Applications for New Awards; Investing in Innovation Fund

Table of Contents

Overview Information

Investing in Innovation Fund

Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2011.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.411B (Validation grants).

Dates:

Applications Available: June 6, 2011.

Deadline for Notice of Intent To Apply: June 23, 2011.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: August 2, 2011.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: October 3, 2011.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose of Program: The Investing in Innovation Fund, established under section 14007 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), provides funding to support (1) Local educational agencies (LEAs), and (2) nonprofit organizations in partnership with (a) one or more LEAs or (b) a consortium of schools. The purpose of this program is to provide competitive grants to applicants with a record of improving student achievement and attainment in order to expand the implementation of, and investment in, innovative practices that are demonstrated to have an impact on improving student achievement or student growth (as defined in this notice), closing achievement gaps, decreasing dropout rates, increasing high school graduation rates, or increasing college enrollment and completion rates.

These grants will (1) Allow eligible entities to expand and develop innovative practices that can serve as models of best practices, (2) allow eligible entities to work in partnership with the private sector and the philanthropic community, and (3) support eligible entities in identifying and documenting best practices that can be shared and taken to scale based on demonstrated success.

Under this program, the Department awards three types of grants: “Scale-up” grants, “Validation” grants, and “Development” grants. Applicants must specify the type of grant they are seeking at the time of application. Among the three grant types, there are differences in terms of the evidence that an applicant is required to submit in support of its proposed project; the expectations for “scaling up” successful projects during or after the grant period, either directly or through partners; and the funding that a successful applicant is eligible to receive. This notice invites applications for Validation grants. Notices inviting applications for Scale-up and Development grants are published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.

Validation grants provide funding to support practices, strategies, orprograms that show promise, but for which there is currently only moderate evidence(as defined in this notice) that the proposed practice, strategy, or program will have a statistically significant effect on improving student achievement or student growth, closing achievement gaps, decreasing dropout rates, increasing high school graduation rates, or increasing college enrollment and completion rates and that, with further study, the effect of implementing the proposed practice, strategy, or program may prove to be substantial and important. Thus, applications for Validation grants do not need to have the same level of research evidence to support the proposed project as is required for Scale-up grants. An applicant may also demonstrate success through an intermediate variable strongly correlated with these outcomes, such as teacher or principal effectiveness.

An applicant for a Validation grant must estimate the number of students to be reached by the proposed project and provide evidence of its capacity to reach the proposed number of students during the course of the grant. In addition, an applicant for a Validation grant must provide evidence of its capacity (e.g., qualified personnel, financial resources, management capacity) to scale up to a State or regional level, working directly or through partners either during or following the grant period. We recognize that LEAs are not typically responsible for taking to scale their practices, strategies, or programs in other LEAs and States. However, all applicants, including LEAs, can and should partner with others to disseminate and take to scale their effective practice, strategy, and program.

The Department will screen applications that are submitted for Validation grants in accordance with the requirements in this notice, and determine which applications have met the eligibility and other requirements in the notice of final priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria for this program, published in the Federal Register on March 12, 2010 (75 FR 12004-12071) (2010 i3 NFP). Peer reviewers will review all eligible Validation grant applications. However, if the Department determines that an application for a Validation grant does not meet the definition of moderate evidence in this notice, or any other eligibility requirement, the Department will not consider the application for funding.

Finally, we remind LEAs that participate in submitting an i3 application of the continuing applicability of the provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to students who may be served under these awards. Programs proposed in applications in which LEAs participate must be consistent with the rights, protections, and processes of IDEA for students who are receiving special education and related services or are being evaluated for such services. As described later in this notice, in connection with making competitive grant awards, an applicant is required, as a condition of receiving assistance under this program, to make civil rights assurances, including an assurance that its program or activity will comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Department's Section 504 implementing regulations, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. Regardless of whether students with disabilities are specifically targeted as “high-need” students under a particular application for a grant program, recipients are required to comply with the nondiscrimination requirements of these laws. Among other things, the nondiscrimination requirements of these laws include an obligation that recipients ensure that students with disabilities are not discriminated against because benefits provided to all students under the recipient's program are inaccessible to students because of their disability. The Department also enforces Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title II implementing regulations, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability by public entities, with respect to certain public educational entities.

Priorities: This competition includes five absolute priorities and five competitive preference priorities that are explained in the following paragraphs. [1] These priorities are from the 2010 i3 NFP and from the notice of final supplemental priorities and definitions for discretionary grant programs, published in the Federal Register on December 15, 2010 (75 FR 78486-78511) (Supplemental Priorities).

Note on removing Absolute Priority 2—Innovations That Improve the Use of Data: For this year's competition, the Secretary chooses not to use the priority Innovations That Improve the Use of Data(Absolute Priority 2 in the 2010 i3 NFP). This action is not intended to discourage applicants from proposing projects that improve the use of data, so long as the proposal addresses one of the absolute priorities in this notice. Specifically, proposed projects that address Absolute Priority 1—Innovations That Support Effective Teachers and Principals, Absolute Priority 3—Innovations That Complement the Implementation of High Standards and High-Quality Assessments, and Absolute Priority 4—Innovations That Turn Around Persistently Low-Performing Schools may also include using data in innovative ways to support the broader aims of the absolute priorities. The Secretary recognizes the importance of data collection, analysis, and use, and believes that focusing on these strategies in the context of the remaining absolute priorities meets the goals of the Investing in Innovation program and the overall education reform goals of ARRA.

Absolute Priorities: For FY 2011 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition, these priorities are absolute priorities. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3) we consider only applications that meet one of these priorities. Under this competition for Validation grants, each of the five absolute priorities constitutes its own funding category. The Secretary intends to award grants under each absolute priority for which applications of sufficient quality are submitted.

An applicant for a Validation grant must choose one of the five absolute priorities contained in this notice and address that priority in its application. An applicant must provide information on how its proposed project addresses the selection criteria in the project narrative section of its application.

These priorities are:

Absolute Priority 1—Innovations That Support Effective Teachers and Principals

Under this priority, the Department provides funding to support practices, strategies, or programs that are designed to increase the number or percentages of teachers or principals who are highly effective teachers or principals or reduce the number or percentages of teachers or principals who are ineffective, especially for teachers of high-need students, by identifying, recruiting, developing, placing, rewarding, and retaining highly effective teachers or principals (or removing ineffective teachers or principals). In such initiatives, teacher or principal effectiveness should be determined through an evaluation system that is rigorous, transparent, and fair; performance should bedifferentiated using multiple rating categories of effectiveness; multiple measures of effectiveness should be taken into account, with data on student growth as a significant factor; and the measures should be designed and developed with teacher and principal involvement. (2010 i3 NFP)

Absolute Priority 2—Promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education.

Under this priority, the Department provides funding to support projects that are designed to address one or more of the following areas:

(a) Providing students with increased access to rigorous and engaging coursework in STEM.

(b) Increasing the number and proportion of students prepared for postsecondary or graduate study and careers in STEM.

(c) Increasing the opportunities for high-quality preparation of, or professional development for, teachers or other educators of STEM subjects.

(d) Increasing the number of individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM, including minorities, individuals with disabilities, and women, who are provided with access to rigorous and engaging coursework in STEM or who are prepared for postsecondary or graduate study and careers in STEM.

