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Title of Law:Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act of 1998
Law #:Public Law 105- 78
Passed by Congress:105th Congress (1st Session)

The following are excerpts, highlighted in red, from the final legislation and/or conference report which contain National Academies’ studies. (Pound signs [##] between passages denote the deletion of unrelated text.)

HR2264 Porter (R-IL) 11/08/97
Enrolled (finally passed both houses)

Making appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1998, and for other purposes.
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COMPREHENSIVE INDEPENDENT STUDY OF NIH RESEARCH PRIORITY SETTING

SEC. 213. (a) STUDY BY THE INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE.--Not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall enter into a contract with the Institute of Medicine to conduct a comprehensive study of the policies and process used by the National Institutes of Health to determine funding allocations for biomedical research.

(b) MATTERS TO BE ASSESSED.--The study under subsection (a) shall assess--

(1) the factors or criteria used by the National Institutes of Health to determine funding allocations for disease research;

(2) the process by which research funding decisions are made;

(3) the mechanisms for public input into the priority setting process; and

(4) the impact of statutory directives on research funding decisions.

(c) REPORT.--

(1) IN GENERAL.--Not later than 6 months after the date on which the Secretary of Health and Human Services enters into the contract under subsection (a), the Institute of Medicine shall submit a report concerning the study to the Committee on Labor and Human Resources and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate, and the Committee on Commerce and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives.

(2) REQUIREMENT.--The report under paragraph (1) shall set forth the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the Institute of Medicine for improvements in the National Institutes of Health research funding policies and processes and for any necessary congressional action.

This title may be cited as the "Department of Health and Human Services Appropriations Act, 1998".

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(TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

SEC. 305. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of Federal law, no funds provided to the Department of Education or to an applicable program (as defined in section 400(c)(1) of the General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C. 1221(c)(1))), in this Act or in any other Act in fiscal year 1998, may be used to field test, pilot test, implement, administer or distribute in any way, any national tests.

(b) EXCEPTION.--Subsection (a) shall not apply to the Third International Math and Science Study or the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

SEC. 306. (a) STUDY.--The National Academy of Sciences, in consultation with the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the White House, the National Assessment Governing Board, and the Congress, shall conduct a feasibility study to determine if an equivalency scale can be developed that would allow test scores from commercially available standardized tests and State assessments to be compared with each other and the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

(b) REPORT OF FINDINGS TO CONGRESS.--(1) The National Academy of Sciences shall submit a written report to the White House, the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Labor and Human Resources of the Senate, and the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate not later than September 1, 1998.

(2) The National Academy of Sciences shall submit an interim report no later than June 15, 1998.

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NATIONAL ASSESSMENT GOVERNING BOARD

SEC. 307 (a). Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the exclusive authority over all policies, direction, and guidelines for developing voluntary national tests pursuant to contract RJ97153001 previously entered into between the Department of Education and the American Institutes for Research and executed on August 15, 1997, shall be vested in the National Assessment Governing Board established under section 412 of the National Education Statistics Act of 1994 (20 U.S.C. 9011); Provided, That within 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Board shall review the national test development contract in effect on the date of enactment of this Act, and modify the contract as the Board determines necessary and not inconsistent with this Act or applicable laws: Provided further, That if the contract cannot be modified to the extent determined necessary by the Board, the contract shall be terminated and the Board shall negotiate a new contract, under the Board's exclusive control, for the tests, not inconsistent with this Act or applicable laws.

(b) In carrying out its exclusive authority for developing voluntary national tests pursuant to contract RJ97153001, any subsequent contract related thereto, or any contract modification pursuant to subsection (a), the National Assessment Governing Board shall determine--

(1) the extent to which test items selected for use on the tests are free from racial, cultural or gender bias;

(2) whether the test development process and test items adequately assess student reading and mathematics comprehension in the form most likely to yield accurate information regarding student achievement in reading and mathematics;

(3) whether the test development process and test items take into account the needs of disadvantaged, limited English proficient and disabled students; and

(4) whether the test development process takes into account how parents, guardians, and students will appropriately be informed about testing content, purpose and uses.

SEC. 308. STUDY.--The National Academy of Sciences shall, not later than September 1, 1998, submit a written report to the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Labor and Human Resources of the Senate, and the Committees on Appropriations of the House and Senate that evaluates all test items developed or funded by the Department of Education or any other agency of the Federal Government pursuant to contract RJ97153001, any subsequent contract related thereto, or any contract modification by the National Assessment Governing Board pursuant to section 307 of this Act, for--

(1) the technical quality of any test items for 4th grade reading and 8th grade mathematics;

(2) the validity, reliability, and adequacy of developed test items;

(3) the validity of any developed design which links test results to student performance;

(4) the degree to which any developed test items provide valid and useful information to the public;

(5) whether the test items are free from racial, cultural, or gender bias;

(6) whether the test items address the needs of disadvantaged, limited English proficient and disabled students; and

(7) whether the test items can be used for tracking, graduation or promotion of students.

SEC. 309. (a) STUDY.--The National Academy of Sciences shall conduct a study and make written recommendations on appropriate methods, practices, and safeguards to ensure that--

(1) existing and new tests that are used to assess student performance are not used in a discriminatory manner or inappropriately for student promotion, tracking or graduation; and

(2) existing and new tests adequately assess student reading and mathematics comprehension in the form most likely to yield accurate information regarding student achievement of reading and mathematics skills.

(b) REPORT TO CONGRESS.--The National Academy of Sciences shall submit a written report to the White House, the National Assessment Governing Board, the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Labor and Human Resources of the Senate, and the Committees on Appropriations of the House and Senate not later than September 1, 1998.

SEC. 310. (a) The Federal Government shall not require any State or local educational agency or school to administer or implement any pilot or field test in any subject or grade, nor shall the Federal Government require any student to take any national test in any subject or grade.

(b) Nothing in section 309(a) shall be construed as affecting the National Assessment of Educational Progress or the Third International Math and Science Study.

SEC. 311. No Federal, State or local educational agency may require any private or parochial school student, or home-schooled individual, to take any pilot or field test developed under this Act, contract RJ97153001, or any contract related thereto, without the written consent of the parents or legal guardians of the student or individual.

SEC. 312. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any institution of higher education which receives funds under title III of the Higher Education Act, except for grants made under section 326, may use up to 20 percent of its award under part A or part B of the Act for endowment building purposes authorized under section 331. Any institution seeking to use part A or part B funds for endowment building purposes shall indicate such intention in its application to the Secretary and shall abide by departmental regulations governing the endowment challenge grant program.

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HRpt 105-205 REPORT To accompany H.R. 2264 DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATION BILL, 1998
House Appropriations
(07/25/97)

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SUBSTANCE ABUSE PREVENTION

Substance abuse prevention knowledge development and application:

The bill provides $151,000,000 for the substance abuse prevention knowledge development and application (KDA) program, the same as the budget request and a decrease of $4,869,000 below the comparable fiscal year 1997 appropriation. In fiscal year 1998, the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) will participate in each of the five designated areas of KDA research. These activities are not authorized in law for fiscal year 1998.

Within the amount appropriated, the Committee has provided sufficient funding to support a contract with the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine or an appropriate Federal agency that conducts research on alcohol abuse or alcoholism for a study of the effects of televised alcohol advertising on youth alcohol consumption.

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POLICY RESEARCH

The bill includes $14,000,000, an increase of $4,486,000 over the amount available in fiscal year 1997 and $5,000,000 over the budget request. The Policy Research account, authorized by section 1110 of the Social Security Act, is the Department's principal source of policy-relevant data and research on the income sources of low-income populations; the impact, effectiveness, and distribution of benefits under existing and proposed programs; and other issues that cut across agency lines.

The Committee has included an increase of $5,000,000 to conduct an objective evaluation of welfare reform outcomes by the National Academy of Sciences.

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FUND FOR THE IMPROVEMENT OF EDUCATION

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The Committee is aware of concerns that have been raised about the President's proposals for voluntary national tests of reading in English at the fourth grade and mathematics at the eighth grade. These concerns include questions about the Administration proceeding with the testing initiative without adequate Congressional oversight and review, concerns that the Administration has not planned sufficient time to develop high quality tests, concerns about the impact of the national tests on standards and accompanying assessments that many states have recently developed, and concerns that not all students will have an equal opportunity to be successful on these tests. Given the fact that United States has never before had national tests that yield results for individual students, the Committee believes that many of these concerns are justified. In order to provide a better base of information on which the Congress can consider this Presidential initiative, the Committee has included bill language requiring the Department of Education to contract with National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study and report to the Committee on the voluntary national testing initiative. The Committee directs that the National Academy of Sciences evaluate:

1. The technical quality of the work performed under the test development contracts, based on an examination of the item specifications, frameworks and test content; linking activities; and contracts for providing the tests to states and school districts;

2. The adequacy of the administration of the field tests, based on the contractors' administration plans and observation of selected field test administrations;

3. The validity and reliability of the data produced by the field tests, based on examination and analysis of the contractors' validity studies;

4. The reasonableness and validity of the contractors' design for linking test results to student performance levels, based on data from the field tests; and

5. The degree to which the tests can be expected to provide valid and useful information to the public.

The Committee also would like the study to suggest other options to provide national comparisons of achievement in reading in English at the fourth grade and mathematics at the eighth grade based on existing achievement tests or other appropriate assessment tools.

The Committee has included bill language directing that a preliminary report be completed by no later than June 30, 1998 and a final report by August 31, 1998, and prohibiting the administration of the tests on a national basis until the final report is completed. The Committee directs the Secretary of Education to make available information to the National Academy of Sciences as the voluntary testing initiative progresses in order to expedite the National Academy of Sciences review.

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GENERAL PROVISIONS

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Section 306 is a provision requiring the Secretary of Education to make a grant to the National Academy of Sciences to evaluate certain items with respect to the Administration's proposed national educational tests and report its findings to the Appropriations Committee and the Education and the Workforce Committee by August 31, 1998 and providing that the Department of Education shall not implement any final version of the tests until the evaluation and report are completed.

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