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Consortium Urges 'Shared Vision' In Providing Services to Children

To avoid passing "like ships in the night," human-service and education agencies should establish a "shared vision" that involves all key players, sets realistic goals, and promotes partnerships to institutionalize reforms, a new report on interagency linkages concludes.

The report, published by a consortium of 22 national human-service and education organizations, argues that progress toward serving large numbers of children and families comprehensively is possible "only when communities move beyond cooperation to genuinely collaborative ventures" in both service delivery and system reform.

Such partnerships should offer easy access to prevention, treatment, and support services; empower and address needs of the whole family; adjust services to meet6changing needs; and highlight outcomes, the report says.

The document identifies factors critical to successful partnerships, describes promising interagency initiatives, and offers guidelines for practitioners.

The report is the second on interagency linkages published by the consortium, which includes such groups as the National Governors' Association, the American Public Welfare Association, the Children's Defense Fund, and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The first report explored the potential for collaboration under the new federal welfare-reform law, and a third slated for this spring will address questions on collaboration by state and local policymakers.

Copies of the report, "What it Takes: Structuring Interagency Partnerships to Connect Children and Families with Comprehensive Services," are available for $3 each from the Education and Human Services Consortium, c/o the Institute for Educational Leadership, 1001 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 310, Washington, D.C. 20036-5541.

Nearly 4,000 high-school students who took the College Board's biology achievement test last June have had their grades revised as a result of a scoring error.

About 3,900 of some 27,000 students who took the test received the revised scores after experts identified a second correct answer to one of the questions during a routine review of the test.

Affected students' scores were increased by 10 to 20 points, officials said.

The question asked students to identify a special layer of cells near the point of attachment of a leaf to a shoot. The correct answer to the question was intended to be the leaf scar. But during the test review, some botany experts noted that, given the diagram included with the question, such a layer could have been expected at other sites.

Achievement-test score revisions are extremely rare, according to Janice Gams, associate director for public affairs at the College Board.

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