(e) Increasing the number of individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM, including minorities, individuals with disabilities, and women, who are teachers or educators of STEM subjects and have increased opportunities for high-quality preparation or professional development. (Supplemental Priorities)

Absolute Priority 3—Innovations That Complement the Implementation of High Standards and High-Quality Assessments

Under this priority, the Department provides funding for practices, strategies, or programs that are designed to support States' efforts to transition to standards and assessments that measure students' progress toward college- and career-readiness, including curricular and instructional practices, strategies, or programs in core academic subjects (as defined in section 9101(11) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA)) that are aligned with high academic content and achievement standards and with high-quality assessments based on those standards. [2] Proposed projects may include, but are not limited to, practices, strategies, or programs that are designed to: (a) Increase the success of under-represented student populations in academically rigorous courses and programs (such as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses; dual-enrollment programs; “early college high schools;” and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses, especially those that incorporate rigorous and relevant project-, inquiry-, or design-based contextual learning opportunities); (b) increase the development and use of formative assessments or interim assessments, or other performance-based tools and “metrics” that are aligned with high student content and academic achievement standards; or (c) translate the standards and information from assessments into classroom practices that meet the needs of all students, including high-need students.

Under this priority, an eligible applicant must propose a project that is based on standards that are at least as rigorous as its State's standards. If the proposed project is based on standards other than those adopted by the eligible applicant's State, the applicant must explain how the standards are aligned with and at least as rigorous as the eligible applicant's State's standards as well as how the standards differ. (2010 i3 NFP)

Absolute Priority 4—Innovations That Turn Around Persistently Low-Performing Schools

Under this priority, the Department provides funding to support strategies, practices, or programs that are designed to turn around schools that are in any of the following categories: (a) Persistently lowest-achieving schools (as defined in the final requirements for the School Improvement Grants program); [3] (b) Title I schools that are in corrective action or restructuring under section 1116 of the ESEA; or (c) secondary schools (both middle and high schools) eligible for but not receiving Title I funds that, if receiving Title I funds, would be in corrective action or restructuring under section 1116 of the ESEA. These schools are referred to as Investing in Innovation Fund Absolute Priority 4 schools.

Proposed projects must include strategies, practices, or programs that are designed to turn around Investing in Innovation Fund Absolute Priority 4 schools through either whole-school reform or targeted approaches to reform. Applicants addressing this priority must focus on either:

(a) Whole-school reform, including, but not limited to, comprehensive interventions to assist, augment, or replace Investing in Innovation Fund Absolute Priority 4 schools, including the school turnaround, restart, closure, and transformation models of intervention supported under the Department's School Improvement Grants program (see Final Requirements for School Improvement Grants as Amended in January 2010 (January 28, 2010) at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/sif/faq.html); or

(b) Targeted approaches to reform, including, but not limited to: (1) Providing more time for students to learn core academic content by expanding or augmenting the school day, school week, or school year, or by increasing instructional time for core academic subjects (as defined in section 9101(11) of the ESEA); (2) integrating “student supports” into the school model to address non-academic barriers to student achievement; or (3) creating multiple pathways for students to earn regular high school diplomas (e.g., by operating schools that serve the needs of over-aged, under-credited, or other students with an exceptional need for support and flexibility pertaining to when they attend school; awarding credit based on demonstrated evidence of student competency; and offering dual-enrollment options). (2010 i3 NFP)

Absolute Priority 5—Improving Achievement and High School Graduation Rates (Rural Local Educational Agencies)

Under this priority, the Department provides funding to support projects that are designed to address accelerating learning and helping to improve highschool graduation rates (as defined in this notice) and college enrollment rates for students in rural local educational agencies (as defined in this notice). (Supplemental Priorities).

Note:

The Secretary encourages applicants that choose to respond to Absolute Priority 5 to also address how their applications meet one of the other Absolute Priorities. In addition, applicants that choose to respond to Absolute Priority 5 should identify in the application and the i3 Applicant Information Sheet all rural LEAs (as defined in this notice) where the project will be implemented, or identify in the application how the applicant will choose any rural LEAs where the project will be implemented, and explain how the proposed innovative practices, strategies, or programs address the unique challenges of high-need students in schools within a rural LEA, resulting in accelerated learning and improved high school graduation and college enrollment rates. Applicants may also provide information on the applicant's experience and skills, or the experience and skills of their partners, in serving high-need students in rural LEAs in responding to Selection Criterion D. Quality of the Management Plan and Personnel.

Competitive Preference Priorities: For FY 2011 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition, these priorities are competitive preference priorities. Applicants may address more than one of the competitive preference priorities; however, the Department will review and award points only for a maximum of two of the competitive preference priorities. Therefore, an applicant must identify in the project narrative section of its application the priority or priorities it wishes the Department to consider for purposes of earning the competitive preference priority points.

Note:

The Department will not review or award points under any competitive preference priority for an application that (1) Fails to clearly identify the competitive preference priorities it wishes the Department to consider for the purposes of earning the competitive preference priority points, or (2) identifies more than two competitive preference priorities.

These priorities are:

Competitive Preference Priority 6—Innovations for Improving Early Learning Outcomes (Zero or One Point)

We give competitive preference to applications for projects that would implement innovative practices, strategies, or programs that are designed to improve educational outcomes for high-need students who are young children (birth through 3rd grade) by enhancing the quality of early learning programs. To meet this priority, applications must focus on (a) Improving young children's school readiness (including social, emotional, and cognitive readiness) so that children are prepared for success in core academic subjects (as defined in section 9101(11) of the ESEA); (b) improving developmental milestones and standards and aligning them with appropriate outcome measures; and (c) improving alignment, collaboration, and transitions between early learning programs that serve children from birth to age three, in preschools, and in kindergarten through third grade. (2010 i3 NFP)

Competitive Preference Priority 7—Innovations That Support College Access and Success (Zero or One Point)

We give competitive preference to applications for projects that would implement innovative practices, strategies, or programs that are designed to enable kindergarten through grade 12 (K-12) students, particularly high school students, to successfully prepare for, enter, and graduate from a two- or four-year college. To meet this priority, applications must include practices, strategies, or programs for K-12 students that (a) Address students' preparedness and expectations related to college; (b) help students understand issues of college affordability and the financial aid and college application processes; and (c) provide support to students from peers and knowledgeable adults. (2010 i3 NFP)

Competitive Preference Priority 8—Innovations To Address the Unique Learning Needs of Students With Disabilities and Limited English Proficient Students (Zero or One Point)

We give competitive preference to applications for projects that would implement innovative practices, strategies, or programs that are designed to address the unique learning needs of students with disabilities, including those who are assessed based on alternate academic achievement standards, or the linguistic and academic needs of limited English proficient students. To meet this priority, applications must provide for the implementation of particular practices, strategies, or programs that are designed to improve academic outcomes, close achievement gaps, and increase college- and career-readiness, including increasing high school graduation rates (as defined in this notice), for students with disabilities or limited English proficient students. (2010 i3 NFP)

Competitive Preference Priority 9—Improving Productivity (Zero or One Point)

We give competitive preference to applications for projects that are designed to significantly increase efficiency in the use of time, staff, money, or other resources while improving student learning or other educational outcomes (i.e., outcome per unit of resource). Such projects may include innovative and sustainable uses of technology, modification of school schedules and teacher compensation systems, use of open educational resources (as defined in this notice), or other strategies. (Supplemental Priorities)

Competitive Preference Priority 10—Technology (Zero or One Point)

We give competitive preference to applications for projects that are designed to improve student achievement [4] or teacher effectiveness through the use of high-quality digital tools or materials, which may include preparing teachers to use the technology to improve instruction, as well as developing, implementing, or evaluating digital tools or materials. (Supplemental Priorities)

Definitions

The Secretary establishes the following definitions for the Investing in Innovation Fund. We may apply these definitions in any year in which this program is in effect.

