Competitive Grants for State Assessments Competition: Key Information and Dates

The Department of Education this week released the notice inviting applications for the new Competitive Grants for State Assessments (CGSA) program. The purpose of this program is to enhance the quality of assessment instruments and assessment systems used by States for measuring the academic achievement of elementary and secondary school students. It is authorized by section 1203(b)(1) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA). Applications are due March 29, 2019.

The purpose of the program as articulated in the statutory priorities is to enable State educational agencies (SEAs) to:

  1. Developing or improving assessments for English learners, including assessments of English language proficiency as required under ESEA section 1111(b)(2)(G) and academic assessments in languages other than English to meet the State’s obligations under ESEA section 1111(b)(2)(F).
  2. Developing or improving models to measure and assess student progress or student growth on State assessments under ESEA section 1111(b)(2) and other assessments not required under ESEA section 1111(b)(2).
  3. Developing or improving assessments for children with disabilities, including alternate assessments aligned to alternate academic achievement standards for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities described in ESEA section 1111(b)(2)(D), and using the principles of universal design for learning.
  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 ESEA section 1111(b)(2).
  5. Measuring student academic achievement using multiple measures of student academic achievement from multiple sources.
  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.

An applicant for CGSA funds must address one or more of these statutory priorities to be eligible for an award.

The competition includes two invitational priorities. These invitational priorities are:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Please take the time to review the applicable priorities, selection criteria, and all of the application instructions thoroughly. An application will not be evaluated for funding if the applicant does not comply with all of the procedural rules that govern the submission of the application or the application does not contain the information required under the program.

Please visit our program website at for further information. If you have any questions about the program after reviewing the application package, please contact Donald Peasley at or Denise Joseph at Please share this information with your colleagues.