Frequently Asked Questions
Updated March 2019
Competition in 2019 for FY 2019 Funds
These frequently asked questions (FAQs) are designed to provide applicants for funding from the Competitive Grants for State Assessments (CGSA) program with information about the competition for funding. The FAQs are organized into the following six sections:
- Overview of the CGSA Program and the 2019 Competition
- Absolute Priorities, Invitational Priorities, and Selection Criteria
- Requirements, Definitions, Procurement, and Other Topics
- The Application Process
- Managing a Grant and Establishing a Consortium
Section A – Overview of the CGSA Program and the 2019 Competition
- FAQ for Competition in FY 2019 PDF (138K)
- The U.S. Department of Education (ED) will make CGSA grant awards to States to support the development or enhancement of assessment instruments, assessment research, or tools that support the administration of assessment instruments. Section 1203(b)(1) of the ESEA, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA), authorizes the CGSA program.
- On January 28, 2019, ED published in the Federal Register a notice inviting applications (NIA) for the FY 2019 CGSA competition (https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2019-00217). The NIA includes the program authority, the specific priorities, and the selection criteria that apply to this competition. The NIA also includes due date and instructions on how to obtain an application package.
- ED will consider only applications that meet one or more of the six announced absolute 2 priorities. These absolute priorities are from section 1203(b)(1) of the ESEA. The 2019 CGSA competition also includes two invitational priorities that are from the Secretary’s Final Supplemental Priorities and Definitions for Discretionary Grant Programs (Supplemental Priorities) published in the Federal Register on March 2, 2018 (83 FR 9096).
- The absolute and invitational priorities are:
- Absolute Priority 1: Developing or improving State academic assessments for English learners, including assessments of English language proficiency as required under section 1111(b)(2)(G) of the ESEA and academic assessments in languages other than English to meet the State’s obligations under section 1111(b)(2)(F) of the ESEA.
- Absolute Priority 2: Developing or improving models to measure and assess student progress or student growth on State academic assessments under section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA and other assessments not required under section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA.
- Absolute Priority 3: Developing or improving State academic assessments for children with disabilities, including alternate assessments aligned to alternate academic achievement standards for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities described in section 1111(b)(2)(D) of the ESEA, and using the principles of universal design for learning.
- Absolute Priority 4: Allowing for collaboration with institutions of higher education, other research institutions, or other organizations to improve the quality, validity, and reliability of State academic assessments beyond the requirements for such assessments described in section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA.
- Absolute Priority 5: Measuring student academic achievement using multiple measures of student academic achievement from multiple sources.
- Absolute Priority 6: Evaluating student academic achievement through the development of comprehensive academic assessment instruments (such as performance and technology-based academic assessments, computer adaptive assessments, projects, or extended performance task assessments) that emphasize the mastery of standards and aligned competencies in a competency-based education model.
- Invitational priorities signal areas of particular interest to ED; applicants may choose to address one or both invitational priorities; however, applicants who meet an invitational priority do not earn extra points and are not given a competitive or absolute preference over other applicants.
- Invitational Priority 1: Promoting Literacy. Projects that are designed to address facilitating the accurate and timely use of data by educators to improve reading instruction and make informed decisions about how to help children or students build literacy skills while protecting student and family privacy.
- Invitational Priority 2: Promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM) Education, With a Particular Focus on Computer Science. Projects designed to improve student achievement or other educational outcomes in one or more of the following areas: science, technology, engineering, math, or computer science (as defined in the NIA).
- The CGSA is a competitive grant program for States and consortia of States designed to enhance State academic assessments and assessment systems. An essential part of educating students involves assessing students’ progress toward meeting the high academic standards students need to be ready for college and the workplace. Assessments provide necessary information for States, districts, educators, families, the public, and students themselves to measure progress and improve outcomes for all learners. It is important to continuously improve and innovate to ensure that these assessments are fair, of high quality and not duplicative, and reflect the expectation that students will be prepared for success in college and careers.
- Proficiency on State assessments required under Title I, Part A, of the ESEA is the primary indicator in the ESEA of student academic achievement and, hence, the primary measure of State success in meeting the goals of ESEA. In view of the critical importance of these State assessments, section 1201 of the ESEA provides formula grants to all State educational agencies (SEAs), and section 1203 authorizes the Secretary to make competitive grant awards to SEAs to help them enhance the quality of assessment and accountability systems.
- An eligible applicant under this program must propose activities that meet one or more of the absolute priorities listed above in FAQ A2
|State||Minimum Award Amount||State||Minimum Award Amount||State||Minimum Award Amount|
|DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA||$26,082||MONTANA||$54,360||VERMONT||$28,490|
|HAWAII||$70,784||NEW HAMPSHIRE||$31,889||WEST VIRGINIA||$89,036|
|INDIANA||$378,232||NEW YORK||$981,526||PUERTO RICO||$167,028|
FAQ’s Prior to 2019
- Competition in 2013 for FY 2012 Funds MS WORD (136K)
- Note: Update to FAQ #A6 made on June 14, 2013