Note:

This notice invites applications for Validation grants. The following definitions apply to the three types of grants under the i3 program (Scale-up, Validation, or Development). Therefore, some definitions included in this section may be more applicable to applications for Scale-up grants.

Definitions Related to Evidence

Carefully matched comparison group design means a type of quasi-experimental study that attempts to approximate an experimental study. More specifically, it is a design in whichproject participants are matched with non-participants based on key characteristics that are thought to be related to the outcome. These characteristics include, but are not limited to: (1) Prior test scores and other measures of academic achievement (preferably, the same measures that the study will use to evaluate outcomes for the two groups); (2) demographic characteristics, such as age, disability, gender, English proficiency, ethnicity, poverty level, parents' educational attainment, and single- or two-parent family background; (3) the time period in which the two groups are studied (e.g., the two groups are children entering kindergarten in the same year as opposed to sequential years); and (4) methods used to collect outcome data (e.g., the same test of reading skills administered in the same way to both groups).

Experimental study means a study that employs random assignment of, for example, students, teachers, classrooms, schools, or districts to participate in a project being evaluated (treatment group) or not to participate in the project (control group). The effect of the project is the average difference in outcomes between the treatment and control groups.

Independent evaluation means that the evaluation is designed and carried out independent of, but in coordination with, any employees of the entities who develop a practice, strategy, or program and are implementing it. This independence helps ensure the objectivity of an evaluation and prevents even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Interrupted time series design [5] means a type of quasi-experimental study in which the outcome of interest is measured multiple times before and after the treatment for program participants only. If the program had an impact, the outcomes after treatment will have a different slope or level from those before treatment. That is, the series should show an “interruption” of the prior situation at the time when the program was implemented. Adding a comparison group time series, such as schools not participating in the program or schools participating in the program in a different geographic area, substantially increases the reliability of the findings.

Moderate evidence means evidence from previous studies whose designs can support causal conclusions (i.e., studies with high internal validity) but have limited generalizability (i.e., moderate external validity), or studies with high external validity but moderate internal validity. The following would constitute moderate evidence: (1) At least one well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in this notice) experimental or quasi-experimental study (as defined in this notice) supporting the effectiveness of the practice, strategy, or program, with small sample sizes or other conditions of implementation or analysis that limit generalizability; (2) at least one well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in this notice) experimental or quasi-experimental study (as defined in this notice) that does not demonstrate equivalence between the intervention and comparison groups at program entry but that has no other major flaws related to internal validity; or (3) correlational research with strong statistical controls for selection bias and for discerning the influence of internal factors.

Quasi-experimental study means an evaluation design that attempts to approximate an experimental design and can support causal conclusions (i.e., minimizes threats to internal validity, such as selection bias, or allows them to be modeled). Well-designed quasi-experimental studies include carefully matched comparison group designs (as defined in this notice), interrupted time series designs (as defined in this notice), or regression discontinuity designs (as defined in this notice).

Regression discontinuity design study means, in part, a quasi-experimental study design that closely approximates an experimental study. In a regression discontinuity design, participants are assigned to a treatment or comparison group based on a numerical rating or score of a variable unrelated to the treatment such as the rating of an application for funding. Another example would be assignment of eligible students, teachers, classrooms, or schools above a certain score (“cut score”) to the treatment group and assignment of those below the score to the comparison group.

Strong evidence means evidence from previous studies whose designs can support causal conclusions (i.e., studies with high internal validity), and studies that in total include enough of the range of participants and settings to support scaling up to the State, regional, or national level (i.e., studies with high external validity). The following are examples of strong evidence: (1) More than one well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in this notice) experimental study (as defined in this notice) or well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in this notice) quasi-experimental study (as defined in this notice) that supports the effectiveness of the practice, strategy, or program; or (2) one large, well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in this notice) randomized controlled, multisite trial that supports the effectiveness of the practice, strategy, or program.

Well-designed and well-implemented means, with respect to an experimental or quasi-experimental study (as defined in this notice), that the study meets the What Works Clearinghouse evidence standards, with or without reservations (see http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/references/idocviewer/doc.aspx?docid=19&tocid=1 and in particular the description of “Reasons for Not Meeting Standards” at http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/references/idocviewer/Doc.aspx?docId=19&tocId=4#reasons).

Other Definitions

Applicant means the entity that applies for a grant under this program on behalf of an eligible applicant (i.e., an LEA or a partnership in accordance with section 14007(a)(1)(B) of the ARRA).

Consortium of schools means two or more public elementary or secondary schools acting collaboratively for the purpose of applying for and implementing an Investing in Innovation Fund grant jointly with an eligible nonprofit organization.

Formative assessment means assessment questions, tools, and processes that are embedded in instruction and are used by teachers and students to provide timely feedback for purposes of adjusting instruction to improve learning.

Highly effective principal means a principal whose students, overall and for each subgroup as described in section 1111(b)(3)(C)(xiii) of the ESEA (i.e., economically disadvantaged students, students from major racial and ethnic groups, migrant students, students with disabilities, students with limited English proficiency, andstudents of each gender), achieve high rates (e.g., one and one-half grade levels in an academic year) of student growth. Eligible applicants may include multiple measures, provided that principal effectiveness is evaluated, in significant part, based on student growth. Supplemental measures may include, for example, high school graduation rates; college enrollment rates; evidence of providing supportive teaching and learning conditions, support for ensuring effective instruction across subject areas for a well-rounded education, strong instructional leadership, and positive family and community engagement; or evidence of attracting, developing, and retaining high numbers of effective teachers.

Highly effective teacher means a teacher whose students achieve high rates (e.g., one and one-half grade levels in an academic year) of student growth. Eligible applicants may include multiple measures, provided that teacher effectiveness is evaluated, in significant part, based on student growth. Supplemental measures may include, for example, multiple observation-based assessments of teacher performance or evidence of leadership roles (which may include mentoring or leading professional learning communities) that increase the effectiveness of other teachers in the school or LEA.

High-need student means a student at risk of educational failure, or otherwise in need of special assistance and support, such as students who are living in poverty, who attend high-minority schools, who are far below grade level, who are over-age and under-credited, who have left school before receiving a regular high school diploma, who are at risk of not graduating with a regular high school diploma on time, who are homeless, who are in foster care, who have been incarcerated, who have disabilities, or who are limited English proficient.

High school graduation rate means a four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate consistent with 34 CFR 200.19(b)(1) and may also include an extended-year adjusted cohort graduation rate consistent with 34 CFR 200.19(b)(1)(v) if the State in which the proposed project is implemented has been approved by the Secretary to use such a rate under Title I of the ESEA.

