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NCLB Impact on State Test Budgets



This is from the nation's largest circulation daily newspaper.

GAO: STATES COULD GET HIT WITH TEST COSTS
USA Today -- May 9, 2003
by Greg Toppo

Congress has set aside enough money for the national testing required by President Bush's No Child Left Behind education plan — if states rely on inexpensive multiple-choice tests that aren't geared to children's coursework.

Otherwise, states could find themselves spending millions of dollars to develop, give and score the tests, according to a long-awaited report by the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress.

While Thursday's report echoes long-standing complaints of state education officials, it also says states can save money by sharing test development expenses.

Under Bush's education plan, all 50 states must begin testing students in grades 3-8 in reading, math and science over the next six years. GAO found that such testing could cost as little as $1.9 billion or as much as $5.3 billion, depending on the complexity of developing and scoring the tests. Congress is slated to give states about $2.7 billion over the next six years.

Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Education Committee, says the study shows that "Congress is providing more than enough money for states to meet the annual testing requirements in the No Child Left Behind Act, and education reform opponents have significantly exaggerated the actual cost."

Previous estimates by education groups have put the figure as high as $7 billion.

David Shreve of the National Conference of State Legislatures says the report shows that states will be forced save money by developing a "bare-bones, minimum bubble test," rather than more in-depth tests that require written responses from students.

Bob Schaeffer of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing says, "The pressure will be to dumb down assessment to the low-quality, cookie-cutter, multiple-choice tests."