No Child Left Behind Act: Enhancements in the Department of Education's Review Process Could Improve State Academic Assessments, Report to the Chairman, Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, U.S. Senate [open pdf - 683KB]
"The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLBA) requires states to develop high-quality academic assessments aligned with state academic standards. Education has provided states with about $400 million for NCLBA assessment implementation every year since 2002. GAO examined (1) changes in reported state expenditures on assessments, and how states have spent funds; (2) factors states have considered in making decisions about question (item) type and assessment content; (3) challenges states have faced in ensuring that their assessments are valid and reliable; and (4) the extent to which Education has supported state efforts to comply with assessment requirements. GAO surveyed state and District of Columbia assessment directors, analyzed Education and state documents, and interviewed assessment officials from Maryland, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Texas and eight school districts in addition to assessment vendors and experts. GAO recommends that Education (1) incorporate assessment security best practices into its peer review protocols, (2) improve communication during the review process, and (3) identify for states why its peer review decisions in some cases differed from peer reviewers' written comments. Education indicated that it believes its current practices are sufficient regarding our first recommendation and agreed with GAO's other two recommendations."
Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/