Interim assessment means an assessment that is given at regular and specified intervals throughout the school year, is designed to evaluate students' knowledge and skills relative to a specific set of academic standards, and produces results that can be aggregated (e.g., by course, grade level, school, or LEA) in order to inform teachers and administrators at the student, classroom, school, and LEA levels.

National level, as used in reference to a Scale-up grant, describes a project that is able to be effective in a wide variety of communities and student populations around the country, including rural and urban areas, as well as with the different groups of students described in section 1111(b)(3)(C)(xiii) of the ESEA (i.e., economically disadvantaged students, students from major racial and ethnic groups, migrant students, students with disabilities, students with limited English proficiency, and students of each gender).

Nonprofit organization means an entity that meets the definition of “nonprofit” under 34 CFR 77.1(c), or an institution of higher education as defined by section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.

Official partner means any of the entities required to be part of a partnership under section 14007(a)(1)(B) of the ARRA.

Other partner means any entity, other than the applicant and any official partner, that may be involved in a proposed project.

Regional level, as used in reference to a Scale-up or Validation grant, describes a project that is able to serve a variety of communities and student populations within a State or multiple States, including rural and urban areas, as well as with the different groups of students described in section 1111(b)(3)(C)(xiii) of the ESEA (i.e., economically disadvantaged students, students from major racial and ethnic groups, migrant students, students with disabilities, students with limited English proficiency, and students of each gender). To be considered a regional-level project, a project must serve students in more than one LEA. The exception to this requirement would be a project implemented in a State in which the State educational agency is the sole educational agency for all schools and thus may be considered an LEA under section 9101(26) of the ESEA. Such a State would meet the definition of regional for the purposes of this notice.

Regular high school diploma means, consistent with 34 CFR 200.19(b)(1)(iv), the standard high school diploma that is awarded to students in the State and that is fully aligned with the State's academic content standards or a higher diploma and does not include a General Education Development (GED) credential, certificate of attendance, or any alternative award.

Student achievement means—

(a) For tested grades and subjects: (1) A student's score on the State's assessments under section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA; and, as appropriate, (2) other measures of student learning, such as those described in paragraph (b) of this definition, provided they are rigorous and comparable across classrooms; and

(b) For non-tested grades and subjects: alternative measures of student learning and performance such as student scores on pre-tests and end-of-course tests; student performance on English language proficiency assessments; and other measures of student achievement that are rigorous and comparable across classrooms.

Student growth means the change in student achievement data for an individual student between two or more points in time. Growth may be measured by a variety of approaches, but any approach used must be statistically rigorous and based on student achievement data, and may also include other measures of student learning in order to increase the construct validity and generalizability of the information.

Definition From Supplemental Priorities

Note:

These definitions are from the Supplemental Priorities and apply to Absolute Priority 5 and Competitive Preference Priority 9.

Open educational resources (OER) means teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use or repurposing by others.

Rural local educational agency means a local educational agency (LEA) that is eligible under the Small Rural School Achievement (SRSA) program or the Rural and Low-Income School (RLIS) program authorized under Title VI, Part B of the ESEA. Eligible applicants may determine whether a particular LEA is eligible for these programs by referring to information on the Department's Web site at http://www2.ed.gov/nclb/freedom/local/reap.html.

Program authority:

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Division A, Section 14007, Public Law 111-5.

Applicable Regulations:(a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 74, 75, 77, 79, 80, 81, 82, 84, 85, 86, 97, 98, and 99.

(b) The notice of final priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria for this program, published in the Federal Register on March 12, 2010(75 FR 12004-12071). (c) The notice of final revisions to priorities, requirements, and selection criteria for this program, published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register) (2011 Notice of Final i3 Revisions). (d) The notice of final supplemental priorities and definitions for Discretionary Grant Programs, published in the Federal Register on December 15, 2010 (75 FR 78486-78511).

Note:

The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply to institutions of higher education only.

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Cooperative agreements or discretionary grants.

Estimated Available Funds:$148,200,000.

These estimated available funds are for all three types of grants under the i3 program (Scale-up, Validation, and Development).

Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of the applications received, we may make additional awards in FY 2012 or later years from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition.

Estimated Range of Awards

Scale-up grants: Up to $25,000,000.

Validation grants: Up to $15,000,000.

Development grants: Up to $3,000,000.

Estimated Average Size of Awards

Scale-up grants:$24,000,000.

Validation grants:$12,000,000.

Development grants:$2,800,000.

Estimated Number of Awards:

Scale-up grants: Up to 2 awards.

Validation grants: Up to 5 awards.

Development grants: Up to 15 awards.

Note:

The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice.

Project Period:36-60 months.

III. Eligibility Information

1. Providing Innovations That Improve Achievement for High-Need Students: All eligible applicants must implement practices, strategies, or programs for high-need students (as defined in this notice). (2010 i3 NFP)

2. Eligible Applicants: Entities eligible to apply for Investing in Innovation Fund grants include: (a) An LEA or (b) a partnership between a nonprofit organization and (1) One or more LEAs or (2) a consortium of schools. An eligible applicant that is a partnership applying under section 14007(a)(1)(B) of the ARRA must designate one of its official partners (as defined in this notice) to serve as the applicant in accordance with the Department's regulations governing group applications in 34 CFR 75.127 through 75.129. (2010 i3 NFP)

3. Eligibility Requirements: To be eligible for an award, an eligible applicant must—except as specifically set forth in the Note About Eligibility for an Eligible Applicant That Includes a Nonprofit Organization that follows:

(1)(A) Have significantly closed the achievement gaps between groups of students described in section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA (economically disadvantaged students, students from major racial and ethnic groups, students with limited English proficiency, students with disabilities); or

(B) Have demonstrated success in significantly increasing student academic achievement for all groups of students described in that section;

(2) Have made significant improvements in other areas, such as graduation rates or increased recruitment and placement of high-quality teachers and principals, as demonstrated with meaningful data;

(3) Demonstrate that it has established one or more partnerships with the private sector, which may include philanthropic organizations, and that the private sector will provide matching funds in order to help bring results to scale; and

(4) In the case of an eligible applicant that includes a nonprofit organization, provide in the application the names of the LEAs with which the nonprofit organization will partner, or the names of the schools in the consortium with which it will partner. If an eligible applicant that includes a nonprofit organization intends to partner with additional LEAs or schools that are not named in the application, it must describe in the application the demographic and other characteristics of these LEAs and schools and the process it will use to select them as either official or other partners. An applicant must identify its specific partners before a grant award will be made. (2010 i3 NFP)

Note:

Applicants should provide information addressing the eligibility requirements in Appendix C, under “Other Attachments Form,” of their applications.

Note about lea eligibility:

For purposes of this program, an LEA is an LEA located within one of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. (2010 i3 NFP)

The authorizing statute (as amended) specifies that an eligible applicant that includes a nonprofit organization is considered to have met the requirements in paragraphs (1) and (2) of the eligibility requirements for this program if the nonprofit organization has a record of significantly improving student achievement, attainment, or retention. For an eligible applicant that includes a nonprofit organization, the nonprofit organization must demonstrate that it has a record of significantly improving student achievement, attainment, or retention through its record of work with an LEA or schools. Therefore, an eligible applicant that includes a nonprofit organization does not necessarily need to include as a partner for its Investing in Innovation Fund grant an LEA or a consortium of schools that meets the requirements in paragraphs (1) and (2).

