A new education group led by former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean on Wednesday proposed a mandatory national achievement test for all high school seniors attending public and private schools.

Educate America, based in Morristown, N.J., made the national exam proposal its first initiative in a campaign to "drive the education policy agenda for the 1990s."Kean, now president of Drew University in Madison, N.J., criticized current assessments of student achievement as inadequate measures of schools' progress in relation to the education goals established by President Bush and the nation's governors.

He said a national test would motivate students and provide a "reliable accountability system for students, schools and states."