The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced fifteen grants totaling $19.5 million to support the development and testing of prototype classroom assessment and instructional tools to help educators better prepare all students for success beyond high school.
In both math and literacy, the foundation is working to support the creation of different forms of assessment and support materials for teachers, districts, and states. The tools will be aligned with college- and career-ready standards for math and literacy that are being developed by forty-eight states in coordination with the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The standards are expected to provide clear and consistent guidelines for teachers, school leaders, and parents on what students need to know at each grade level to be prepared for and excel at college-level work. Once the research is completed and the materials validated, the foundation will work with its partners to refine the assessments and make them universally available.
Grant recipients include the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) at the University of California, Los Angeles ($4.3 million over three years), the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education ($3.6 million over two years), and the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin ($1.2 million over two years). In addition, math assessments will be piloted in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina; Hamilton County, Tennessee; New York City; and six Kentucky school districts working with the state's Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.
"Providing teachers with the resources and support they need to teach creatively and effectively is the next step," said Vicki L. Phillips, director of the Gates Foundation's education program. "Innovative and well-designed classroom assessments will provide vital feedback to help teachers target their instruction and prepare all students for success beyond high school."
For a complete list of grantees, visit the Gates Foundation Web site.