In addition, the authorizing statute (as amended) specifies that an eligible applicant that includes a nonprofit organization is considered to have met the requirements of paragraph (3) of the eligibility requirements in this notice if the eligible applicant demonstrates that it will meet the requirement relating to private-sector matching. (2010 i3 NFP)

1. Cost Sharing or Matching: To be eligible for an award, an eligible applicant must demonstrate that it has established one or more partnerships with an entity or organization in the private sector, which may include philanthropic organizations, and that the entity or organization in the private sector will provide matching funds in order to help bring project results to scale. An eligible applicant must obtain matching funds or in-kind donations equal to at least 10 percent of its grant award. [6] Selected eligible applicants must submit evidence of the full amount of private-sector matching funds following the peer review of applications. An award will not be made unless the applicant provides adequate evidence that the full amount of the private-sector match has been committed or the Secretary approves the eligible applicant's request to reduce the matching-level requirement.

The Secretary may consider decreasing the matching requirement in the most exceptional circumstances, on a case-by-case basis. An eligible applicant that anticipates being unable to meet the full amount of the private-sector matching requirement must include in its application a request to the Secretary to reduce the matching-level requirement, along with a statement of the basis for the request. (2010 i3 NFP, as revised by the 2011 Notice of Final i3 Revisions)

2. Other: The Secretary establishes the following requirements for the Investing in Innovation Fund. We may apply these requirements in any year in which this program is in effect.

Evidence Standards: To be eligible for an award, an application for a Validation grant must be supported by moderate evidence (as defined in this notice). (2010 i3 NFP)

Note:

Applicants should provide information addressing the required evidence standards in Appendix D, under “Other Attachments Form,” of their applications.

Funding Categories: An applicant must state in its application whether it is applying for a Scale-up, Validation, or Development grant. An applicant may not submit an application for the same proposed project under more than one type of grant. An applicant will be considered for an award only for the type of grant for which it applies. (2010 i3 NFP)

Subgrants: In the case of an eligible applicant that is a partnership between a nonprofit organization and (1) One or more LEAs or (2) a consortium of schools, the partner serving as the applicant may make subgrants to one or more official partners (as defined in this notice). (2010 i3 NFP)

Limits on Grant Awards:(a) No grantee may receive more than two new grant awards of any type under the i3 program in a single year; (b) In any two-year period, no grantee may receive more than one new Scale-up or Validation grant; and (c) No grantee may receive more than $55 million in new grant awards under the i3 program in a single year. (2010 i3 NFP, as revised by the 2011 Notice of Final i3 Revisions)

Evaluation: A grantee must comply with the requirements of any evaluation of the program conducted by the Department. In addition, the grantee is required to conduct an independent evaluation (as defined in this notice) of its project and must agree, along with its independent evaluator, to cooperate with any technical assistance provided by the Department or its contractor. The purpose of this technical assistance will be to ensure that the evaluations are of the highest quality and to encourage commonality in evaluation approaches across funded projects where such commonality is feasible and useful. Finally, the grantee must make broadly available through formal (e. g., peer-reviewed journals) or informal (e.g., newsletters) mechanisms, and in print or electronically, the results of any evaluations it conducts of its funded activities. For Scale-up and Validation grants, the grantee must also ensure the data from their evaluations are made available to third-party researchers consistent with applicable privacy requirements. (2010 i3 NFP)

Participation in “Communities of Practice:” Grantees are required to participate in, organize, or facilitate, as appropriate, communities of practice for the Investing in Innovation Fund. A community of practice is a group of grantees that agrees to interact regularly to solve a persistent problem or improve practice in an area that is important to them. Establishment of communities of practice under the Investing in Innovation Fund will enable grantees to meet, discuss, and collaborate with each other regarding grantee projects. (2010 i3 NFP)

IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Submission of Proprietary Information:

Given the types of projects that may be proposed in applications for the Investing in Innovation Fund, some applications may include proprietary information as it relates to confidential commercial information. Confidential commercial information is defined as information the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to cause substantial competitive harm. Upon submission, applicants should identify any information contained in their application that they consider to be confidential commercial information. Consistent with the process followed in the FY 2010 i3 competition, we plan on posting the project narrative section of funded Validation applications on the Department's Web site. Identifying proprietary information in your application will help facilitate this public disclosure process.

Applicants are encouraged to identify only the specific information that the applicant considers to be proprietary and list the page numbers on which this information can be found in the appropriate Appendix section, under “Other Attachments Form,” of their applications. In addition to identifying the page number on which that information can be found, eligible applicants will assist the Department in making determinations on public release of the application by being as specific as possible in identifying the information they consider proprietary. Please note that, in many instances, identification of entire pages of documentation would not be appropriate.

2. Address To Request Application Package:

You can obtain an application package via the Internet or from the Education Publications Center (ED Pubs). To obtain a copy via the Internet, use the following address:http://www2.ed.gov/programs/innovation/index.html. To obtain a copy from ED Pubs, write, fax, or call the following: ED Pubs, U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 22207, Alexandria, VA 22304. Telephone, toll free: 1-877-433-7827. Fax:(703) 605-6794. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call, toll free: 1-877-576-7734.

You can contact ED Pubs at its Web site, also:http://www.EDPubs.gov or at its e-mail address:edpubs@inet.ed.gov.

If you request an application from ED Pubs, be sure to identify this program or competition as follows: CFDA number 84.411B.

Individuals with disabilities can obtain a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) by contacting the person or team listed under Accessible Format in section VIII of this notice.

3. Content and Form of Application Submission: Requirements concerning the content of an application, together with the forms you must submit, are in the application package for this competition.

Notice of Intent To Apply: June 23, 2011.

We will be able to develop a more efficient process for reviewing grant applications if we know the approximate number of applicants that intend to apply for funding under this competition. Therefore, the Secretary strongly encourages each potential applicant to notify us of the applicant's intent to submit an application for funding by completing a web-based form. When completing this form, applicants will provide (1) The applicant organization's name and address, (2) the type of grant for which the applicant intends to apply, (3) the one absolute priority the applicant intends to address, and (4) a maximum of two of the competitive preference priorities the applicant wishes the Department to consider for purposes of earning the competitive preference priority points. Applicants may access this form online at http://go.usa.gov/bsG. Applicants that do not complete this form may still apply for funding.

Page Limit: The application narrative (Part III of the application) is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. Applicants are strongly encouraged to limit the application narrative [Part III] for a Validation application to no more than 35 pages. Applicants are also strongly encouraged not to include lengthy appendices that contain informationthat could not be included in the narrative. Applicants should use the following standards:

• A “page” is 8.5″ x 11″, on one side only, with 1″ margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.

• Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) all text in the application narrative, including titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, and captions, as well as all text in charts, tables, figures, and graphs.

• Use a font that is either 12 point or larger or no smaller than 10 pitch (characters per inch).

• Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, Courier New, or Arial. An application submitted in any other font (including Times Roman or Arial Narrow) will not be accepted.

The suggested page limit does not apply to Part I, the cover sheet; Part II, the budget section, including the narrative budget justification; Part IV, the assurances and certifications; or the one-page abstract, the resumes, the bibliography, or the letters of support. However, the page limit does apply to all of the application narrative section [Part III].

4. Submission Dates and Times:

Applications Available: June 6, 2011.

Deadline for Notice of Intent To Apply: June 23, 2011.

Pre-Application Meeting: The i3 program intends to hold pre-application meetings designed to provide technical assistance to interested applicants for all three types of grants. Detailed information regarding the pre-application meeting locations, dates, and times will be provided in a separate notice in the Federal Register. Once the notice is published, it will be available, along with registration information, on the Investing in Innovation (i3) Web site at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/innovation/index.html.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: August 2, 2011.

Applications for grants under this competition must be submitted electronically using the Grants.gov Apply site (Grants.gov). For information (including dates and times) about how to submit your application electronically, or in paper format by mail or hand delivery if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, please refer to section IV. 8. Other Submission Requirements of this notice.

We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements.

Individuals with disabilities who need an accommodation or auxiliary aid in connection with the application process should contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice. If the Department provides an accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability in connection with the application process, the individual's application remains subject to all other requirements and limitations in this notice.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: October 3, 2011.

5. Intergovernmental Review: This competition is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. Information about Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs under Executive Order 12372 is in the application package for this competition.

6. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

7. Data Universal Numbering System Number, Taxpayer Identification Number, and Central Contractor Registry: To do business with the Department of Education, you must—

a. Have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN);

b. Register both your DUNS number and TIN with the Central Contractor Registry (CCR), the Government's primary registrant database;

c. Provide your DUNS number and TIN on your application; and

d. Maintain an active CCR registration with current information while your application is under review by the Department and, if you are awarded a grant, during the project period.

You can obtain a DUNS number from Dun and Bradstreet. A DUNS number can be created within one business day.

If you are a corporate entity, agency, institution, or organization, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service. If you are an individual, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service or the Social Security Administration. If you need a new TIN, please allow 2-5 weeks for your TIN to become active.

The CCR registration process may take five or more business days to complete. If you are currently registered with the CCR, you may not need to make any changes. However, please make certain that the TIN associated with your DUNS number is correct. Also note that you will need to update your CCR registration on an annual basis. This may take three or more business days to complete.

In addition, if you are submitting your application via Grants.gov, you must (1) Be designated by your organization as an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR); and (2) register yourself with Grants.gov as an AOR. Details on these steps are outlined in the Grants.gov3-Step Registration Guide (see http://www.grants.gov/section910/Grants.govRegistrationBrochure.pdf).

8. Other Submission Requirements:

Applications for grants under this competition must be submitted electronically unless you qualify for an exception to this requirement in accordance with the instructions in this section.

a. Electronic Submission of Applications.

Applications for grants under the Investing in Innovation Fund, CFDA number 84.411B (Validation grants), must be submitted electronically using the Governmentwide Grants.gov Apply site at http://www.Grants.gov. Through this site, you will be able to download a copy of the application package, complete it offline, and then upload and submit your application. You may not e-mail an electronic copy of a grant application to us.

We will reject your application if you submit it in paper format unless, as described elsewhere in this section, you qualify for one of the exceptions to the electronic submission requirement and submit, no later than two weeks before the application deadline date, a written statement to the Department that you qualify for one of these exceptions. Further information regarding calculation of the date that is two weeks before the application deadline date is provided later in this section under Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement.

You may access the electronic grant application for Investing in Innovation Fund at http://www.Grants.gov. You must search for the downloadable application package for this competition by the CFDA number. Do not include the CFDA number's alpha suffix in your search (e.g., search for 84.411, not 84.411B).

Please note the following:

• When you enter the Grants.gov site, you will find information about submitting an application electronically through the site, as well as the hours of operation.

• Applications received by Grants.gov are date and time stamped. Your application must be fully uploaded and submitted and must be date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system no later than 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. Except asotherwise noted in this section, we will not accept your application if it is received—that is, date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system—after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements. When we retrieve your application from Grants.gov, we will notify you if we are rejecting your application because it was date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date.

• The amount of time it can take to upload an application will vary depending on a variety of factors, including the size of the application and the speed of your Internet connection. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the submission process through Grants.gov.

• You should review and follow the Education Submission Procedures for submitting an application through Grants.gov that are included in the application package for this competition to ensure that you submit your application in a timely manner to the Grants.gov system. You can also find the Education Submission Procedures pertaining to Grants.gov under News and Events on the Department's G5 system home page at http://www.G5.gov.

• You will not receive additional point value because you submit your application in electronic format, nor will we penalize you if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, as described elsewhere in this section, and submit your application in paper format.

• You must submit all documents electronically, including all information you typically provide on the following forms: the Application for Federal Assistance (SF 424), the Department of Education Supplemental Information for SF 424, Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs (ED 524), and all necessary assurances and certifications.

• You must upload any narrative sections and all other attachments to your application as files in a .PDF (Portable Document) format only. If you upload a file type other than a .PDF or submit a password-protected file, we will not review that material.

• Your electronic application must comply with any page-limit requirements described in this notice.

• After you electronically submit your application, you will receive from Grants.gov an automatic notification of receipt that contains a Grants.gov tracking number. (This notification indicates receipt by Grants.gov only, not receipt by the Department.) The Department then will retrieve your application from Grants.gov and send a second notification to you by e-mail. This second notification indicates that the Department has received your application and has assigned your application a PR/Award number (an ED-specified identifying number unique to your application).

• We may request that you provide us original signatures on forms at a later date.

Application Deadline Date Extension in Case of Technical Issues with the Grants.gov System: If you are experiencing problems submitting your application through Grants.gov, please contact the Grants.gov Support Desk, toll free, at 1-800-518-4726. You must obtain a Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number and must keep a record of it.

If you are prevented from electronically submitting your application on the application deadline date because of technical problems with the Grants.gov system, we will grant you an extension until 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, the following business day to enable you to transmit your application electronically or by hand delivery. You also may mail your application by following the mailing instructions described elsewhere in this notice.

If you submit an application after 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date, please contact the person listed under For Further Information Contact in section VII of this notice and provide an explanation of the technical problem you experienced with Grants.gov, along with the Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number. We will accept your application if we can confirm that a technical problem occurred with the Grants.gov system and that that problem affected your ability to submit your application by 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. The Department will contact you after a determination is made on whether your application will be accepted.

Note:

The extensions to which we refer in this section apply only to the unavailability of, or technical problems with, the Grants.gov system. We will not grant you an extension if you failed to fully register to submit your application to Grants.gov before the application deadline date and time or if the technical problem you experienced is unrelated to the Grants.gov system.

Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement: You qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, and may submit your application in paper format, if you are unable to submit an application through the Grants.gov system because—

• You do not have access to the Internet; or

• You do not have the capacity to upload large documents to the Grants.gov system;and

• No later than two weeks before the application deadline date (14 calendar days or, if the fourteenth calendar day before the application deadline date falls on a Federal holiday, the next business day following the Federal holiday), you mail or fax a written statement to the Department, explaining which of the two grounds for an exception prevent you from using the Internet to submit your application.

If you mail your written statement to the Department, it must be postmarked no later than two weeks before the application deadline date. If you fax your written statement to the Department, we must receive the faxed statement no later than two weeks before the application deadline date.

