THE ADMINISTRATIONíS NATIONAL TESTING PROPOSAL

 

HEARING

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON EARLY CHILDHOOD,

YOUTH AND FAMILIES

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND

THE WORKFORCE

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS

FIRST SESSION

 

HEARING HELD IN WASHINGTON, DC, APRIL 29, 1997

 

Serial No. 105-153

 

Printed for the use of the Committee on Education

and the Workforce


TABLE OF CONTENTS

STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE RICHARD W. RILEY, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, ACCOMPANIED BY MIKE SMITH, ACTING DEPUTY SECRETARY *

APPENDIX A -- "NAEP MEASURES HIGH STANDARDS" CHART *

APPENDIX B -- WRITTEN STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE RICHARD W. RILEY, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION *

TABLE OF INDEXES *

HEARING ON CLINTON ADMINISTRATION'S

NATIONAL TESTING PROPOSAL IN READING AND MATH

 

April 29, 1997

 

U.S. House of Representatives

Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families

Committee on Education and the Workforce

 

The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:05 a.m., in Room 2175, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Frank Riggs [Chairman of the Subcommittee] presiding.

Present: Representatives Riggs, Castle, Souder, Paul, Peterson, Hilleary, Martinez, Miller, Mink, Roemer, Scott, Kucinich, and Goodling.

Staff Present: Vic Klatt, Education Policy Coordinator; Kent Talbert, Professional Staff; Becky Rogers Voslow, Professional Staff; Denzel McGuire, Legislative Assistant; June Harris, Minority Education Coordinator; Alex Nock, Minority Legislative Assistant; and Margo Huber, Minority Staff Assistant.

Mr. Riggs. The Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families will come to order.

I want to wish everybody a good morning. I want to apologize to Secretary Riley, too, that I didn't personally come down and greet him, but we are certainly glad to see him and the Academic Secretary with us this morning. I want to welcome everyone to our hearing on national testing in reading and math.

Mr. Secretary, again, I want to especially thank you for taking the time to be with us and for convincing Mike Smith to accompany you. I understand the usual protocol is for Cabinet officials to appear, of course, before the full committee, so we particularly appreciate your appearance here today and your willingness to make an exception to that protocol.

Secretary Riley. Thank you.

Mr. Riggs. And, ladies and gentlemen and colleagues, if we are going to have an informed electorate and a world-class economy, we must offer to every child a high-quality education and strive for quality performance by every child.

We must also provide students and parents with a greater range of educational choices. Charter schools, which was the subject of our last Subcommittee hearing, is just one example of greater choice for parents; and we had we were very pleased to have a hearing, Mr. Secretary, on one of the administration's proposals as part of the President's national crusade for education, to double taxpayer funding for the start-up of more charter schools in the 25 States, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, that have charter school laws on the books today.

We must also promote higher standards for teachers and students, and in my view, advancement should be competency-based and tied to high, rigorous academic standards.

I believe and I am speaking for myself now, so I want to make that very clear. I believe in minimum academic standards in at least math and English at several grade levels, and that these minimum academic standards should not be negotiable. And we need clear measures of what a student should know, so that parents have a basis for knowing how their child is performing in school.

I particularly agree with the President on two points he has made with respect, again, to his call, or his national crusade for education. One, partisan politics should stop at the schoolhouse door; and two, this phenomenon, this problem in public education today of social promotions must stop.

So today we want to examine, where is the pressure for social promotion, the idea the child can be advanced from grade to grade based on good behavior and time served. As much as they know they can demonstrate what they have learned, where does this pressure come from? I believe it comes partly from the notion, when everything is said and done, they are still better off being retained in school and promoted from one grade level to the next, rather than dropping out.

So we are going to be looking at that today and discussing this question of whether or not we should have some sort of national policy that would encourage students and schools to make sure that that student makes the grade or doesn't get promoted. That is where standards and testing come in.

Testing, whether national, State or local, is one measure of enabling parents to see how their children, their schools, their school districts, and their States measure up. Far too often, as I mentioned, the emphasis in education has been on seat time, rather than meeting rigorous academic standards.

The President has proposed and the Secretary and Academic Secretary are here today to testify on the proposal of national tests, voluntary national tests in reading and math that would be developed in 1997 through 1998, and administered for the first time in the spring of 1999. By anyone's measure, this is an ambitious timetable. The hearing today will give us, as the authorizing Subcommittee, an opportunity to focus specifically on this proposal.

Given the magnitude of national tests and the opinion on national testing, I believe the prudent approach is to take a go-slow cautious approach to make sure we have a full and well-formed national debate. When consensus is reached, we should move ahead with very specific legislation. This is the process that was used to authorize the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, as it is otherwise known.

I would just like to mention, I have a daughter in the Virginia public school system, Sarah Anne, who is 10 going on 20, and so I am looking at this issue both through the eyes of a parent and as a legislator. Virginia is one example of a State that has spent considerable time and resources developing rigorous State standards. The American Federation of Teachers has noted the Virginia standards are some of the best in the land, and as I mentioned, I support rigorous standards.

State assessments are also being developed in Virginia to go along with the standards; yet, when a new national test proposal comes along at the same time State educators are already developing rigorous assessment, it is easy to understand why some people question the apparent Federal overlapping role in testing.

Michigan shows a slightly different example of testing; it will be interesting to hear from our colleagues from Michigan on this subject today. In the April 21st edition of the Wall Street Journal, a couple wrote a letter to the editor explaining why they have not allowed their four children to take the Michigan proficiency test. The reason? The tests seldom tell the classroom teacher anything they do not already know. The Kikkas believe, and I quote, "The tests do not help the individual child; rather, they fuel widely published and little-understood statistics that supposedly show the comparable achievement of different school districts," end quote. For similar reasons, they believe we should question the administration's testing proposal. They conclude the letter by stating, quote, "Parents and teachers are still the best arbiters and promoters of an individual child's achievement. If testing needs to be done, it should be handled, interpreted and acted upon at the local level, where those who care about the child can make a real difference."

What do we learn from these two examples? First, we learn testing is something on which there are many strongly held views, and I am sure we will hear that today at our hearing. Second, not everyone has the same views on testing.

Having said this, I believe it is important we provide for a full hearing of the issues raised by voluntary national testing before moving too quickly down this path. In this case, I believe the burden is on the Secretary and on the administration to make a compelling case of why we should move so quickly. I appreciate the careful and candid answers you and the Academic Secretary provided to the questions Chairman Goodling and I raised in our correspondence with you several weeks ago. Your responses were very helpful and will be included in the records of today's Subcommittee hearing.

Mr. Secretary, I know you are quite capable of making a compelling case, whatever the issue, but since you and I had a chance to visit on the subject, I know you are passionately concerned about how we can improve educational achievement in this country through the idea of voluntary national testing.

So it is again, welcome, thank you for being with us this morning; and before we go to your testimony, Mr. Secretary, I would like to recognize the Ranking Member, Congressman Martinez, for any opening comment he would like to make.

Mr. Martinez. Thank you, Chairman Riggs.

Good morning, Mr. Secretary; I would like to join Chairman Riggs in welcoming you before us today. The testimony before the full committee back in February was extremely valuable, and I believe it helped the framework in which the way Congress considered the President's educational proposals. I am especially looking forward to your comment on the administration's testing proposal today, because I have many questions about that myself.

At least since 1983 and the release of The Nation at Risk, States and localities have taken reforms to try to improve elementary and secondary education. Early in the Bush administration, the National Council on Education Centers and Testing recommended the establishment of national curriculum standards and national criteria for assessment. Goals 2000 legislation, adopted in the 103rd Congress under the leadership of our gentleman, Mr. Kildee, assisted in the States' finance standards and assessment in addition to the national education standards.

Unfortunately, the problem of student achievement still plagues us. The recent results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress in the Third International Mathematics and Science Study, despite showing improvement for students over the previous studies, still exhibited the fact our children have a lot of room to improve, especially if America is going to remain competitive as a nation.

I appreciate the leadership of the President and you, as the Secretary of Education, for your commitment to improving the state of our education in school construction. This is something that had been that is in dire need in California. School construction, the technology literacy grants, testing proposals and other reforms, I believe that whole package is vitally important to achieving and proving educational results, rather than one particular item. Without the much-needed infrastructure improvements in our Nation's schools, attempting to meet the challenge of the fourth grade reading and eighth grade math test proposed by the administration is going to be difficult in crumbling buildings. Without up-to-date technology and other educational materials, children living in poor areas of our Nation will continue lagging behind those in affluent areas. Equal education must be accessible to all and, especially, quality education should be accessible to all.

In addition, those creating assessment must ensure all children are included. Provisions must be made to allow limited-English-proficiency students, children with disabilities, from disadvantaged backgrounds, and minorities to be truly reflective of the achievement of America's children.

In the past, we have too often discriminated against the children in terms of their assessment. I would urge the Department pay especially close attention to this in the integration of these two tests.

I am committed to working with you, Mr. Secretary, and to improve the education of our children, however, I feel we must not lose sight of the fact we need to ensure the children of America have the tools they need so we can raise standards and propose tests for all the children, and all the children have the ability to meet them.

Before I close, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Secretary, I would like to do two things. First of all, I would like to recognize the Close Up students from St. Louis in the audience. Would you stand for a minute? Thank you for joining us.

Last, Mr. Chairman I must convey this to you, Mr. Secretary, because it has been a long-held belief of mine even before we came up with The Nation at Risk, that a lot of our students are at risk because they are falling behind. Why are they falling behind? Because nobody has assessed where they are or what they need.

To wait until the fourth grade is great if we put a program in place like America Reads, to get the volunteers to come out and get the volunteers to teach the kids to read; and reading is an important component to learning. If you can learn to read, you can learn almost anything. But the fact is, I can look back to my own personal experiences. I went through the sixth grade before I understood math, and from that point, I was a whiz in math. I could do figures in my head, and it actually helped in my later studies. And I went on to work for an engineering corporation because of the math I learned. But it all started right there in the sixth grade.

It should have started way back in the second or third grade with the most simple components of math, but nobody ever took a look at how I was being taught; nobody took a look at where I was in that stage of education. And I really feel if we are going to reach every single child in this school, we ought to find a way to make sure every school has a system of assessing and evaluating those children, much as Mr. Riggs has said, all along the way, so they don't fall behind. Because after you have fallen behind, it is pretty hard to catch up, especially the older you get.

I forget where it was, but I think it was in York, Pennsylvania at a hearing we held there, when Chairman Ford was Chairman of the full committee and Mr. Goodling was the Ranking Member and there was a superintendent of schools there to talk about the assessment of children at an early age and right on through their school, K through 12, so they never did fall behind. I never did find out if that really did work that well and if it went on, but it is certainly something we should be looking at.

How do we catch kids early enough so they don't get into the eighth or ninth or tenth grade, and they drop out of school?

I am going to tell you something. In the time I went to school, more than half the children I started in kindergarten with never graduated from high school, and most dropped out in the ninth or tenth grade simply because they fell behind and they didn't find a place for themselves in school; and I hate to continue to see that happen.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Riggs. Thank you, Mr. Martinez.

And, Mr. Secretary, it sounded like Congressman Martinez just promised to be a guinea pig and take the eighth grade math test, so if you are choosing someone, you will have to look at him. Again, I confess, I have a math phobia and I want no part of it.

Chairman Goodling declined to make an opening statement, so members, with unanimous consent, in due consideration for the Secretary's schedule, I would like to move to his testimony.

Hearing no requests, Mr. Secretary, you are recognized and may proceed with your testimony

STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE RICHARD W. RILEY, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, ACCOMPANIED BY MIKE SMITH, ACTING DEPUTY SECRETARY

 

Secretary Riley. Thank you, Mr. Goodling, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Martinez, and all the members of the committee.

First of all, I want to submit my longer testimony for the record, if I might, the somewhat detailed testimony; and as you have indicated, I have my acting Deputy Secretary Mike Smith with me here.

I want to stress this morning at the outset that these proposed voluntary tests are about high standards, and they are about improving expectations and giving our young people the skills that they need for the 21st century. Our children need to master the basics once and for all. Parents deserve to know how their students stack up, no matter where they live or where they might move in this great country of ours.

We are not in the business of testing for testing's sake. As a nation, we are rushing headlong toward this 21st century, an exciting time, yet too many of our young people are falling by the wayside. Some 40 percent of our young people cannot read as well as they should according to the 1994 National Assessment of Educational Progress, NAEP. And this Nation is below the international average when it comes to eighth grade math; and we all know that is simply not good enough. We need to set higher expectations.

Eighth grade math is a good case in point. In the United States, only 20 percent of our young people are taking algebra by the end of the eighth grade, yet in the rest of the industrialized world, many, many countries for example, Japan, 100 percent of all eight graders have already had algebra. So it shouldn't be any surprise to us that our students then score below the international average in the recent TIMSS test in the eighth grade.

It is all a question of expectations. When it comes to reading, we simply have to be more demanding. Every child in this country simply has to learn how to read English and how to read it well. The children who struggle with reading early on fall behind in class, fill up our special ed classes or lose interest, give up, and then drop out.

I am convinced that a strong and early focus on reading will go a long way toward reducing the special education, the remedial cost, reducing truancy and keeping more young people from dropping out of school.

The need to increase expectations is widely accepted by the public. Indeed, the public is demanding it. Governor Engler, Governor Hunt, two well-recognized national leaders, Michigan and North Carolina, have become strong bipartisan advocates of these tests. Several weeks ago, more than 240 of America's high tech industry leaders, California, endorsed this bipartisan call for national education standards and challenging accountability. The Business Roundtable's Education Task Force has also publicly endorsed the President's call for voluntary national tests.

So I think we are moving the right direction, but our work is far from done. We need to set more challenging standards.

As you will note in my testimony, there is a chart which shows the rather dramatic differences between the NAEP standards and the standards now in place in various States, and that is why these proposed national voluntary standards are so important.

SEE APPENDIX A -- "NAEP MEASURES HIGH STANDARDS" CHART

Secretary Riley. I invite the committee, if they can see that well enough as you can see, the results in terms of reading proficiency in the State is the blue; and the red or the other way around. NAEP is blue. It shows how they range in NAEP, as opposed to the State; and you can see how in some of those cases, the State is 80-something percent proficient and NAEP is like 20 percent. So I think you can see if you go from State to State, only one State, Delaware, is the other way around that Delaware really came out of the tough test I don't know, Congressman, if you had anything to do with that; I doubt if you would admit you did with all the parents complaining over there. But as you can see, the State level is quite different in many cases from the national NAEP, which is the national standard, shows to be.

Our tests in reading and math will give parents, teachers and State leaders, wherever they live, national benchmarks to measure against, and as they seek to refine and define State and local standards of excellence.

I want to stress here that our decision to test fourth grade reading and eighth grade math was very deliberate, those two basics at those two levels. Reading and math are the very core basics, the fourth and eighth grade are both critical transition points in a child's educational experience.

We know, for example, that being able to read independently by fourth grade really is the basis for all learning, as both of you have said. The latest NAEP results tell us, however, that about 40 percent of our young people would not be able to understand the basic point of the "Charlotte's Web" example that is also referred to in my testimony at some length, that Charlotte had promised to save Wilbur's life. And, again, my eyesight is not good enough to pick all that up; I hope yours is better. Somebody might want to move those in a little closer so you can see.

But this is an example of a fourth grade Mr. Chairman, your daughter is 10, so she is in that range. But to be able to read this paragraph and to be able to determine the various levels of understanding out of it, that is this performance level of testing.

Doing well in math by the eighth grade is the second major academic checkpoint, it is in eighth grade, instead of the fourth grade. The vast majority of experts view geometry and algebra as the gateway courses, courses that prepare young people to do college level work and to really expand their level in math and science and related areas in high school. Yet nearly 40 percent of all eighth graders are not achieving the basic math level as measured by NAEP; and again, as an example of mathematics, eighth grade examination.

Now there are several reasons. The point of these is to show you, they are challenging tests; and for fourth grade and eighth grade, I think if you would look these over, you would see that. There are several reasons we have these high percentages. We have a lot of young people who are living in poverty, 14.6 million, about one in five. Poverty is the biggest drawback of all that you can have to getting a good education; all the statistics show that. Of course, it is related to a lot of other factors.

We also have many more immigrant children going to school.

Finally, the standards we are setting are very, very high. These are high standards. They aren't milk-toast standards; they are really something challenging to reach for. If a young person passes these tests, they will have their fundamentals down, and that will make a powerful difference the rest of their lives.

I released a report last week, entitled Education and the Economy, and there was not a lot of press about it, but it was very, very significant; and I would really like for members of this committee to see it. It tells us in no uncertain terms that there are some very, very powerful links between high levels of literacy and high rates of productivity and good incomes.

Three things that measured good incomes were shown to be, one, the level that a child finished, like high school or 2 years of college or 4 years, but that was just one of them. Within those levels, these achievement levels, what did they actually know; and within all of that, high literacy levels reading and writing and math.

These were the clear measures, then, from a research standpoint, of what enabled a young person to have a good career, a good productive life in terms of earnings.

Now let me tell you a little bit about the test we envision. First of all, they are totally voluntary. The decision to use these tests is a decision that must be made by the State and local leaders. States and localities will not lose one penny of Federal funding under our proposal if they choose not to participate in this testing program. It is not connected to any other Federal program. These tests are an opportunity, not a requirement. They are a national challenge and not a national curriculum.

Second, the specifications for both of these tests would be based on the frameworks used to develop the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the NAEP test, which is an accepted baseline now that we have established in this country. The NAEP frameworks have been developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers, State education leaders; and I have asked the council to develop the test specifications for these two national tests, so the State leaders would be very much in control of how these tests are developed.

I want to stress here that we are actively reaching out to solicit advice in the development of these tests. We have held four public meetings in January with test publishers, State assessment directors, teachers, administrators and others; and I am sure we will get some good advice from the committee here and others that we seek advice from. We want results and not ownership. Ultimately, these tests must have their own independent standing.

Third, in contrast to NAEP, all participating fourth graders will take the same reading test and all participating eighth graders will take the same math test. Each student will also receive an individual score. Parents, teachers and students will be able to compare the results of these tests with results from the NAEP fourth grade reading and eighth grade math assessment, and in the case of mathematics, they will be able to compare the results from the eighth grade math tests used also in TIMSS with 41 countries.

Fourth, these comparisons will give parents, teachers and students a very clear national percentage mark. This is a very powerful idea that should not be discounted. Education and academic experts have known for a long time about the importance of our NAEP findings, and I think it is high time to share the findings with parents, as well as teachers.

Parents are the ultimate decision-makers when it comes to the education of their children; they ought to know how their children stand in terms of their education in these basic areas.

Fifth, no data from individual students will come to the U.S. Department of Education. We will not give these tests. We will not keep records on any individual test scores. Once a test has been developed, they will be licensed to test publishers, to States and to school districts that can show us that they can ensure security and standard administration in scoring of the test.

Sixth, it will cost us about $10 to $12 million a year to develop these tests. We currently plan to use funds available from the Fund for the Improvement of Education, FIE, and we will not need funding for the actual administration of these tests until budget year 1999. As you pointed out, Mr. Chairman, that is the first time they would be available, in the spring of 1999.

Seventh, these tests are part of a much larger national effort to make sure all of our young people are mastering the basics once and for all. This effort transcends politics. After attending the Volunteer Summit yesterday in Philadelphia, I can tell you there is an excitement out there that we can support and sustain, and that is why our America Reads Challenge to support the good work of one million volunteer tutors is of such value.

Now, some have suggested these voluntary tests are unnecessary, and I want to answer them directly. One of the first things we need to recognize is that America still remains a very mobile society. People pick up and move all the time. But they have no way of measuring what their children should be achieving at different schools that they attend. To my way of thinking, then, a common national standard for what young people should be achieving in the two core, basic subjects will be helpful to many, many parents as they move from school district to school district.

I also believe parents in poor-achieving schools deserve to know what their children need to know to succeed in life. We need to get out of the business of letting failing schools slide by. I will be more than happy if the results of these tests light some fires under some people and help to turn around failing schools.

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I believe that these voluntary national tests are a positive step forward. They will fundamentally redefine expectations, and that just needs to happen sooner, rather than later. Our children, I think I am positive are smarter than we think, and I can't say that enough. I believe that the support for these tests is strong, and it is growing. I also believe these tests are absolutely essential to the future of American education. The American people are, at this particular point in time, very much tuned in to education, and they have made it quite clear that they expect us to make education this country's number one priority.

These voluntary national tests are at the very heart of our efforts to achieve excellence, and I would be very happy, Mr. Chairman, to respond to questions.

SEE APPENDIX B -- WRITTEN STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE RICHARD W. RILEY, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

Chairman Riggs. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I didn't know whether the Deputy Secretary had any opening comment to make.

Mr. Smith. Not now.

Mr. Riggs. Thank you again for your testimony, Mr. Secretary; and I will note for the record, you were kind enough, or someone was kind enough, to attach the fourth grade reading achievement and the math achievement. I am going to take them home.

And, Mr. Secretary, let me just ask one question, and then I am going to go to Chairman Goodling; and then we will recognize members in order of their arrival. But could you be more explicit on the role that you and the administration envision for the Congress in helping to develop some sort of national consensus for these voluntary national tests, and do you anticipate explicit congressional action, legislation authorizing the development and administration of these tests will be necessary?

Secretary Riley. Well, I think the original work in developing the tests, we feel like we have sufficient authority to do that under FIE, which gives us kind of general authority to work on improving education; and, of course, that has been used for standards in previous administrations. It is a rather open use of funds for research and improvement, if we think this very clearly falls into that area.

Now, the NAEP and NAGB, which are very much part of all of this, which, as you know, is a bipartisan independent agency, is to be reauthorized this year, and so Congress, of course, will have very much to say about that in the work of NAGB and the use of NAEP.

The funding of course, before any funding for administration, which would be next year's budget, in 1999, would be, of course, dependent on Congress funding it. But the development of the test itself, we do think we have sufficient funds and authority under the FIE, the Improvement of Education funding, for which we have a total funding. Total funding for that, by the way, that we had last year and this year and are requesting next year, is in the range of $40 million. So that is nothing new that we are requesting, but we are just prioritizing some of those funds for the development of these tests.

Chairman Riggs. How much do you estimate it will cost taxpayers to develop these tests, using the FIE.

Secretary Riley. We think in the range of $10 to $12 million per year. NAEP that is very inexpensive if you look at national testing costs. NAEP is already out there doing the same kind of testing, but it is done on a sample basis and you and I had a discussion about that, that other members of the committee might appreciate my explaining that somewhat.

NAEP of course, the purpose of NAEP is not to get individual scores or get schools' scores, but it is to get State scores, how is a State doing in terms of a number of core subjects in education, including reading and math, but also a number of other subjects. And to do that, a student only takes a piece of the test, and that way, you can have a lot larger spread with not so much time on the test.

What has to be done, then, to make this apply is to take the NAEP large test and concentrate it down into about an hour and a half, so each student takes all of the NAEP tests, and that takes some equating and that is what the funds would be doing.

Chairman Riggs. Thank you, Mr. Secretary; and I want to underscore for my colleagues the point you just made, the voluntary national test you were discussing today, or are in the process of developing, would enable parents to see how as I said in my opening comment, to see specifically how their students, their States, their local school districts measure up. NAEP samples students and does not produce scores for individuals or districts and that is one clear distinction between the NAEP and, again, the voluntary national testing proposal you and the administration put forward.

Secretary Riley. Yes, sir.

Chairman Riggs. Before I go to Chairman Goodling, I want to recognize Mr. Kucinich. I understand he has special guests in attendance here, and he wants to introduce them briefly.

Mr. Kucinich. I do. And, Mr. Secretary, thank you for your testimony. Our whole purpose in being here is to see what we can do to help guide the fortunes of our young people to greater and greater heights.

We have in attendance in this audience here a group of young people from John Marshall High School in the City of Cleveland, my district, who won a competition, not only in Cleveland, not only in the State of Ohio, but in the Midwest, in the national competition of the We the People competition which assesses knowledge of government and the Constitution of the United States; and I am so proud of them. With the permission of the Chair, I would like them to stand up and I would like them to receive applause from the Members of Congress here for their achievement in proving that with a good public education, you can really make an impact nationally.

If the young people would stand up, with the Chair's permission. Please stand. John Marshall High School. Thank you.

Chairman Riggs. It seems very appropriate the young people are with us today.

Mr. Kucinich. It certainly is, and I am very grateful to the Chair to indulge the committee at this time.

Chairman Riggs. I am happy to. Chairman Goodling.

Mr. Goodling. Well, Mr. Secretary, in my work over the years in Goals 2000, I believe strongly that voluntary standards and academic subjects should be available for local school districts to use. You probably also know from my work on Goals 2000, I have great reservations about individual licensed tests. Eventually, they become nothing more than an opportunity to rank schools, and I don't see the purpose of ranking schools.

As I have said many times, Upper St. Clair parents have a Master's, or a Ph.D., and all of them have a Bachelor's degree. Why in the world would I rank them or rank them with center city Pittsburgh?

Then you have those that say, then what we need is an opportunity to learn standards, an opportunity to learn standards have nothing to do with whether the parent has a Master's, a Ph.D. or a Bachelor's degree, and you can't change that no matter how much money you pour into the city system.

You indicated that these results will not come to the Department, no individual results will come to the Department, but certainly, the information to come, I would assume and correct me if I am wrong would be how the school did. And if that is true in other words, what is the purpose of having anything come, at least, how the school does on this test? And that is where you get into the ranking business, in my estimation.

But I guess I am more concerned about the fact that, do we need another test? We have been told year after year after year that our students aren't doing very well in this, this, this and this. We already know that. Now we are going to find it out one more time, and I believe after you set those national voluntary standards, then your next step is preparing the teacher to teach to the standards. What good does it do to test if the teacher hasn't been prepared to teach to the standards in the first place?

And so I would hope that that is a missing link; at least I see it as a missing link. I don't believe any individualized test should take place until those teachers are properly prepared.

We spent billions, hundreds over 100 billion in Chapter I, which was supposed to do all this remedial work. We spent all sorts of money, and it was supposed to have everybody who was in Head Start reading ready. And then we say at the end of third grade, they can't read. We apparently failed.

I don't want to go through that exercise again.

One other statement, and then a couple of questions. As I said to the President, I realize education is high in the polls; and you mentioned that today. It is very much in the minds of the American public. But even more so, at least every poll I have seen, is the fear of the American public in having the Federal Government involved in elementary-secondary education.

But education is here and that fear is above, and I don't know what we do to allay those fears with programs of this nature.

The question I want to put forth is, politically, I don't think it is very smart to move ahead with this program without the consent of Congress. In NAEP, we had specific authority, statutory authority. And I don't quite understand why it would be different now in a individualized test, in relationship to NAEP.

Also, in that statutory authority, there was a prohibition regarding the collection of individual data. Now, you say that is not going to come to the Department; then I am not quite sure what the purpose is from the Federal level in relationship to that data, if you are not going to collect it.

And then I guess my last question would be, do we need NAEP if we are going to have this individualized test? Do we need to sample, if we are going to test every individual?

One thing we can say about public education is that the kids aren't undertested. In fact, a lot of teachers complain they spend more time testing than they have time to teach.

Those are my statements and questions, and you can respond however you wish.

Secretary Riley. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me respond to a number of questions there, and I am sure there are some questions that many of you have about various aspects of this.

First of all, the individual licensed test, in terms of what it would do in ranking, as far as a school or a school district within a State is concerned, that would be purely up to the State and the school district. They would or would not use these tests just for reading, as you understand, and math in those two grades, unless they chose to do that. The parent and the teacher and the student would have the information; how they use it within the school district and within the State is up to them.

I think the need now first of all, I think there is a great need for NAEP, and you and I have talked about that for a long time. And I think the idea and I don't think you disagree with that. I think the idea of being able to look at the country and measure the performance level of students within the country in various subjects is very, very important for policy-making and for support systems and so forth.

But now, to get down into really making standards work, to get standards into the classroom and into the student's ability and into the teacher's ability, I am totally convinced that this idea of having national performance levels in these two basic skill areas at these transitional periods is the most helpful thing, the most valuable thing we can give a parent and a grandparent and the student and the teacher.

That is they don't have that kind of information under NAEP. NAEP is very helpful information to the State and to the Nation and to the school district, but it is not individual help to that student and that parent. And I think we are talking here a lot more than just tests. We are talking, then, about a reaction of parents being mobilized to say, listen, my kid can't read well and is in the fourth grade and moving into this fast-moving education world; and I am worried about it, and I want something done about it. It empowers parents and students to really make sure they go into this later stage of education, prepared to learn.

So I am very strong in where we are now. I think it should be voluntary and I don't think any State should be required to have them if they don't want them, and within the State, the school district; but I do think to have them now is a very important part of the mix.

And you say that there is a certainly no shortage of tests, and there is a reason for that; and I, as Governor of South Carolina, was looking at a State that had very serious needs in education, and we had to do a lot of testing because we had to build some baseline, we had to have an accountability process that made sense.

Now, as you move into that, then you can test less. And I see this test, which is geared to NAEP and to TIMSS, which are kind of acceptable samples, that over a period of years, you are going to see States then be able to reduce significantly their testing in those two areas in those two grade ranges. So I think that it can over time really cause less testing.

But I strongly urge you to take a good look, Mr. Chairman, at the power that a parent has by knowing how well their child can read and do basic math.

Mr. Goodling. Mr. Secretary, you didn't answer my very important question I asked about statutory authority, but let me preface that by saying that parent-teacher conferences now review all of the achievement or lack of achievement of a student. Number one, getting the parent in is difficult in many instances; and number two, getting the parent to do anything about it is equally as difficult.

I don't see whether there is some enforcement mechanism here where the parent must now come and look and see what they did in fourth grade reading or in eighth grade math, and then what their punishment is if they don't do something about it. I don't see how that will change the parent relationship with the teacher, reviewing the child's progress, I don't see how that is going to change. And, of course, what will change is the purpose for testing has always been to bring about the remedial work that the teacher must do in order to make sure that those who did poorly in the test have an opportunity to succeed.

I don't hope that changes, because that is the purpose of testing, to give the teacher an idea, you know, you can give the parent all the ideas in the world, but it is the teacher who is then going to make the difference in the remedial effort that he or she will put forth.

But again back to the statutory authority that I think politically is smart, and I am not sure whether it doesn't go beyond that also.

Secretary Riley. Mr. Chairman, I attempted to address that earlier when I looked at the authorization under FIE, which is a broad authorization to give us authority to not a large amount of money, but a small relatively speaking, a small amount of money to spend on improvement and research and improving education, and it has been used in the past in standards and those kinds of areas.

And we feel like that is clear that clearly gives us the authority to work on the development of these tests, and these aren't quickly and it takes a year or so to get that ready for pilot testing, which would be done about the spring of 1998, and then it would be ready for the test for fourth graders and eighth graders in 1999, in the spring, if funded by the Congress.

Mr. Goodling. And will there be an effort to prepare the teachers for the new standards before the test?

Secretary Riley. Well, there is a strong effort that runs conterminously, and that is for teachers, urging them to get into the national certification process which, as you know, is very, very, very rigorous. And the President's plan is to have 100,000 such teachers in place over a period of 4 years or so, and then that would hopefully end up with at least one master teacher in every school; and that, we think, would certainly be a tremendous lift to teachers and teacher colleges. We are having all kinds of interesting work done with them, to help teachers learn to teach to high standards, especially in reading and math, the critical basics.

Mr. Goodling. Well, the great thing you can do, if you can move the teacher training program into the 21st century, that will be a remarkable effort on your part, because I think it is in the 14th century at the present time.

Secretary Riley. We want to do what we can. Recently, we had a meeting with the 50 Teachers of the Year, chosen by the States to be the number one Teachers of the Year with 50 presidents and chancellors of major teachers colleges. They spent 2 days together, and these tough, quality teachers had the chance to interact with them. It was a very positive meeting, and we came out with, I think, a lot of ideas for improvement from that session that just occurred.

Chairman Riggs. Mr. Secretary, the Deputy Secretary is indicating he wants to respond.

Mr. Smith. Let me just add two things to the answer to Mr. Goodling.

One is, the very fact of having this discussion and this discussion all over the country and a discussion that is around student work, around the kinds of problems that we expect students to be able to handle at eighth grade in math, around the kinds of books and materials and questions we expect children to be able to handle at fourth grade reading, that is a tremendously important discussion. It is a discussion we desperately need because we do not have a common set of understandings about the nature of the work opportunities are expected to do.

In our inner cities, kids who get A in courses score at a level comparable on a test to students who get Cs in suburbs, and that is because the expectations differ. It is because the curricula greatly differ. It is because of the understanding of what students can do greatly differs.

Until we get the same kind of challenging curriculum in the inner cities as we do in the suburbs, we are not going to have a equal society at all; we are not going to give kids the chance they really deserve.

In response to the issues about teachers and others, these tests basically are a mechanism. They are a mechanism for starting discussions all over the country. I held two discussions this weekend, one with foundation people in California about the kinds of work that they are doing in math and in reading.

I held another discussion in Chicago with experts from the math community all over the country talking about ways they can work with their State coordinators, their local directors about how they can change the teaching programs, et cetera. I mean, lots and lots and lots of efforts of this sort are going on through the Department and outside of the Department now because the tests are going to be given.

Chairman Riggs. Thank you. Mr. Martinez.

Mr. Martinez. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

There are people on this committee that love testing and there are people that hate testing; there are people like me, probably in the middle, who want to know what the test result does for the student.

You know, too often in the past testing has just been an assessment just been for assessment, really not for the student, but for the school or the educators or the district, and it hasn't been to develop a plan for the child's improvement. More often, testing has been for comparison between individuals and/or groups.

To me, testing is only a value, not for the grades that it allows the teacher to give a child, but to tell us what the educators need to do for that specific child to ensure he learns. Terrill Brown, testifying before our committee one day, said, There is nothing as rewarding as the light going on in that student's head and the satisfaction the teacher gets from that student's just learning he can learn. And that is what we have to strive for, making sure children understand they can learn and they do learn.

The fact is that in this whole process you had Mr. Goodling asked a series of questions specifically regarding the authority that you have to go ahead with this plan through the administration, not necessarily including Congress in it, and I liken back and this may not be a good analogy, but it is the only one I can think of Bush, when he decided to enter Kuwait and drive the Iraqis back, he had the authority to do that.

I believe it was his decision, but he didn't do it alone; he came to Congress, and together, they gave great support for that. It turned out real great and everybody was gratified that it did, and it was a common effort for a common good by people who should be involved in it.

I am wondering I know you answered this in the letter, that you do have the authority. But I am wondering, would it be as good a tack, if the time line was right, because I know there is a press for time here, that by 1999 you want to have this in place, that still gives us 2 years to develop a fast-track piece of legislation that would combine all the ideas we have as far as testing and the effects of it, as well as getting it out in time for it to take effect when you want it to take effect.

Has there been any thought given to the idea that you might include let me tell you why, because this committee, especially, has recently come together in a bipartisan way with both Houses to develop a plan that really is important for disabled children in our country, and it has worked beautifully so far, I have both fingers crossed and my knees and everything else crossed, hoping nothing upsets this intricate balance I have arrived at.

I think it can be done, and it behooves all of us to enter into an effort like that for the sake of our children.

Secretary Riley. Congressman, the one accepted role generally for the Federal Government in terms of education and we have to be very careful about that because it is a State responsibility, as you have heard me say many times, and a local function but one role is this role of research. I do think that in education and in all other areas and we really feel that the work in developing the tests that we are going into this year really is in this area of research and improvement, and if the Federal Government can't do that for all the States and all the school districts, you know, who can?

I mean, one little State doesn't have the money to do the research on a national test to compare their students with students all over this country and people moving from State to State all the time; and so we think that a great part of the Federal role is research.

Now, again, you all will have the NAEP and NAGB reauthorization of that is something you will be considering this year. That will be part of this, and then before any money is spent on administering these tests, which is the big money the research is a small amount of money, because we have NAEP that has already been funded and we are using basically the NAEP sequence and the NAEP process, so it really is just equating NAEP with this individual test.

And that is why I am here, too, to talk about it and discuss it; and I did, as you know, when I testified before.

So we think we are having a good interchange of information and ideas, and we are in a research and improvement mode, and then if this thing proceeds forward, the Congress will have to be a partner in it. I mean, there is no question about that.

Mr. Martinez. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Let me, for a second, play devil's advocate. There is a noted educator, named Darlene Hammonds, whose described standardized tests as superficial, explaining that if we don't ask if a student can synthesize information, solve problems or think independently, we measure only what they recognize.

How will the test you propose, the administration proposes, Mr. Secretary, help improve and that is what we are all aimed at, improving student achievement levels.

Secretary Riley. Well, first of all, if you give the same test to every student and you have to do that in the same time frame with the same number two pencil or whatever, you have to have certain standards in place in order to be able to measure the comparisons. So it is standardized in that process. However, this test, while it will have very interesting, multiple-choice-type questions that will be penetrating and searching, to be able to determine a basic proficient or advanced level, a portion of the test will be open-ended kinds of questions that would cause writing and so forth to take place. It is the most up-to-date type of testing that is available, and it is no longer the so-called "standardized test" that was just nothing but true-false and some multiple choice questions that were easy to grade and so forth. It is a very up-to-date type of test, and NAEP really is an example of that and it is pretty very well accepted, in fact.

Mr. Martinez. What you are saying is, it won't be just a standardized test; that it will include trying to see if that student can think independently?

Secretary Riley. Right. In your terms of "standardized test," it will be different, but it will have certain standards, standardized things that have to be met, yes.

Mr. Martinez. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

Mr. Castle. [Presiding.] Thank you. I happen to be next in questioning. At the same time, I was asked to fill in for Mr. Riggs. Believe me, I was right there. I was here early.

I would like to go back to something you stated earlier, Mr. Secretary, and also a discussion you had with Mr. Goodling. You stated and I am very supportive of what you are trying to do; I think proper testing and voluntary national tests are fine, proper testing is very important in education. Obviously, you can go too far with it, and that concerns us all.

I don't want to be duplicative, and I don't say this in a critical sense: I want to understand the difference between the NAEP test, as overseen by NAGB, and the tests you are putting together here. I understand that one is more of a sample and what you are doing is more comprehensive, but is it really necessary? Are there being going to be jurisdictional disputes? Is somebody going to make a political judgment on all this and say, we shouldn't have both?

I want to make sure what we are doing is the right thing to do; and as succinctly as you can, help me with that. I would like to hear your answer on that question.

Secretary Riley. Well, first of all, believe me, we spent a lot of time thinking out this process; and we were hunting searching, really for the best ways to reach high standards in this country, national standards for all States, all children.

The if you look then at these basics that are involved, the reading test when you talk about the politics and controversy, the reading test measures reading ability. It does not measure how you learn to read, whether you used phonics or whole language or a combination or at what stage or whatever. Teachers, reading experts, have all kinds of different ideas about all of those things, which are valid; and that is what makes this country strong is the competition of ideas.

But the test doesn't go into that. The test measures your ability to read, so we think that is extremely one extremely important thing. If you get off into testing history, or testing in the sciences even, you get into very controversial issues about what kind of history, whose idea that this was important or more important than that.

So these basic skills, reading and math, we think do not have the political idea of controversy to them, and all Americans would understand that reading well and basic math are part of an education and a necessary part of an education.

Now, was there another part of the question?

Mr. Castle. I still don't think I truly understand the difference between what you are doing and the NAEP testing.

I am all for the testing. I understand what you are saying about it. I am trying to be helpful here; I am not trying to pick at something. But I don't know that I truly understand the difference.

I think it is important for explaining all this later on.

Secretary Riley. I do, too.

This NAEP, as you know, does not tell parents how well their child is doing, and it is fine for a governor and it is wonderful for a chief school officer and it is wonderful for a superintendent; but if you are a parent out here, you can have all the NAEP tests in the world and you know that your State is doing is in a certain place in the ranking.

One thing I have always said is that any test that doesn't serve the function of helping the student who is taking the test is a poor test. Every test that ought to be the test of a test; and a student who is taking this test in the fourth grade as to whether or not they can read independently is at an absolutely critical time of their education and a time for their parents to know if their child, coming through, K through 4, has learned to read well; and if they haven't, they ought to be asking questions, why not, and getting involved in that process with the teacher. And all of the other processes do not permit that, and this is individualized, compared to the whole country, in challenging performance tests.

Mr. Castle. Did you want to comment, Mr. Smith?

Mr. Smith. Let me add a little bit.

Mr. Chairman, this test is much more like the kind of test you give in Delaware to your students under assessment. Suppose you give a fourth grade reading test and eighth grade math test in Delaware, you give it to every student in the fourth and eighth grade, you get back an individual test score and they know where they rank basically in that score within Delaware, and they know where they rank perhaps within their school, if the school provides that information.

This test will provide other information. It will also show where you rank against the National Assessment of Educational Progress so you will know where you are ranking in the entire Nation for the eighth grade; you will also know how you rank internationally.

But beyond that, it will have this more common framework, in effect, so that you, in Delaware, can look at it and think about the relationship of the kinds of work students are doing in Delaware and the kinds of work they are doing, again, in Maryland or in France or somewhere else.

So it is NAEP is really a thermometer. In effect, it is only to a sample. This goes out to everybody in very much the same way your assessments at the State level do.

Mr. Castle. Let me ask a question quickly. I know my time is up.

Mr. Secretary, looking at the board, your State, South Carolina, my State, Delaware, it is interesting because our NAEP tests are roughly equivalent and yet the assessments, by State, are vitally different.

Secretary Riley. I wish you hadn't said that.

Mr. Castle. But your standards are doing extremely well in South Carolina, and we are doing poorly in Delaware when we are doing roughly equivalently; and I wonder how setting aside the NAEP issue now but how we envision the national tests being used by the States, and how the national tests will work with the State tests.

My State people told me that it has been extremely helpful to have, for example, national standards from which they can develop local standards; and I think the same thing would apply to tests. But there are some serious, different results there and I would be interested in hearing how you see those integrated together as this testing is done.

Secretary Riley. Well, I don't know if any of you have heard of Martin Musick, who is the executive director of the Southern Regional Education Board, a very strong educator and very much into these issues. He has made speeches all around the country comparing what a student, and in a southern State. Proficient and under a State test in my State, 80 percent proficient readers when those same students take the NAEP test, it drops to whatever that is, 20 percent, 80 to 20. And you can see that in a number of States.

And your State happens to be different. You have a very challenging State test; it is even more challenging, according to this data, than the NAEP test. That is very good information, too. So if your students come in at a pretty good level for basics, they are doing better than that nationally.

My State, it is totally different, and that is why when you have nothing but the State to go on, you really can't tell how you stand. I mean, parents in so many of these States that you see the red way over there, they think their students are reading fine, and they aren't, and then they are not reading at a proficient level. And so that is a good example, I think, that one chart shows in very clear terms how valuable this kind of test would be.

Mr. Castle. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

I, for one in closing, I am one for these comparisons. I think it provides governors and educators and everybody else information as to how they are doing against other States, or even school districts or whatever it may be. Some people don't feel quite as strongly about that, but I think it is actually helpful, so I think interposing one against other is probably a very good thing to do.

Let me turn now to Mr. Miller, who thinks I am cheating with the order of speakers anyhow.

Mr. Miller. I want to thank you and I want to join Mr. Castle in what he has said. I think that you have outlined a tremendous program here.

I think some of the criticism in the past and some of the concern by us is testing has been a substitute for teaching and a substitute for learning. I think your program outlines, in fact, a challenge to teaching and learning.

And I also wants to reinforce, Mr. Secretary, your understanding that I think this is about empowering parents. I think all too often parents learn at a very late stage that in spite of grades, children are not able do the work that parents are led to believe they are capable of because the grades they have gotten in fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh grade.

I spent a lot of time in the last 2 years in a continuation high school, and I can't tell you how many of those students asked the question, how did I get the grades if I can't read at grade level? And they are seniors and juniors in high school. And when you ask them, do you think students should be retained or held until they can reach proficiency at fourth grade and third grade level and what have you, they all agree they should be, but they weren't.

They are asking some pretty serious questions, and I think this test is one of the ways to help hold this large educational establishment in this country accountable for its work product, and I am very encouraged by this.

I am working now with one of the poorest school sites in my and one of the poorest school districts in my district, and they are working with the Johns Hopkins group in anticipation of these kinds of questions and these kinds of measurement. They have not a lot of new money, but I think have reorganized the Title I funding with an emphasis on this ability to read and critically think and to comprehend; and these kids are taken to this like a fish to water. But 2 years ago nobody was asking these kids to do anything; we were just moving them along on the escalator.

I just I think that this is a wonderful challenge, and I would encourage you to move along. You have the support of parents, you have the support of chief State school officers, you have the support of the business community; and I think you ought to continue to move along this path and to challenge our education system.

If they don't want to take the test, they don't have to. I think they will, because I think they will start to understand what kind of statement they are going to have to make to parents if they are not able to assure those parents that their children are able to achieve these goals.

Finally, I just want to say, it has also become very apparent that an awful lot more children can achieve the goals than are currently achieving them, that we are simply not challenging these children for a whole host of reasons. But the fact of the matter is, there is a huge reservoir of intelligence out there that is just not being developed in the current system, and I think these tests are one of the ways for us to start giving parents the right to know, if you will, about what is going on in that school site; and I really want to encourage you and thank you for this effort on behalf of the administration.

Secretary Riley. Thank you so much, Congressman. And let me say, when you stand back and look at what has happened with education in this country and where it is going, I think you have to, first of all, acknowledge that the requirements, the understanding of what is expected of people has dramatically changed, and the little you have and I have discussed we are in an information era and a knowledge-based era. All that has changed and it has happened while we have been here, and it is a transitional period. And also, in years past, we didn't prepare our children to really be ready for this Information Age. We had an education that 25 percent of the children were prepared to go on to college or whatever, and the others were just there for agriculture or textile mills or whatever. It has dramatically changed, and it really is interesting to see that.

So one of the first things, in my view, that all of us need to understand as we move into this rapidly changing time and through this transitional period, is that we have got to have high expectations of all of our children from kindergarten forward; and this idea of not expecting more from children is one of the most harmful things that you can do to them. And I think that is what you are observing, and I absolutely agree with that and believe in

Mr. Miller. I would just hope at some point and this is obviously more than we are biting off and chewing this morning that we would start to look at education maybe more as a process than a place. You know, we compartmentalize children first, second, third, fourth grade but we don't ask, are they developing the skills that are age appropriate and that they are capable of developing, as opposed to whether or not they are in the particular grade or not.

I think one of the geniuses of the information world is that there is an awful lot in it that is based upon outcomes. I mean, you can continue to do the task until you can get it right and until you can learn the process by which you do it; and in many ways, it is somewhat nonjudgmental, but you can figure it out and you can work your way through those processes.

At some point, I think parents have got to be able to ask, is my child performing to their fullest capabilities; and is this school system drawing out the full potential of my child, you know, without regard to what their placement is. And I think this testing is an opportunity to allow parents to intervene and get some answers to that question, not the Federal Government intervening.

This is about empowering parents to maybe ask some difficult questions that school districts have preferred not to answer, to be able to pass off down the line for the next person to receive the child, as opposed to being judged on their performance. Thank you.

Mr. Castle. Thank you, Mr. Miller. Mr. Paul.

Mr. Paul. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Secretary, there is a growing number of parents in this country who have now taken their kids out of public school and put them in private schools, and they are home schooling their kids. What are your plans to test them? Because these schools virtually go unmonitored.

Secretary Riley. Well, this plan is to try to get as many young people to have this opportunity as we possibly can. Private schools then could contract with the local school district or the State, as it was developed, to have the test given in their schools.

After the test is completed, like 2 weeks later or so, the test items then would be on the Internet; and a home-schooler then could pick these up and then could have the information for as far as the answers are concerned and so forth, to be used fully for their own benefit. In other words, we would hope our plan is to have as wide a use of this availability as possible.

Mr. Paul. So you would encourage them to use it.

Secretary Riley. Absolutely.

Mr. Paul. You know, the idea of volunteerism is very attractive, especially to those who might advocate less government because this solves a lot of our problems; but so often what is considered voluntary at one time becomes mandatory. And I know you have emphasized the voluntary nature of this program, but if I were to go back to my district in Texas and explain to them we are about to embark on a voluntary program I doubt very seriously whether I could get 10 percent who would believe me, that the government is going to have a voluntary program that is going to stay voluntary, so they would be very distrustful of the long-term nature of this.

We have just heard 3 days worth of activity up in Philadelphia about volunteerism; but, at the same time, they are asking for $2.5 billion to pay for the volunteers to help people to read. Also, those individuals who are promoting this voluntary program in Philadelphia also endorse, encourage and really want a mandatory community service program in order to get their diploma. So that is a long way from volunteerism.

So you have to understand, there are a lot of people who won't be satisfied and will not be comfortable with saying this is voluntary and if you don't like it you don't have to participate. Because voluntary at the beginning, fine. And then there will be enticement. You can't get your money until you voluntarily go along with the programs. But we have spent

You know, some day I would like to see somebody bring a chart in here and show the record of government involvement and the expansion of government programs and expenditures, because for 40 years they have gone up steadily. And here we are decrying the horrible nature of public education. Because I am quite sure that as the money goes up, the involvement goes up, the quality goes down.

So it is for this reason that we really ought to listen carefully to Mr. Goodling about the challenge, about the statutory authority for this can we go or can the administration go and do without more statutory authority?

But, really, some day somebody must ask the question, where did we ever get this constitutional authority to do this? I mean, prior to the 1950s, there was very, very little, if none. There was no constitutional authority for this. But now it is just an accepted notion.

But I am a perpetual optimist, and what you are doing is great. Because I think it is going to help it is going to help destroy the confidence in the Federal Government involvement in schools. It is going to drive that many more people out of public education, into private education and home schooling, where people get a real education. I yield back the balance of my time.

Secretary Riley. Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Castle. Mr. Secretary.

Secretary Riley. I liked what you were almost saying.

Mr. Paul. Except for the conclusion.

Secretary Riley. Coming down the home stretch, I didn't I agree with the fact that there is a lot of cynicism out there no question about that and a lot of it is deserved.

We are very careful in the Department of Education, contrary to what you might have heard or believe, to make sure the States' authority in education is absolutely respected, the local function. The importance of the teacher and the child is not a Federal thing, but it is between the teacher and the child and the parent.

We think that, and that is why in Goals 2000 there is language specifically in there that says you cannot have Federal mandate. It has to be the State's idea of how they want to improve their own standards, those kinds of things. Yet the people out there, a lot of them, think that Goals 2000 is, again, as you say, some kind of Federal takeover.

Please keep in mind that we are for high standards, and I think you are, and we are for raising the level. I have a great feeling that the public schools in this country are one of the key reasons, if not the key reason, that in this very diverse country we have become the most powerful country in the history of civilization.

If you take public schools out and you look at all of the other countries around the world that have having enormous differences in race and whatever else, oftentimes it is connected to children coming up in a certain way and not the common school concept. So I am a strong believer of the public schools and think it is really critical to the very Constitution that you are talking about, so I would urge the Congressman to look at this.

It is high standards. It is math and reading. And all of the concern of the Federal Government takeover of children's minds or whatever that might be out there, which I don't think is justified, as far as what we are doing, I would urge you to realize this is voluntary, and it is math, and it is reading. Reading is reading. Math is math.

Chairman Riggs. [Presiding] Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Thank you, Mr. Paul.

Let me remind the members, we are doing this in the order in which they arrived so nobody yells at me because Mr. Scott is next.

Mr. Scott. Mr. Chairman, I would like to defer to the gentleman from Indiana and switch with his time.

Mr. Castle. Without objection, certainly. Mr. Roemer.

Mr. Roemer. Thank you, Mr. Scott. I appreciate your generosity. And thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Nice to see you, Mr. Secretary. You were in Philadelphia yesterday, as I was, listening to the President and three former presidents and Mrs. Reagan talk about some of the problems in our Nation, particularly with our Nation's youth and the number of children that drop out of school every day, in the thousands, that on the front page of the Washington Post this morning, they are closing 11 schools down.

Certainly we need to do some new things in terms of working with our local schools to improve education. The national government should certainly not federalize education. We should make sure that the role is local, that the curriculum for the most part is voluntary and it is developed and derived at the local base, at the grass roots. But certainly we need some new ideas in education, and I would just ask you a couple questions in terms of this idea and this hearing.

In a recent conversation that I had with Lou Gerstner, who is the Chairman and CEO of IBM and certainly not somebody that would be labeled a wide-eyed liberal, he said that this was a good idea, that some kind of assessment in math and reading, that can be used across the country. Because Indiana, whose graduates might be going to the Silicon Valley for jobs or California residents might be going to South Carolina for jobs, that especially in high technology areas and other areas, this is very much needed.

One, do you agree with that kind of assessment from Lou Gerstner and Lewis Platt, the CEO of Hewlett Packard? And, secondly, do you think the business community has a role in helping develop some of these standards?

Secretary Riley. Well, I certainly absolutely agree and understand Mr. Gerstner and others' position; and, as I mentioned, some 240 Silicon Valley CEOs came in and had strong support for raising standards and some accountable link to it.

It is very clear that the new jobs that are being created and you and I saw some of that in your own district. Looking at schools and the preparation that young people were having there, it is absolutely clear that this whole new level of education, these high standards, are necessary to prepare a young person for this world today of work and professional life or whatever. So I think that is very clear, and I don't think you talked to many real forward-thinking business leaders who would disagree with that.

And coming out of the Summit with the President, when we had all the CEOs and the governors there talking about the same thing and I think the governors and the chief school officers also are an important part of this mix. So, yes, I think that is a very clear statement from the business side of thinking in this country, that this kind of proposal makes a whole lot of sense.

Mr. Roemer. Well, in terms of following up, let's say that we proceed and do something like this and find that some States are better than others and other States are weak in terms of other scores. What is the proper role of the Federal Government or the State government or the States in assessing this?

Then in following up with remediation, what do we do, then, if we are going to take responsibility for these tests and find that we have got some problems? Then what do we do about solving some of these problems? And we find that some States have bigger problems than others. Some may be particular local school districts have bigger problems than others. What do we do?

Secretary Riley. Well, this information is especially helpful to the States and the local schools. As you know, that is where 93 percent of the money comes from in terms of K through 12 education; and it is also helpful to us in the Federal level, while not near as much to the State and the local schools.

The current NAEP test gives you a pretty good idea, in most States, as to how your State is doing in relation to the country. That is of no real value to a parent who might live in this school district for 2 years and then move to another State in another school district or across town into another school district. They then they aren't policymakers. They are worried about their children's education and having the basic skills.

And this information then says to that parent, this is your child's information. And I will tell you that, then, what is strong about this country is how people react, not what they are told to do, not that it is a requirement then that the school district do so and so, but then parents react and get mobilized and get either excited about how well their children are doing or concerned, always concerned.

And I think that kind of reaction, Congressman, is really what I think is exciting about reaching for high standards for all children.

Mr. Roemer. One final question, Mr. Chairman.

Does this information, then Mr. Secretary, you were before us a couple months ago; and you said you wanted to demand more accountability from schools and shut down bad schools, shut down poorly performing schools. Is this the kind of information, then, that would be used to demand that accountability?

Secretary Riley. It is. But I will tell you this. It is not for us in the Federal Government. It is for the State

Mr. Roemer. It is to empower parents.

Secretary Riley. As you see, they are struggling with that here in Washington, D.C. But it is that kind of information. It is good information; and you can compare it with all the children in this country; and, in many cases, a kind of skewed comparison for a particular State or school district.

Mr. Roemer. So it is the kind of information local parents and local business leaders and a State would use to demand either a better school or to shut down the school.

Secretary Riley. Absolutely, and primarily parents.

Mr. Roemer. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

Chairman Riggs. All right. By order of arrival, I have Mr. Scott and then Mrs. Mink, is that correct?

Okay. Congressman Scott is recognized. You may proceed.

Mr. Scott. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Secretary, my concern isn't as much with the test but, first of all, what it has done with the results. And there can, obviously, be some high-scoring students, some low-scoring students, some high-area schools and whatnot. Will there be any ability to assess whether a low score is a student's fault or a bad system a bad school, for example?

Secretary Riley. Well, I think that is a natural reaction that a parent would have, and that is an examination of what kind of education is it that their children are receiving. This test is a very clear measure of a child's ability to read in the fourth or do basic math, including algebra, which is a very important part of it we haven't had much discussion about that but including algebra under the eighth grade.

And it avoids, Congressman, all of the gray areas of measurement, which are very important, too, in other areas; but it is a very clear measure. Consequently, a parent could know not whether their child is good in history and science or whatever but can they read and can they do basic math. And then I think they can look to the school district to answer those questions and to their teachers and to themselves.

Mr. Scott. Well, if you have an area, a school that is doing, for example, much lower than the other schools in the area, would they be entitled to technical assistance or additional resources to try to address their problem?

Secretary Riley. I think it would be very clear within a school district and Dr. Smith spoke to that a minute ago that oftentimes in the suburbs the student might be making a C. In the same city, in the inner city, he or she might be making a B or a B plus; and that is very unfair to that child. What this does is it says to that person in the city or the suburbs, comparing national standards, how does your child read or do math?

Now your question is a very, very good question: What does it cause to happen?

Mr. Scott. And then what did you do about it?

Secretary Riley. Well, under our system, I don't think you should have the built-in requirement attached to this. But if you have the requirement that the parent is empowered with this information and then they then can take that information and do whatever they can do go to their school board, to their principal, to their teacher and begin to ask questions and make demands and if you show one community has low test scores compared to another, then that is a very legitimate question: Why? Let's get in there and work on making it change.

Mr. Scott. Well, there is some reason, talking about the fairness of the test, many of these tests have notorious cultural biases. And I think it is understood, on the SAT scores, if you get a preparation course, your score can go up. What will we do to eliminate the cultural bias and the effect of teaching the test and preparation?

Secretary Riley. That also is a very good question, and I am glad you mentioned it, and I might ask Dr. Smith to elaborate on that somewhat. That is always a problem in testing.

The NAEP sequence the NAEP process has taken that into careful consideration. And, in that process, the State or the school district or the testing service that will be out there will have an advisory-type committee or panel that would be representative of different types of students who would be tested; and every single item that is on either of these tests would be reviewed very carefully for bias.

I think that is a very important part of it, because it is a national test and you if you have bias develop in the test, then it certainly is impugned to start with. So I would say to you, in the beginning, we are going into that process very carefully; and every single item, every question on the test, would be carefully reviewed for bias. And in all of those different levels of interest disabled kids, LEP kids, minorities, poor every type problem that could develop, biases are reviewed and handled.

Mr. Scott. Is it your belief the cultural bias can be removed in a national test or is it inherent in a national test that there will be cultural biases?

Secretary Riley. Well, that is an interesting question. Because, of course, you can take the word bias to an extreme in something like reading and math. I think you could come as close in anything in the world to having the absence of biases. We

This is a reading, English test. Consequently, kids who are new immigrants to this country might have a difficult time with it. That is taken into consideration. The fact that a kid has a disability is taken into consideration, and those are dealt with. All kinds of provisions are made for a student who has problems seeing or hearing to be able to handle the test. But it is an English test; and it is in English, of course. The eighth grade math test, however, will be in English and Spanish to eliminate the bias there.

Mr. Scott. But am I hearing you, that you believe that you can eliminate the inherent cultural bias that is, in effect, just well-established in all other tests?

Secretary Riley. Yes is my answer, and let me ask my testing authority to speak to it.

Mr. Smith. Congressman, as the Secretary said, every item will be looked over by experts in this area, experts that come from different cultures and look at things in different ways.

I can probably make the argument you can never eliminate all bias in a test, but the testing organizations over time have gotten very good at eliminating most of it. And even though there are continuous claims about the SAT and other tests being dramatically biased, in fact, because some in some part, because those claims have been made, people look more and more closely at things and have gotten better at removing the bias.

I would like to answer one other part of the question that you had. You mentioned that you wanted to make you were worried about people preparing for the test or teaching to the test. In fact, that is exactly what we want people to do. We want people to, when they are preparing for the eighth grade math test, to take algebra in the eighth grade and take pre-algebra in the seventh grade and have schools and classrooms teach geometry in grades three, four, five, six and seven to have the students prepare for the tests. The whole idea is to get the students prepared to take those tests, to get them prepared to read independently by the end of the third grade and going into fourth grade.

We are going to put out there examples of good student work. We are working with the International Reading Association, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics to put out what their examples are of very good textbooks and materials for teachers to use, the kinds of books kids should be reading at home, the kinds of books parents can read to their kids when they are very young.

So this is an effort, in fact, to prepare every child for those tests, not this is not a test of some sort of magical ability. It is a test of whether or not students have been given the opportunity to learn how to read and have taken that opportunity.

Mr. Scott. Mr. Chairman, if I could be indulged for just a second to recognize the arrival of the Silver Bells Club from Newport News, Virginia, with Reverend Marsalis Harris. And I think they are already standing in the back. I just wanted to have them recognized.

Chairman Riggs. It is very nice to have you joining us. Thank you, Congressman Scott.

Mrs. Mink, you are recognized. You may proceed.

Mrs. Mink. Thank you very much and welcome Mr. Secretary, for engaging this committee on a very profound topic. We have had our discussions that relate to this subject on numerous occasions, particularly when we were doing the Goals 2000; and, like Mr. Scott and others in the committee, we were always concerned about what we do after the tests. And we were discussing performance standards and what we can do as a Congress and as a Nation to build up the schools that are not performing promptly.

I think that remains still my major concern. I have absolutely no qualms about the relevance of tests and the importance of it and giving parents the tools with which to measure the success of their own child as compared to the school as compared to the system as compared to the Nation and the world. I think those are appropriate methods by which a parent can feel whether they are giving their students their children the best opportunities that are available in the community. So I support all of that.

My concern is that we already know in my State, for instance, which schools are not performing; and they are published every year in full view of the community in newspaper releases which score the schools. Yet, year after year, there is not much that the community or the State or the Federal Government can or has done to bring the students up to the level of performance.

Now I don't know how my State would be scored on that chart. It is not listed. But wherever it is in the scope of things my concern is what do we do with the results. It is very damaging, discouraging, disparaging to the students and the community to not have the assistance necessary to bring the students up to the performance level that we think is necessary. And I think that is really my major concern.

If the test is to elevate the responsibility of the local community, the State and the Congress to do to help these communities, then I am all for it. But if it is only a mechanism to single out those that are not performing and then do nothing about it, then I have some very grave concerns about it.

Now my first question is, we look to NAEP, and it has been the responsibility of the Office of Education since 1969 to do these tests, and they are not complete, and they are not universal. They are a random selection of students. Yet the country has relied on these outcomes. And what I want to know is, if these tests were developed carefully by the Department, have been in use for almost 30 years, why do we need a new test?

Secretary Riley. The NAEP test, which, as you point out, is a sample test and can give you a very good idea of how the country is doing in a number of these core subjects it also

Mrs. Mink. Well, they do reading; and they do math.

Secretary Riley. They do reading; and they do math.

Mrs. Mink. Why can't we use the same test and offer it now universally on a voluntary basis throughout the country? Why is the test not valid?

Secretary Riley. There is a real reason for that. The test is valid. The way the test works, Congresswoman, is this and people don't realize, if you look at NAEP if you take a NAEP test in eighth grade math, you might take the division and multiplication part. Somebody else might take the algebra part. Somebody else and spread across the country or State, you only take one-seventh of the test. And then, instead of having 4- or 5-hour-long tests, you would just have a short period of time; and that works from a research standpoint, a statistical standpoint very well.

Now the problem, then, is suppose you want to give a test that has on the same base line, you can compare it with the national NAEP, but you ought to give it to the individual. That is what takes the $10 million or $12 million a year to take the same NAEP sequence, the NAEP process, and to equate those tests with an individual, where the individual takes all seven parts but does it in an hour and a half. And that can be done it is rather relatively inexpensive to be done, and it does exactly what you are talking about. It equates that with NAEP.

Mrs. Mink. So really, Mr. Secretary, you are not starting a whole new apparatus

Secretary Riley. No.

Mrs. Mink. and a whole new discovery of where children ought to be in the fourth grade in reading or where they ought to be in eighth grade in math. You are taking what you already have been doing for 30 years and simply refashioning the tests, criteria, to suit a mechanism which would now, instead of sampling, test each child in every school district.

Secretary Riley. That is exactly right, and I appreciate you bringing that up.

Mrs. Mink. I think if you would say that, it would alleviate a lot of my concerns and other concerns that have been expressed here this morning. Because I would hate to see us now pulling together our parents, our community, our educators, our researchers, our academic actions and come up with a new test. I mean, that would be terrible. That would be like saying what we have been doing for 30 years is not valid.

Secretary Riley. See, in the 30-year baseline, these individual student scores will fit right into that. That is what is so valuable. Testing for 1 year doesn't really mean anything, but you have a baseline to where you can relate it, and it really is valuable, and that is the value of the NAEP test that has been accepted and TIMSS now also, internationally, for the math.

So, I mean, we can look at the same kind of baseline on math for 41 years, and it is going to be very, very interesting.

Mrs. Mink. Well, I think that the whole idea of a basis of evaluating yourself as an individual and related to your school and the State and the country and the world is very valuable; and I think it is particularly valuable for those in the middle and the higher income and the high achievers, to see how they are doing vis-a-vis the rest of the country and the world.

My concern, again, as I started off by saying, is for those who are not achieving fourth grade level reading and not achieving the math standards. We have to recommit ourselves to helping these schools and these individuals. Otherwise, it will be another demeaning exercise in which we are putting down the communities that already know they are having a hard time, already have a hard time retaining good teachers, already have a hard time recruiting the capacity to teach reading and math, which are two essentials.

I just want to say that for those to criticize this as a way to manipulate curriculum, they are so far off. Because this has nothing to do, in my opinion, with curriculum. What you read may have something to do with curriculum, but to read is a skill; and all you are doing is testing a skill. And in the case of math, it is the capacity to think comprehend, calculate; and it has nothing to do with curriculum. It is again testing a skill.

So I think put in the framework of skills testing rather than standards testing would make it far more acceptable and compatible with people's attitudes about what tests are supposed to be doing.

Anyway, in any event, I support the concept. I just worry about the aftermath of the test for the individual and the family and hope that this recommits this Nation to do more for those that have not achieved, both at the teacher level, because I believe that is where it is all at, and to equip them with the tools, technology, books and so forth to enable the teacher to do a better job in the classroom.

But I thank you for your initiative. It is very worthwhile, and I support it wholeheartedly. Thank you.

Chairman Riggs. Thank you, Mrs. Mink. Congressman Scott, you had an additional question for the Secretary.

Mr. Scott. I would like to pose a question. The time has expired, so I am not sure if you would have time to respond to it. But the question of why the fourth grade was picked for English. I understand if you haven't achieved by the fourth grade, you are going to be in trouble going forward.

We have had a lot of success in my hometown testing people in kindergarten and first grade; and if they are not prepared for reading, you can put in additional resources and intensive resources. So by the time they get to the fourth grade, they are up to speed. If you wait until the fourth grade to test them, it may already be too late. So the utility of the tests may not be as great as if it had been done, say, in the first, second or third grade.

So if the Secretary could help us with that even now or with the Chairman's permission.

Secretary Riley. I can give a very brief answer.

You are absolutely right. The general transition period, though, is that all children should be able to read independently by the end of the third grade, so that testing them in the fourth grade is a very good time to do that.

Now to prepare for that test, to prepare for it and go back to kindergarten and preschool and all of that, obviously, you don't learn that all in the third grade.

Mr. Scott. But if you wait until the fourth grade to find out they are so far behind they are going to be in trouble, the utility of the test is somewhat compromised. If you had learned this student is having trouble in the second grade, you may have been able to do more about it.

Secretary Riley. Well, of course, maybe we should have a longer discussion with some of our reading experts; but, you know, there is a ready-to-read time that young people come into. Some of them really aren't ready to read until second grade or whatever.

So the idea, though, that this test, being given in the fourth grade, would cause local school districts and States and through Title I of the Federal Government to make sure what is in place, what you are talking about, in the kindergarten and those early years, so that when a child finishes the third grade that is our goal, to be able to read independently by the time they finish the third grade.

This test doesn't cause that, but we think it can have an awful lot to do without bringing in others to make it happen, so that they will be ready when they go in the fourth grade.

Mrs. Mink. Will the gentleman yield?

I notice on your fourth grade test here, which you provided the committee, you score them basic, proficient and advanced. Is that going to be related in your test scores to the individual?

Secretary Riley. Yes, that is NAEP. Those are performance levels.

Mrs. Mink. Those are three levels. Well, I have to confess to the committee I would not have reached the advanced level, even at this late date in life.

Secretary Riley. If the committee was very honest, I think all of us realize the point being, Congresswoman, that is a challenging test; and a child would really have to read well to be in the advanced group; and not many are there. Our goal is to have all children read in the proficient level.

Mrs. Mink. Mr. Chairman, that goes beyond reading. That is thinking.

Chairman Riggs. Obviously, we do hope the test, if you will, will probe the individual child's cognitive learning ability and their critical thinking skills.

Mr. Secretary, let me take a couple minutes more, if you can indulge me just a few more questions, since I really held off asking my questions until we have been able to give everybody on the panel a chance to participate.

I also want to clarify Mrs. Mink asked a question about NAEP; and, again, I just want to clarify for the record, obviously, that NAEP does not test individual students. It simply is a sampling. And it does not produce scores for individual students or individual school districts, and obviously that is where your proposal and the administration proposal comes into play.

I want to ask, though, how this idea of voluntary national testing would conform with State and local standards. That is to say, and I said it earlier, that I strongly believe this is my own personal editorial opinion the Nation needs minimum academic standards in at least math and English in several grades; but I want to understand how your proposal, again, would conform with State and local standards and any tests that are being administered at the State and local level, whether the voluntary national test would be embedded in the State and national test.

Secondly, would your proposal still allow States and local communities to set higher, broader standards and administer their own test based on those standards?

Secretary Riley. Well, I think, first of all, you have to fall back again and realize these are very basic subjects; and so every State we would hope would end up having high and challenging standards.

Then the idea of reading and doing math, basic math, including algebra, every State I presume all 50 States would be into that in terms of standards, preparing children for those subjects. Because no one can be well educated without them. That is just a fact.

What is given now in State tests, and you mentioned Virginia and other States, a lot of testing is done. It is my view, my feeling, that this those State tests, though, cannot compare even the State with the national or international measure; and that is extremely important.

Because that is what this chart shows. It might not be true in Virginia, but in many, many States it is miles apart, what is proficient nationally and what is considered proficient in the State. So the State test shows certain things, but for these basic skills it doesn't show that. So we think that a State, then, when they realize that this test is very usable, we think, as I said earlier, they would be able to back off on a couple of their tests and probably save some testing to take place.

I think, until we get this country really into the idea of reaching high standards and moving upward in standards, that you have to have a certain amount of accountability; and that is what testing is.

Chairman Riggs. Do you worry at all and I know you point, obviously, to the NAEP results and cite that as evidence that, at least with respect to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, these national performance-based assessment are more stringent than the tests

Secretary Riley. In all cases except Delaware.

Chairman Riggs. but do you worry that this proposal could have the inadvertent effect of causing those States that have set rigorous standards again, let's use Virginia as an example-- to lower the bar?

Secretary Riley. Well, I don't see how it possibly could. Because, of course, if it does, NAEP would be showing that already, if you see what I mean.

NAEP is really what measures Virginia's ability to teach and learn, in terms of reading and math. This would be different. It wouldn't necessarily add to that, if you see what I mean, that is already out there.

NAEP is very challenging, and I think that is why we give these examples for people to see. It is not a done down kind of test. It is a very challenging test. And if every State rose to that level, we would be very well served in this country. Some States, in some areas, might go over it; and that is wonderful. But you are not going to see that happen much because it is a very high-challenging, world-class kind of standard.

Chairman Riggs. Let me get to my questions on the specifics of your proposal. Do you plan to include or exempt students who are not proficient in English or who are limited English proficient? And do you plan to include or exempt children with developmental and/or learning disabilities?

Secretary Riley. Yes, and Dr. Smith and might want to elaborate on that.

Chairman Riggs. Yes, because I phrased it that way.

Secretary Riley. But the answer is yes.

Chairman Riggs. Yes, that you plan to include them.

Secretary Riley. We plan for a young child who has, say, just come to this country and who does not speak English well enough to be given a fair test, there would be room for the local people to exclude them.

Chairman Riggs. I would like to hear, if you don't mind, Mr. Smith respond on this point.

Mr. Smith. On the limited English-speaking children, there will be an advisory panel on this, an expert panel, but the general thinking right now is if the child had 3 years of instruction in English, they should be able to take the fourth grade reading test. We are also going to translate the math test into Spanish so a child who has just come to the United States and speaks only Spanish can take the math test. And we are going to, in terms of disabilities, for the first round, and, hopefully, we will do more than this, but we are going to at least have provisions for lengthening the test in terms of time.

We will have provisions with large block print, and other strategies for helping children who don't see very well and a Braille test as well, and we are going to try to make this as inclusive as possible and try to make this, in fact, a standard for other tests to achieve to. We may not reach the standards in 1999, but we are going to improve it as we go over time.

Chairman Riggs. So you see the test as actually sort of a bootstrapping improvement.

Mr. Smith. Yes.

Chairman Riggs. By the way, Mr. Secretary, I think that those first year results would be very helpful. I think that snapshot is very helpful, although I certainly take your points that the more important aspects of the tests, I guess, is what they can tell us over the long-term, that longitudinal perspective on educational quality and improvement in America.

Will students taking the national test and teachers and principals have to fill out questionnaires as is currently done for NAEP? And if so, what information will be sought and how will it be used? In other words, are you going to compile any kind of demographic background information on the students who are actually taking the tests?

Secretary Riley. We are not going to compile any of that. This test, I mean, it goes back to how the test will, in fact, be administered. We are going to license the test to States that would like it and to national publishers who would like it and to some school districts that actually give out tests, so the tests themselves will be integrated into the entire testing battery that, let's say, McGraw-Hill puts out or the State of Delaware or the State of Michigan or whatever.

At that point, they would be it would be possible for them to link back a questionnaire that they may want to have given to students to the test score, and that is quite possible. They obviously have to get identifying information about the student and the school and so on, so that the student and parents can get feedback for the test, but they may go further. We are not going to ask they go any further. We are not going to specify any other kinds of questions, other than questions in math and reading for them to ask.

Chairman Riggs. Doesn't the Department, as sort of a national clearinghouse for ideas and innovation in education today, doesn't it have to compile some sort of data from these tests? Aren't you going to want some sort of aggregate data to guide you as two of the most influential policy decision makers in the country.

Secretary Riley. The policy decisions that we would make, and the information we would use, would fall back largely on the NAEP process, which is all students involved in that research. For example, you could have, in terms of this individual test, a State might not choose to take it, and that is entirely possible. That doesn't impede NAEP, if you see what I mean. We still know the national level of history and English and whatever. So policymakers rely heavily on NAEP.

This test really goes to the policymaker, which primarily is the parents, and the parents and the teacher and the child, but it goes tremendously to really help the child, but the question you asked, I think primarily the current NAEP process, properly used, is a wonderful tool for policy making that you and I use right now.

Chairman Riggs. Mr. Secretary, we may want to talk about this later, because I have got to believe that this information on an aggregate basis, this nationwide perspective would be useful to you and the Department. I understand your concerns about compiling aggregate data, but I think perhaps this is one subject we ought to leave open for further discussion.

In the request for proposal for developing the test, you state that OMB will review the cognitive items on them. Could you explain OMB's particular expertise in this area, and doesn't OMB approval of specific items for this test mean more Federalization, perhaps, than you might otherwise intend.

Mr. Smith. It is standard practice. I don't know that OMB has any particular expertise in reviewing cognitive items or any other items.

Chairman Riggs. You are

Mr. Smith. I will strike that last remark. But it is standard practice for OMB to look at any material that the Federal Government produces under contract and other procedures, particularly in the area it has given to large numbers of individuals, so that it goes to a couple of the questions that were asked, in fact, so it wouldn't be demeaning to anybody, so it wouldn't have, from their perspective, any kind of bias in it. There are, of course, also other checks on the bias. They do not approve, they only review, but their review is standard practice.

Chairman Riggs. But the bottom line is you have to have their sign-off to put the RFP out.

Mr. Smith. Well, we had their sign-off to put out the RFP, that is right, but as I was just informed, we don't have to have their sign-off on the test itself.

Chairman Riggs. Okay. Okay. Would the fourth and eighth graders who take the NAEP reading and math test also be expected to take the new national reading and math test in those States and in those local school districts that choose to voluntarily administer these tests? In other words, in those States and local school districts voluntarily administering the test, the new national test, would those young people also still be expected to take the NAEP, if they were included in the NAEP sample?

Secretary Riley. Yes, but that is very few of the sample.

Mr. Smith. It is a good question, though, because there are certain, in the State it is given, there are certain schools, there is a pretty high probability that schools will be included in the sample because of its particular characteristics and it is something that concerns us a little bit. It only affects a small number of schools, but it is important to those schools and we are going to try to establish it so that the timing is right and it doesn't interfere with their kind of work and their school work.

Chairman Riggs. I think you may have touched on this, Mr. Secretary, in your testimony, but I would like you to elaborate on the relationship you envision with NAGB regarding these tests and do you see an ultimate role, perhaps, for NAGB in coordinating with the States and local school districts on the administration of these tests.

Secretary Riley. That could be developed over time. That certainly is one of the options of how we can move with the test. We have, of course, NAGB, which would be very much involved in the process, because the entire testing itself would be taken from the NAEP, which, of course, is under NAGB. So they are very much involved. They are really more in terms of the test itself, much more involved than we are.

Chairman Riggs. How many States now base their curriculum?

Secretary Riley. Let Dr. Smith say one thing.

Mr. Smith. Congressman, I would like to change that just in a small way. They have been involved in the past in setting up the frameworks for the NAEP. They are not involved directly in this test itself. The Secretary was referring to the past involvement.

Chairman Riggs. I appreciate that, Dr. Smith, and I understood that, but I guess my question was more to, if you see, I know a long-term role for NAGB, again, is coordinating with State and local school districts and I think the Secretary responded to that. I think we have heard today that there is obviously a lot of educators and school boards, general public, who are only vaguely familiar with the NAEP test, and I am wondering, how many States now base their curriculum or their own reading and math frameworks on the NAEP, and how many school districts have adopted the in other words, NAEP standards and NAEP framework. Do you have any idea?

Mr. Smith. I don't know of any that have directly adopted the NAEP standards in their framework. However, in mathematics, NAEP, as most States, base their frameworks on the National Teachers of Mathematics Content standards, so there is a content framework behind the development of the State frameworks and of the NAEP framework in this case.

I also think that the NAEP content standards have been reading out there for quite a while that have been changed a little bit in the last couple years, but their being out there, having been out there for the last 7 or 8 years, influenced a lot of State efforts in developing their own reading framework.

So you have a common set of understandings in both the areas, in both the reading and the math areas that I think pervades it. So there is a very close relationship, I think, between the NAEP framework itself and a lot of different State frameworks.

Chairman Riggs. Dr. Smith, you say 43 States are now participating in the NAEP.

Mr. Smith. That is right.

Chairman Riggs. Why are the other seven not?

Secretary Riley. Well, it costs them something and some of them don't want to be in the mix. For example, I know my State, in the first year, they had the opportunities to have State information, didn't choose to come in, I was I always regretted that, and wasn't in control of that decision, but the reason was we had a major hurricane and the State was all disrupted and the superintendent, for good cause, thought it would be a skewed number, and so they chose not to do it, then they came in the next round, so, I mean, the States have that authority to make those decisions.

Chairman Riggs. I am just curious, the seven who are not participating in NAEP, are they all receiving Goals 2000 funding?

Secretary Riley. Every State is.

Chairman Riggs. All 50 are now.

Secretary Riley. And even though they don't take State NAEP data, they are still a part of the national NAEP information, that is the thing about it. I mean, if a State says we don't want separate State data, they still are part of the Nation's data, but they don't choose not to have separate State information.

Chairman Riggs. I find that sort of a curious philosophy, but what is the relationship of the new test, the proposed test to the State standards and assessment, mentioned in Goals 2000?

Mr. Smith. There is certainly no legal relationship. You begin to get at that same question looked at in another way; that is, do the NAEP frameworks look like the NAEP frameworks or do the NAEP content standards look like the contents standards States have adopted? I think that is a very important question because we don't want a difference to be between what we are measuring in math and what the content standards would be in math in a given State, in California and in other places.

And as I said, the selection of the NAEP content standards was based on the argument that NTCN influenced them greatly and influenced the California standards and lots of other State standards, so that is a fairly common understanding about the nature of math, and particularly, at the eighth grade, what students should be taking if they are going to seed well.

Same thing is true really with reading. By fourth grade, you have an end point. It is an outcome, rather than a process, in effect, that people are going through, so that by fourth grade, the standards in many States reflect how well the students are achieving, not the process of getting there, not the emphasis on findings or on whole language or something else and we have tried to stay away from that, which is why we have chosen the fourth grade, which is the end of the process of learning to read, not during it.

Chairman Riggs. As a fellow Californian, you anticipated one of my other questions. I will move on. Let me ask kind of a hypothetical question now. Is it fair to ask a student attending a school, say, in Mill Valley, California, Marin County, California, to know the same thing as a student from Wise, Virginia? I don't know why we picked, Wise, Virginia, but obviously Mill County is not very far from Silicon Valley, as you know, Mr. Secretary, and it has access to some of the most sophisticated technology in the country.

Wise, Virginia, on the other hand, is in the Blue Ridge Mountains and is a very poor community. It is likely their involvement and it's likely that in this district, their involvement with technology has been rather limited, yet according to your proposal, for voluntary national tests, we are going to compare these areas and essentially their schools and students side by side, and I think we can all probably guess, at least today, which school district would fare better in that comparison.

How do you respond to this concern which goes back to the question that Chairman Goodling proposed at the outset of the hearing?

Secretary Riley. First of all, I think the comparison is very legitimate. We are talking about reading and we are talking about mathematics and there is certainly no reason in the world for any student going through our school systems in this country to think that a child should read in a substandard way in a poor or heavily industrial downtown area or a very rural area, or a sophisticated area. Reading should be a mastery of that basic, should be something that all of us should seek in every single school district, every school, every classroom.

With the connection of the Internet, with each classroom, which is, as you know, we are all working towards, California included, by the year 2000, it is then entirely possible, of course, for every school district to have access to the same kind of rich information and material and knowledge for every other school, and classroom in the country. So I think technology, itself, if we handle it in a fair way, and I think we are heading in that direction, then I think it can cause, especially for something like reading and math to have a very equal opportunity for young people.

Chairman Riggs. Well, I certainly agree that fourth grade, as I say, reading is fundamental. I don't know that I have the same opinion with respect to being able to make a true and fair comparison between these two hypothetical school districts on the eighth grade math test.

Secretary Riley. I don't disagree with you at all, that is almost obvious, but I tell you, it says something, and it says to all of us, you know, this kid should be able to read well in the fourth grade, just like this kid, and I think that some of the questions that were raised throughout this discussion come to the front, but it is good information, it is fair information, and certainly keeping that in the dark is of no help to anyone.

Chairman Riggs. I agree, Mr. Secretary. What do you anticipate the consequences might be for a State or a school district, that doesn't measure up, whose students compare unfavorably or don't fare well on the tests?

Secretary Riley. I think that parents and citizens read in the paper the data about how well their State is doing and their school district and their country in relation to other countries or whatever and that is very interesting to them, but it doesn't bring it to the dining room table. This takes that kind of information, and it brings it home, and it says to every parent, this is how well your child is doing. That, in my judgment, would be the motivating factor to really mobilizing people in a good way, in a positive way, to make sure something is done to improve the situation and in many cases, it is the parents themselves that need to improve their own activity with their children.

Chairman Riggs. Do you think that these test results should be used by State and local policy decision makers to intercede directly with poor performing school districts to take some sort of administrative action, whether it is decertifying or taking away accreditation or placing a school district, I guess, in the extreme situation, under some sort of guardianship?

Secretary Riley. That is purely up to them, and that is the way we think it should be.

Chairman Riggs. But you see no prohibition on State or local education agencies being able to use this national testing data in that fashion.

Secretary Riley. I don't.

Mr. Smith. The only caveat I would have is we expect this test to meet the same standards, the same testing standards, psychometric standards that any test that is used now would meet, and, clearly, tests have to meet those standards in order to be used for high stakes purposes, whether it is for children or for teachers, in some cases, or principals, so that, you know, there is no prohibition against them out using it. The only caveat would be they have to make sure this test does meet those kinds of standards and we believe it will.

Chairman Riggs. I am very interested in this whole subject of consequences. We had a field hearing in Mr. Castle's district and we heard about the arduous experience of Delaware in developing State standards over a 3-year period, I believe it was, and in fact, one of our witnesses described those as being one of the most contentious meetings she had ever participated in, the meetings developing State-wide math standards.

Speaking of consequences, would you support some form of private school choice in under-performing schools based on the President's or the administration's voluntary national test?

Secretary Riley. No, sir. You are talking about the voucher process, if a school is under-performing or not performing well, then to shifting funds to the private school.

Chairman Riggs. That is correct.

Secretary Riley. No, sir, I think that would be harmful and demeaning to the public school itself and it doesn't correct the problem. If you have a non-performing school, a school that is not performing well, what we say, that is, oh, those are State and local decisions. What I did in my State was to close them down, and you do that with proper State policy and with proper time and help and so forth, but if you have a non-performing school, that school, in my judgment, local people ought to decide to close it down.

Now, if you have funds shifting from a poor school, often poor, really poorly performing, but poor, too, to private schools, you don't do anything but demean what is happening there and make it worst. And you might say, well, it helps this kid who is over here, maybe or maybe not. It depends on the private school. It could be a very good one or a very poor one, but there are no standards for that at all, except within the private school, there is no governmental safeguards.

So you have that kind of a mixed up situation, and, frankly, I strongly believe, and you have heard me say before, strong, competent, private and parochial schools, I think having them in the mix is very good, and this makes them less private and less parochial if you shift public dollars into the private and parochial schools, not to mention the constitutional problem of Church and State.

Chairman Riggs. Well, I might argue, Mr. Secretary, that it would be very interesting, since the concern is obviously that individual child to see what would happen if that student did have access to a private school through a voucher, or some form of educational choice, scholarship, whatever you want to call it, and whether that, in fact, led to any improvement in that student's performance on the same test in subsequent years, later grades. But, again, we can hold that question open also for another day.

My last question is, as you well know, you in the administration have put forward a very ambitious agenda for educational reform and improvement. You call it the National Crusade for Education. I believe eight of the ten initiatives fall under the jurisdiction of this Subcommittee, and I would like to get some sense, because you, as you recognize, there are only so many days in the legislative session, as you would know from your experience as a State legislature and Governor, where this fits in the overall scheme of things. If you can give me some sense as to your priorities, administration's priorities for education, at least with respect to the initiatives that fall under the jurisdiction of this Subcommittee.

Secretary Riley. Well, and I think as a policymaker, priorities are very important to you and by chairing this committee, that certainly is a very legitimate question. I would have to say that the new programs or proposals that we have made that are before this committee, the new ones, I think, the reading proposal and the construction proposal, and the testing proposal, which would come to you through NAEP and NAGB and others later as we move through the process. I would say they all work with each other and that it would be impossible for me to say one is a priority over another and I understand your desire to have that, but I don't think I could say anyone has a priority over the other.

If you have a school building that is leaking and falling down, you can have the finest standards in the world, the finest test for basic skills or whatever and that is the most important thing to that child and that teacher, and so you really, it is awfully hard for us to pick and choose one above the other, but we think that it is an interesting combination of things that all fit together.

Chairman Riggs. Well, that is helpful, Mr. Secretary, to me and my colleagues and Subcommittee staff. As you well know, we are working on pretty important unfinished business from the last Congress, specifically the reauthorization of IDEA.

I want to acknowledge and thank you and the wonderful members of your staff for the good work that has been done there. We have been proceeding on a bipartisan and bicameral basis and a lot of the credit goes to you and Judy Human. I hope we are close to a proposal that can pass Congress swiftly and move to the President and then we have the Perkins Vocational Act. I know there is a lot of tension in the debate now on higher education, specifically the President's proposal for the 13th and 14th year of education. But I don't want to let that cause us to overlook the needs of the great majority of our people who are not college bound because it is my personal feeling we have to expand vocational and technical opportunities for those young people. And I am very interested in programs that combine strong academics, such as we discussed today, with more tactical education and learning and vocational and technical skills.

So Secretary Smith, thank you both for being here today. We appreciate your testimony and look forward to working with you on the very important business of educating our kids, which, again, as I said, at the outset, should be, in my view, a very much a bipartisan undertaking of this Congress and the administration. With that, thank you.

Secretary Riley. Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman, I hope that is true, too.

Chairman Riggs. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. With that, the Subcommittee on Early Childhood Youth and Families stands adjourned.

[Whereupon, at 12:31 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]