
completed. CBO assumes the first trial assessments would occur 
in fiscal year 2010 and every four years thereafter and 
estimates that outlays would total $14 million over the 2009-
2011 period. CBO assumes that the appropriations for 2009 and 
2010 would be sufficient to cover all the costs of the 
assessments and no additional funding would be necessary in 
2011. The Congress appropriated $93 million for programs under 
the NAEPAA in fiscal year 2006; those programs are set to 
expire in fiscal year 2008 under current law.
    S. 860 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA); 
any costs to state, local, or tribal governments would be 
incurred voluntarily.
    Estimated Cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of S. 860 is shown in the following table. CBO 
estimates that implementing this bill would cost $14 million 
over the 2009-2011 period and $3 million in 2012, assuming 
appropriation of the authorized amounts. The estimated outlays 
reflect historical spending patterns for these programs. These 
costs would fall within budget function 500 (education, 
employment, training, and social services).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                                                   2006    2007    2008    2009    2010    2011
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION

Spending Under Current Law:
    Estimated Authorization Level 1.............................      93      95      96       0       0       0
    Estimated Outlays...........................................      94      94      95      73      28       4
Proposed Changes:
    Estimated Authorization Level...............................  ......       0       0       9       9       0
    Estimated Outlays...........................................  ......       0       0       2       6       6
        Total Spending:
            Estimated Authorization Level.......................      93      95      96       9       9       0
            Estimated Outlays...................................      94      94      95      75      34      10
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 The 2006 amount is the total appropriated for the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the National
  Assessment Governing Board in that year.

    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 860 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA. The bill would authorize academic assessments 
of history and civics, on a trial basis, for grades 8 and 12. 
Any costs that states or local education agencies might incur 
to participate in those assessments would be incurred 
voluntarily.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Justin Humphrey. 
Impact on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Lisa Ramirez-
Branum. Impact on the Private Sector: Nabeel Alsalam.
    Estimated approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

            VI. Application of Law to the Legislative Branch

    The committee has determined that there is no impact of 
this bill on the Legislative Branch.

                    VII. Regulatory Impact Statement

    Pursuant to the requirements of paragraph 11(b) of rule 
XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the committee has 
determined that the bill will not have a significant regulatory 
impact.

                   VIII. Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title

    This Act may be cited as the ``American History Achievement 
Act.''

Section 2. Findings

    This section states that Congress finds the following: the 
2001 National Assessment of Educational Progress assessment in 
United States history had the largest percentage of students 
scoring below basic of any subject that was tested, including 
mathematics, science, and reading; the 2001 National Assessment 
of Educational Progress showed poor achievement in assessments 
in United States history; America's past encompasses great 
leaders and great ideas that contribute to our shared heritage 
and to the principles of freedom, equality, justice, and 
opportunity for all; an appreciation for the defining events in 
our Nation's history can be a catalyst for civic involvement; 
and that the strength of American democracy and our standing in 
the world depend on ensuring that our children have a strong 
understanding of our Nation's past.

Section 3. Amendment to the National Assessment of Educational Progress 
        Authorization Act

    This section amends the National Assessment of Educational 
Progress Authorization Act to direct the Commissioner for 
Education Statistics to give a priority to conducting national 
assessments of student achievement in U.S. History at least 
once every 4 years in grades 4, 8, and 12. It also requires the 
Commissioner to conduct trial State academic assessments, in at 
least ten geographically diverse States, of student achievement 
in U.S. History in grades 8 and 12, and in Civics in grades 8 
and 12. These assessments are to be conducted in connection 
with previously scheduled NAEP assessments administered to a 
national sample of students.

Section 4. National Assessment Governing Board

    This section directs the National Assessment Governing 
Board, in consultation with the Commissioner for Education 
Statistics, to select the States that will participate in the 
trial State assessments.

Section 5. Authorization of appropriations

    This section authorizes $8.5 million for the fiscal year 
preceding the conduct of the first trial assessment, $8.5 
million for the fiscal year during which the first trial 
assessment is conducted, and such sums as may be necessary for 
each succeeding fiscal year. Not more than $500,000 per fiscal 
year shall be used by the National Assessment Governing Board 
to develop and administer the trial State assessments.

Section 6. Conforming amendment

    This section conforms the Education Sciences Reform Act of 
2002 with the changes made to the National Assessment of 
Educational Progress Authorization Act under Section 4.

                      IX. Changes in Existiing Law

    In compliance with rule XXVI paragraph 12 of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, the following provides a print of the 
statute or the part or section thereof to be amended or 
replaced (existing law proposed to be omitted is enclosed in 
black brackets, new matter is printed in italic, existing law 
in which no change is proposed is shown in roman):

                 EDUCATION SCIENCES REFORM ACT OF 2002

SEC. 101. * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 113. DELEGATION.

