$330 million for new academic tests to consortiums

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In a drive to replace the country's patchwork system of academic tests with new national exams, the U.S. Department of Education has awarded about $330 million to two consortium representing 44 states, including Missouri and Kansas, and the District of Columbia to develop exams based on voluntary national academic standards in language arts and mathematics.

The efforts are being directed in this direction to enhance student achievement nationwide. Presently, every state is facilitating a different test to its students. One consortium, a Florida-led group of 26 states, will receive $170 million from the Education Department. Another $160 million grant will go to a Washington state-led group of 31 states. The U.S. Education Department said the assessments will be ready for use by the 2014-15 school year.

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