Address and mail or fax your statement to: Thelma Leenhouts, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 4W302, Washington, DC 20202-5900. Fax:(202) 401-8466.

Your paper application must be submitted in accordance with the mail or hand delivery instructions described in this notice.

b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail.

If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you may mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier) your application to the Department. You must mail the original and two copies of your application, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention:(CFDA Number 84.411B), LBJ Basement Level 1, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20202-4260.

You must show proof of mailing consisting of one of the following:

(1) A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service postmark.

(2) A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the U.S. Postal Service.

(3) A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial carrier.

(4) Any other proof of mailing acceptable to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.

If you mail your application through the U.S. Postal Service, we do not accept either of the following as proof of mailing:

(1) A private metered postmark.

(2) A mail receipt that is not dated by the U.S. Postal Service.

If your application is postmarked after the application deadline date, we will not consider your application.

Note:

The U.S. Postal Service does not uniformly provide a dated postmark. Before relying on this method, you should check with your local post office.

c. Submission of Paper Applications by Hand Delivery.

If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you (or a courier service) may deliver your paper application to the Department by hand. You must deliver the original and two copies of your application by hand, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention:(CFDA Number 84.411B), 550 12th Street, SW., Room 7041, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-4260.

The Application Control Center accepts hand deliveries daily between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, except Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays.

Note for mail or hand delivery of paper applications:

If you mail or hand deliver your application to the Department—

(1) You must indicate on the envelope and—if not provided by the Department—in Item 11 of the SF 424 the CFDA number, including suffix letter, if any, of the competition under which you are submitting your application; and

(2) The Application Control Center will mail to you a notification of receipt of your grant application. If you do not receive this notification within 15 business days from the application deadline date, you should call the U.S. Department of Education Application Control Center at (202) 245-6288.

V. Application Review Information

1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this competition are from the 2010 i3 NFP and from 34 CFR 75.210. [7] The points assigned to each criterion are indicated in the parenthesis next to the criterion. Applicants may earn up to a total of 100 points.

The selection criteria for the Validation grant competition are as follows:

A. Need for the Project (up to 25 points).

The Secretary considers the need for the project.

In determining the need for the project, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(1) The magnitude of the need for the services to be provided or the activities to be carried out by the proposed project.

(2) The extent to which the proposed project represents an exceptional approach to the priority or priorities established for the competition.

(3) The importance and magnitude of the effect expected to be obtained by the proposed project, including the extent to which the project will substantially and measurably improve student achievement or student growth, close achievement gaps, decrease dropout rates, increase high school graduation rates, or increase college enrollment and completion rates. The evidence in support of the importance and magnitude of the effect would be the research-based evidence provided by the eligible applicant to support the proposed project. (2010 i3 NFP)

Note linking magnitude of effect to presented evidence:

The Secretary notes that the extent to which the proposed project is consistent with the research evidence provided by the eligible applicant to support the proposed project is relevant to addressing the third factor of Selection Criterion A and, therefore, will be considered by the Secretary in evaluating the importance and/or magnitude of the impact expected to be obtained by the proposed project.

B. Quality of the Project Design (up to 25 points).

The Secretary considers the quality of the design of the proposed project.

In determining the quality of the project design, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(1) The extent to which the proposed project has a clear set of goals and an explicit strategy, with actions that are (a) Aligned with the priorities the eligible applicant is seeking to meet, and (b) expected to result in achieving the goals, objectives, and outcomes of the proposed project. (2010 i3 NFP)

(2) The extent to which the costs are reasonable in relation to the objectives, design, and potential significance of the proposed project.

(3) The extent to which the services to be provided by the proposed project reflect up-to-date knowledge from research and effective practice.

(4) The eligible applicant's estimate of the cost of the proposed project, which includes the start up and operating costs per student per year (including indirect costs) for reaching the total number of students proposed to be served by the project. The eligible applicant must include an estimate of the costs for the eligible applicant or others (including other partners) to reach 100,000, 250,000, and 500,000 students. (2010 i3 NFP)

Note:

The Secretary considers cost estimates both (a) To assess the reasonableness of the costs relative to the objectives, design, and potential significance for the total number of students to be served by the proposed project, which is determined by the eligible applicant, and (b) to understand the possible costs for the eligible applicant or others (including other partners) to reach the scaling targets of 100,000, 250,000, and 500,000 students for Validation grants. An eligible applicant is free to propose how many students it will serve under its project, and is expected to reach that number of students by the end of the grant period. The scaling targets, in contrast, are theoretical and allow peer reviewers to assess the cost-effectiveness generally of proposed projects, particularly in cases where initial investment may be required to support projects that operate at reduced cost in the future, whether implemented by the eligible applicant or any other entity. Grantees are not required to reach these numbers during the grant period.

(5) The potential and planning for the incorporation of project purposes, activities, or benefits into the ongoing work of the eligible applicant and any other partners at the end of the Validation grant. (2010 i3 NFP)

C. Quality of Project Evaluation (up to 25 points).

The Secretary considers the quality of the project evaluation.

In determining the quality of the project evaluation to be conducted, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(1) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will include a well-designed experimental study or a well-designed quasi-experimental study. (2010 i3 NFP)

(2) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will provide high-quality implementation data and performance feedback, and permit periodic assessment of progress toward achieving intended outcomes. (2010 i3 NFP)

(3) The extent to which the evaluation will provide sufficient information about the key elements and approach of the project so as to facilitate replication or testing in other settings. (2010 i3 NFP)

(4) The extent to which the proposed project plan includes sufficient resources to carry out the project evaluation effectively. (2010 i3 NFP)

Note:

We encourage eligible applicants to review the following technical assistance resources on evaluation: (1) What WorksClearinghouse Procedures and Standards Handbook:http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/references/idocviewer/doc.aspx?docid=19&tocid=1; and (2) IES/NCEE Technical Methods papers:http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/tech_methods/.

D. Quality of the Management Plan and Personnel (up to 25 points).

The Secretary considers the quality of the management plan and personnel for the proposed project.

In determining the quality of the management plan and personnel for the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(1) The adequacy of the management plan to achieve the objectives of the proposed project on time and within budget, including clearly defined responsibilities, timelines, and milestones for accomplishing project tasks, as well as tasks related to the sustainability and scalability of the proposed project. (2010 i3 NFP)

(2) The qualifications, including relevant training and experience, of the project director and key project personnel, especially in managing complex projects. (2010 i3 NFP)

(3) The eligible applicant's capacity (e.g., in terms of qualified personnel, financial resources, or management capacity) to bring the proposed project to scale on a State or regional level (as appropriate, based on the results of the proposed project) working directly, or through other partners, either during or following the end of the grant period. (2010 i3 NFP)

2. Review and Selection Process: The Department will screen applications submitted in accordance with the requirements in this notice, and will determine which applications have met eligibility and other statutory requirements.

The Department will use independent reviewers from various backgrounds and professions including: pre-kindergarten-12 teachers and principals, college and university educators, researchers and evaluators, social entrepreneurs, strategy consultants, grant makers and managers, and others with education expertise. The Department will thoroughly screen all reviewers for conflicts of interest to ensure a fair and competitive review process.