    (a) Delegation of Authority.--* * *
          (1) nothing in this title or in the National 
        Assessment of Educational Progress Authorization Act 
        (except [section 302(e)(1)(J)] section 302(e)(1)(K) of 
        such Act) shall be construed to alter or diminish the 
        role, responsibilities, or authority of the National 
        Assessment Governing Board with respect to the National 
        Assessment of Educational Progress (including with 
        respect to the methodologies of the National Assessment 
        of Educational Progress described in section 
        302(e)(1)(E)) from those authorized by the National 
        Education Statistics Act of 1994 (20 U.S.C. 9001 et 
        seq.) on the day before the date of enactment of this 
        Act;

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


     NATIONAL ASSESSMENT OF EDUCATIONAL PROGRESS AUTHORIZATION ACT

SEC. 301. * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 302. NATIONAL ASSESSEMENT GOVERNING BOARD.

    (a) Establishment.--* * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    (e) Duties.--
          (1) In general.--In carrying out its functions under 
        this section the Assessment Board shall--
                  (A) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                                  (I) take appropriate actions 
                                needed to improve the form, 
                                content, use, and reporting of 
                                results of any assessment 
                                authorized by section 303 
                                consistent with the provisions 
                                of this section and section 
                                303; [and]
                                  (J) in consultation with the 
                                Commissioner for Education 
                                Statistics, identify and select 
                                the States that will 
                                participate in the trial State 
                                academic assessment described 
                                in section 303(b)(3)(A)(iv); 
                                and
                                  [(J)] (K) plan and execute 
                                the initial public release of 
                                National Assessment of 
                                Educational Progress reports. 
                                The National Assessment of 
                                Educational Progress data shall 
                                not be released prior to the 
                                release of the reports 
                                described in [subparagraph (J)] 
                                subparagraph (K).

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 303. NATIONAL ASSESSMENT OF EDUCATIONAL PROGRESS.

    (a) Establishment.--* * *
    (b) Purpose; State Assessments.--
          (1) Purpose.--* * *
          (2) Measurement and reporting.--* * *
                  (A) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                  (D) to the extent time and resources allow, 
                and after the requirements described in 
                subparagraph (B) are implemented and the 
                requirements described in subparagraph (C) are 
                met, conduct additional national assessments 
                and collect and report assessment data, 
                including achievement data trends, in a valid 
                and reliable manner on student academic 
                achievement in grades 4, 8, and 12 in public 
                and private elementary schools and secondary 
                schools in regularly scheduled intervals in 
                additional subject matter (with a priority in 
                conducting assessments in United States history 
                not less frequently than once every 4 years), 
                including writing, science, history, geography, 
                civics, economics, foreign languages, and arts, 
                and the trend assessment described in 
                subparagraph (F);

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          (3) State assessments.--
                  (A) In general.--The Commissioner for 
                Education Statistics--
                          (i) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                          (iii) except as provided in clause 
                        (iv), may conduct State academic 
                        assessments of student achievement in 
                        grades 4, 8, and 12 as described in 
                        paragraph (2)(D); [and]
                          (iv) shall conduct (in connection 
                        with assessments in United States 
                        history and civics scheduled pursuant 
                        to paragraph (2)(D)) trial State 
                        academic assessments of student 
                        achievement in United States history in 
                        grades 8 and 12 in not less than 10 
                        States representing geographically 
                        diverse regions of the United States 
                        and in civics in grades 8 and 12 in not 
                        less than 10 States representing 
                        geographically diverse regions of the 
                        United States (with a priority given to 
                        conducting assessments in United States 
                        history);
                          [(iv)] (v) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 305. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    (a) In General.--* * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    (b) United States History and Civics Assessments.--
          (1) In general.--In addition to amounts otherwise 
        appropriated under subsection (a)(1)(2), there are 
        authorized to be appropriated to carry out sections 
        303(b)(3)(A)(iv) and 302(e)(1)--
                  (A) $8,500,000 for the fiscal year preceding 
                the conduct of the first trial assessment 
                described in section 303(b)(3)(A)(iv);
                  (B) $8,500,000 for the fiscal year during 
                which the first trial assessment described in 
                section 303(b)(3)(A)(iv) is conducted; and
                  (C) such sums as may be necessary for each 
                fiscal year succeeding the fiscal year 
                described in subparagraph (B).
          (2) Amounts for the national assessment governing 
        board.--From the amounts made available under 
        subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (1), not more 
        than $500,000 shall be available for each fiscal year 
        to carry out section 302(e)(1).
    [(b)] (c) Availability.--Amounts made available under this 
section shall remain available until expended.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *