Consortiums get $330 million to create new academic tests

Friday, September 3, 2010 | 2:37 p.m. CDT

KANSAS CITY — An effort to replace the nation's current patchwork of academic achievement tests with a new generation of exams is getting a big boost.

The U.S. Education Department has awarded about $330 million to two consortiums representing 44 states, including Kansas and Missouri, and the District of Columbia.

Currently, every state gives a different test to its students.

The Race to the Top grants, announced Thursday, are part of a push to raise student achievement nationwide. The exams will be based on proposed new national academic standards in language arts and mathematics.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a news release he repeatedly hears complaints that the existing exams don't "measure what really matters." He says the grant winners want to change that with tests that will "measure real student knowledge and skills."

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