The Commissioner for Education Statistics shall, with the advice of the Assessment Board established under section 9621 of this title, carry out, through grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements with one or more qualified organizations, or consortia thereof, a National Assessment of Educational Progress, which collectively refers to a national assessment, State assessments, and a long-term trend assessment in reading and mathematics.
The purpose of this section is to provide, in a timely manner, a fair and accurate measurement of student academic achievement and reporting of trends in such achievement in reading, mathematics, and other subject matter as specified in this section.
States participating in State assessments shall enter into an agreement with the Secretary pursuant to subsection (d)(3).
Such agreement shall contain information sufficient to give States full information about the process for decision-making (which shall include the consensus process used), on objectives to be tested, and the standards for random sampling, test administration, test security, data collection, validation, and reporting.
Except as provided in clause (ii), a participating State shall review and give permission for the release of results from any test of its students administered as a part of a State assessment prior to the release of such data. Refusal by a State to release its data shall not restrict the release of data from other States that have approved the release of such data.
The use of assessment items and data on any assessment authorized under this section by an agent or agents of the Federal Government to rank, compare, or otherwise evaluate individual students or teachers, or to provide rewards or sanctions for individual students, teachers, schools or local educational agencies is prohibited.
Any assessment authorized under this section shall not be used by an agent or agents of the Federal Government to establish, require, or influence the standards, assessments, curriculum, including lesson plans, textbooks, or classroom materials, or instructional practices of States or local educational agencies.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to prescribe the use of any assessment authorized under this section for student promotion or graduation purposes.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect home schools, whether or not a home school is treated as a home school or a private school under State law, nor shall any home schooled student be required to participate in any assessment referenced or authorized under this section.
In carrying out any assessment authorized under this section, the Commissioner for Education Statistics may provide technical assistance to States, localities, and other parties.
Except as provided in paragraph (3), parents and members of the public shall have access to all assessment data, questions, and complete and current assessment instruments of any assessment authorized under this section. The local educational agency shall make reasonable efforts to inform parents and members of the public about the access required under this paragraph.
The access described in this paragraph shall be provided within 45 days of the date the request was made, in writing, and be made available in a secure setting that is convenient to both parties.
Parents and members of the public may submit written complaints to the Assessment Board.
The Assessment Board shall forward such complaints to the Commissioner for Education Statistics, the Secretary of Education, and the State and local educational agency from within which the complaint originated within 30 days of receipt of such complaint.
The Assessment Board, in consultation with the Commissioner for Education Statistics, shall review such complaint and determine whether revisions are necessary and appropriate. As determined by such review, the Board shall revise, as necessary and appropriate, the procedures or assessment items that have generated the complaint and respond to the individual submitting the complaint, with a copy of such response provided to the Secretary, describing any action taken, not later than 30 days after so acting.
The Secretary shall submit a summary report of all complaints received pursuant to subparagraph (A) and responses by the Assessment Board pursuant to subparagraph (C) to the Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
The Commissioner for Education Statistics may decline to make available through public means, such as posting on the Internet, distribution to the media, distribution through public agencies, or in response to a request under section 552 of title 5, for a period, not to exceed 10 years after initial use, cognitive questions that the Commissioner for Education Statistics intends to reuse in the future.
Notwithstanding clause (i), the Commissioner for Education Statistics may decline to make cognitive questions available as described in clause (i) for a period longer than 10 years if the Commissioner for Education Statistics determines such additional period is necessary to protect the security and integrity of long-term trend data.
The Commissioner for Education Statistics shall ensure that all personally identifiable information about students, their academic achievement, and their families, and that information with respect to individual schools, remains confidential, in accordance with section 552a of title 5.
The Assessment Board, the Commissioner for Education Statistics, and any contractor or subcontractor shall not maintain any system of records containing a student’s name, birth information, Social Security number, or parents’ name or names, or any other personally identifiable information.
Any unauthorized person who knowingly discloses, publishes, or uses assessment questions, or complete and current assessment instruments of any assessment authorized under this section may be fined as specified in section 3571 of title 18 or charged with a class E felony.
Participation in any assessment authorized under this section shall be voluntary for students, schools, and local educational agencies.
Parents of children selected to participate in any assessment authorized under this section shall be informed before the administration of any authorized assessment, that their child may be excused from participation for any reason, is not required to finish any authorized assessment, and is not required to answer any test question.
Participation in assessments authorized under this section, other than reading and mathematics in grades 4 and 8, shall be voluntary.
Representatives of State educational agencies and local educational agencies or the chief State school officer shall have the right to review any assessment item or procedure of any authorized assessment upon request in a manner consistent with subsection (c), except the review described in subparagraph (2)(C) of subsection (c) shall take place in consultation with the representatives described in this paragraph.
The Assessment Board shall develop appropriate student achievement levels for each grade or age in each subject area to be tested under assessments authorized under this section, except the trend assessment described in subsection (b)(2)(F).
After the determinations described in subparagraph (A), devising a national consensus approach.
The achievement levels shall be used on a trial basis until the Commissioner for Education Statistics determines, as a result of an evaluation under subsection (f), that such levels are reasonable, valid, and informative to the public.
The Commissioner for Education Statistics and the Board shall ensure that reports using such levels on a trial basis do so in a manner that makes clear the status of such levels.
After determining that such levels are reasonable, valid, and informative to the public, as the result of an evaluation under subsection (f), the Commissioner for Education Statistics shall use such levels or other methods or indicators for reporting results of the National Assessment and State assessments.
The Assessment Board shall provide for a review of any trial student achievement levels under development by representatives of State educational agencies or the chief State school officer in a manner consistent with subsection (c), except the review described in paragraph (2)(C) of such subsection shall take place in consultation with the representatives described in this paragraph.
The Secretary shall provide for continuing review of any assessment authorized under this section, and student achievement levels, by one or more professional assessment evaluation organizations.
The Secretary shall report to the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate, the President, and the Nation on the findings and recommendations of such reviews.
The Commissioner for Education Statistics and the Assessment Board shall consider the findings and recommendations of such reviews in designing the competition to select the organization, or organizations, through which the Commissioner for Education Statistics carries out the National Assessment.
The Secretary and the Secretary of Defense may enter into an agreement, including such terms as are mutually satisfactory, to include in the National Assessment elementary schools and secondary schools operated by the Department of Defense.