Grants Awarded to Improve KEA, Build Field
The U.S. Department of Education has awarded more than $15.1 million in Enhanced Assessment Grants (EAGs) to three state education agencies – North Carolina, Maryland and Texas – to develop or enhance their kindergarten entry assessments. North Carolina, as part of a 10-state consortium that the BUILD Initiative helped bring together, has received a $6.1 million grant to support the development of a kindergarten to grade three (K-3) formative assessment. The system will help improve student outcomes and promote early learning.
Additionally, the Maryland-led consortium, which received a $4.9 million grant award, includes the BUILD states of Ohio and Michigan. As a follow-up to our early development support, we look forward to assisting the consortium further.
Improving Kindergarten Entry Assessments
Early childhood professionals know that a child who is ready for kindergarten has a strong start toward success in school and in life. The U.S. Department of Education is supporting the grant states’ development of high-quality assessments in order to provide educators and parents with more tools for understanding a child’s cognitive and non-cognitive development.
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan visited Arizona on Thursday, September 12, 2013, to highlight that state’s participation in the North Carolina-led consortium. In addition to Arizona, other states in the consortium include Delaware, Iowa, Maine, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington D.C., and South Carolina, as a collaborating state.
The primary measure of schools’ success under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is proficiency on state assessments. The EAGs can be used to:
- Improve the quality, validity, and reliability of state academic assessments.
- Measure student academic achievement using multiple measures.
- Chart student progress over time.
- Evaluate student academic achievement through the development of comprehensive academic assessment instruments.
The Maryland grant, in the amount of $4.9 million, is part of a seven-state consortium, including Ohio, Michigan, Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, and Nevada. The grant will be used to enhance a multistate, state-of-the-art assessment system composed of a KEA and aligned formative assessments. The award received by Texas, totaling $3.9 million, will fund a proposal to implement the Texas KEA system.
Identifying and Promoting Common, Essential Standards
“BUILD’s support for the North Carolina and Maryland consortia was an ambitious and timely piece of work that we conducted with an eye to significant, broad goals for the field,” states BUILD Initiative Executive Director Gerrit Westervelt. “This includes creating better formative assessments and advancing the effort to identify and promote common, essential early learning standards.”
For additional information on the program and these new awards, visit the EAG secton
of the U.S. Department of Education website.