Reviewers will read, prepare a written evaluation, and score the applications assigned to their panel, using the selection criteria provided in this notice. For Validation grant applications, the Department intends to conduct a two-tier review process to review and score all eligible applications. Reviewers will review and score all eligible Validation applications on the following three criteria: A. Need for the Project; B. Quality of the Project Design; D. Quality of the Management Plan and Personnel. If eligible applicants have chosen to address a maximum of two of the competitive preference priorities for purposes of earning the competitive preference priority points, reviewers will review and score those competitive preference priorities. If points are awarded, those points will be added to the eligible applicant's score. Eligible applications that score highly on these three criteria will then have the remaining criterion reviewed and scored by a different panel of reviewers. The remaining criterion is C. Quality of the Project Evaluation.

We remind potential applicants that in reviewing applications in any discretionary grant competition, the Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.217(d)(3), the past performance of the applicant in carrying out a previous award, such as the applicant's use of funds, achievement of project objectives, and compliance with grant conditions. The Secretary may also consider whether the applicant failed to submit a timely performance report or submitted a report of unacceptable quality.

In addition, in making a competitive grant award, the Secretary also requires various assurances including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department of Education (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).

3. Special Conditions: Under 34 CFR 74.14 and 80.12, the Secretary may impose special conditions on a grant if the applicant or grantee is not financially stable; has a history of unsatisfactory performance; has a financial or other management system that does not meet the standards in 34 CFR parts 74 or 80, as applicable; has not fulfilled the conditions of a prior grant; or is otherwise not responsible.

VI. Award Administration Information

1. Award Notices: If your application is successful, we notify your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send you a Grant Award Notification (GAN). We may notify you informally, also.

If your application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, we notify you.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify administrative and national policy requirements in the application package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of an award in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice and include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also incorporates your approved application as part of your binding commitments under the grant.

3. Reporting:(a) If you apply for a grant under this competition, you must ensure that you have in place the necessary processes and systems to comply with the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 170 should you receive funding under the competition. This does not apply if you have an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b).

(b) At the end of your project period, you must submit a final performance report, including financial information, as directed by the Secretary. If you receive a multi-year award, you must submit an annual performance report that provides the most current performance and financial expenditure information as directed by the Secretary under 34 CFR 75.118. The Secretary may also require more frequent performance reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c). For specific requirements on reporting, please go to http://www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html.

4. Performance Measures: The overall purpose of the Investing in Innovation program is to expand the implementation of, and investment in, innovative practices that are demonstrated to have an impact on improving student achievement or student growth for high-need students. We have established several performance measures for the Investing in Innovation Validation grants.

Short-term performance measures:(1) The percentage of grantees that reach their annual target number of students as specified in the application; (2) the percentage of programs, practices, or strategies supported by a Validation grant with ongoing well-designed and independent evaluations that will provide evidence of their effectiveness at improving student outcomes; (3) the percentage of programs, practices, or strategies supported by a Validation grant with ongoing evaluations that are providing high-quality implementation data and performance feedback that allow for periodic assessment of progress toward achieving intended outcomes; and (4) the cost per student actually served by the grant.

Long-term performance measures:(1) The percentage of grantees that reach the targeted number of students specified in the application; (2) the percentage of programs, practices, or strategies supported by a Validationgrant that implement a completed well-designed, well-implemented and independent evaluation that provides evidence of their effectiveness at improving student outcomes; (3) the percentage of programs, practices, or strategies supported by a Validation grant with a completed well-designed, well-implemented and independent evaluation that provides information about the key elements and the approach of the project so as to facilitate replication or testing in other settings; and (4) the cost per student for programs, practices, or strategies that were proven to be effective at improving educational outcomes for students.

VII. Agency Contact

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thelma Leenhouts, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 4W302, Washington, DC 20202-5900. Fax:(202) 401-8466. Telephone:(202) 453-7122 or by e-mail: http://www.i3@ed.gov.

If you use a TDD, call the Federal Relay Service, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

VIII. Other Information

Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document and a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to the program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice.

Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System at:http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site.

You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at:http://www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.

Dated: May 26, 2011. James H. Shelton, III,

Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement.

Footnotes

1. The notice of final revisions to priorities, requirements, and selection criteria for this program, published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register, establishes that the Secretary may use any of the priorities established in the 2010 i3 NFP when establishing the priorities for a particular Investing in Innovation competition.

2. Consistent with the Race to the Top Fund, the Department interprets the core academic subject of “science” under section 9101(11) of the ESEA to include STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) which encompasses a wide-range of disciplines, including computer science.

3. Under the final requirements for the School Improvement Grants program, “persistently lowest-achieving schools” means, as determined by the State, (a) Any Title I school in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring that (i) Is among the lowest-achieving five percent of Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring or the lowest-achieving five Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring in the State, whichever number of schools is greater; or (ii) is a high school that has had a graduation rate as defined in 34 CFR 200.19(b) that is less than 60 percent over a number of years; and (b) any secondary school that is eligible for, but does not receive, Title I funds that (i) Is among the lowest-achieving five percent of secondary schools or the lowest-achieving five secondary schools in the State that are eligible for, but do not receive, Title I funds, whichever number of schools is greater; or (ii) is a high school that has had a graduation rate as defined in 34 CFR 200.19(b) that is less than 60 percent over a number of years. See http://www2.ed.gov/programs/sif/faq.html.

4. For purposes of this priority, the Supplemental Priorities define student achievement as follows:

Student achievement means—

(a) For tested grades and subjects: (1) A student's score on the State's assessments under section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA; and, as appropriate, (2) other measures of student learning, such as those described in paragraph (b) of this definition, provided they are rigorous and comparable across classrooms; and

(b) For non-tested grades and subjects: alternative measures of student learning and performance such as student scores on pre-tests and end-of-course tests; student performance on English language proficiency assessments; and other measures of student achievement that are rigorous and comparable across classrooms.

5. A single subject or single case design is an adaptation of an interrupted time series design that relies on the comparison of treatment effects on a single subject or group of single subjects. There is little confidence that findings based on this design would be the same for other members of the population. In some single subject designs, treatment reversal or multiple baseline designs are used to increase internal validity. In a treatment reversal design, after a pretreatment or baseline outcome measurement is compared with a post treatment measure, the treatment would then be stopped for a period of time, a second baseline measure of the outcome would be taken, followed by a second application of the treatment or a different treatment. A multiple baseline design addresses concerns about the effects of normal development, timing of the treatment, and amount of the treatment with treatment-reversal designs by using a varying time schedule for introduction of the treatment and/or treatments of different lengths or intensity.

6. The 2011 Notice of Final i3 Revisions modified the “Cost Sharing and Matching” requirement established in the 2010 i3 NFP by providing that the Secretary will specify the amount of required private-sector matching funds or in-kind donations in the notice inviting applications for the specific i3 competition. For this competition, the Secretary establishes a matching requirement of at least 10 percent of the grant award.

7. The 2011 Notice of Final i3 Revisions establishes that the Secretary may use one or more of the selection criteria established in the 2010 i3 NFP, any of the selection criteria in 34 CFR 75.210, criteria based on the statutory requirements for the i3 program in accordance with 34 CFR 75.209, or any combination of these when establishing selection criteria for each particular type of grant (Scale-up, Validation, and Development) in an i3 competition.

References

Loading most recent entriesloading

Feedback