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Notice

Supplemental Priorities for Discretionary Grant Programs

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AGENCY:

Department of Education.

ACTION:

Notice of final supplemental priorities and definitions for discretionary grant programs; correction.

SUMMARY:

On December 15, 2010, the Department of Education published in the Federal Register (75 FR 78486) a notice announcing final supplemental priorities and definitions for the Department's discretionary grant programs (Supplemental Priorities NFP). This notice makes several technical corrections to the Supplemental Priorities NFP.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Margo Anderson, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 4W311, Washington, DC 20202-5910. Telephone: (202) 205-3010; or by e-mail: Margo.Anderson@ed.gov.

If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to the contact listed in this section.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The Supplemental Priorities NFP included several technical errors that we are correcting in this notice. In addition, for ease of reference, we are including the full text of all of the priorities and definitions (as corrected) in Appendix A to this notice.

Corrections

In FR Doc. 2010-31189, published in the Federal Register on December 15, 2010 (75 FR 78486), make the following corrections:

1. On page 78496, in the first column, under the heading Changes, in the fifth line, the word “regular” is inserted before the word “high”.

2. On page 78497, in the first column, under the heading Priority 8—Increasing Postsecondary Success, in paragraph (d), the word “regular” is inserted before the word “high”.

3. On page 78503, in the first column, in paragraph (d), a comma is inserted after the word “programs” in the fifth line of paragraph (d).

4. On page 78507, in the first column, under the heading Priority 3—Improving the Effectiveness and Distribution of Effective Teachers or Principals, paragraph (b)(2) is corrected to read as follows:

(2) Data that include, in significant part, student achievement (as defined in this notice) or student growth (as defined in this notice) data and may include multiple measures in States or local educational agencies that do not have the teacher or principal evaluation systems described in paragraph (1).

5. On page 78507, in the second column, under the heading Priority 6—Technology, the parenthetical “(as defined in this notice)” is inserted after the word “achievement”.

6. On page 78507, in the third column, under the heading Priority 8—Increasing Postsecondary Success, in paragraph (d), the word “regular” is inserted before the word “high”.

7. On page 78508, in the second column under the heading Priority 13-Enabling More Data-Based Decisionmaking, a comma is inserted after the word “programs” in the fifth line of paragraph (d).

8. On page 78508, in the second column, under the heading Priority 15—Supporting Programs, Practices, or Strategies for Which There Is Strong or Moderate Evidence of Effectiveness, the parenthetical “(as defined in this notice)” is removed from the second and third lines of the statement of the priority.

9. On page 78510, in the first column, in the definition of Quasi-experimental study, in the third line of the definition, the words “experimental design” are replaced with the words “experimental study”.

10. On page 78510, in the first column, in the definition of Quasi-experimental study, in the second sentence, the parenthetical “(as defined in this notice)” following the words “quasi-experimental studies” is removed.

Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1221e-3, 20 U.S.C. 3474.

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Dated: May 6, 2011.

Arne Duncan,

Secretary of Education.

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Appendix A: Final Supplemental Priorities And Definitions

Final Priorities

I. Advancing Key Cradle-to-Career Educational Reforms

Priority 1—Improving Early Learning Outcomes.

Projects that are designed to improve school readiness and success for high-need children (as defined in this notice) from birth through third grade (or for any age group of high-need children within this range) through a focus on one or more of the following priority areas:

(a) Physical well-being and motor development.Start Printed Page 27638

(b) Social-emotional development.

(c) Language and literacy development.

(d) Cognition and general knowledge, including early numeracy and early scientific development.

(e) Approaches toward learning.

Priority 2—Implementing Internationally Benchmarked, College- and Career-Ready Elementary and Secondary Academic Standards.

Projects that are designed to support the implementation of internationally benchmarked, college- and career-ready academic standards held in common by multiple States and to improve instruction and learning, including projects in one or more of the following priority areas:

(a) The development or implementation of assessments (e.g., summative, formative, interim) aligned with those standards.

(b) The development or implementation of curriculum or instructional materials aligned with those standards.

(c) The development or implementation of professional development or preparation programs aligned with those standards.

(d) Strategies that translate the standards into classroom practice.

Priority 3—Improving the Effectiveness and Distribution of Effective Teachers or Principals.

Projects that are designed to address one or more of the following priority areas:

(a) Increasing the number or percentage of teachers or principals who are effective or reducing the number or percentage of teachers or principals who are ineffective, particularly in high-poverty schools (as defined in this notice) including through such activities as improving the preparation, recruitment, development, and evaluation of teachers and principals; implementing performance-based certification and retention systems; and reforming compensation and advancement systems.

(b) Increasing the retention, particularly in high-poverty schools (as defined in this notice), and equitable distribution of teachers or principals who are effective.

For the purposes of this priority, teacher and principal effectiveness should be measured using:

(1) Teacher or principal evaluation data, in States or local educational agencies that have in place a high-quality teacher or principal evaluation system that takes into account student growth (as defined in this notice) in significant part and uses multiple measures, that, in the case of teachers, may include observations for determining teacher effectiveness (such as systems that meet the criteria for evaluation systems under the Race to the Top program as described in criterion (D)(2)(ii) of the Race to the Top notice inviting applications (74 FR 59803)); or

(2) Data that include, in significant part, student achievement (as defined in this notice) or student growth (as defined in this notice) data and may include multiple measures in States or local educational agencies that do not have the teacher or principal evaluation systems described in paragraph (1).

Priority 4—Turning Around Persistently Lowest-Achieving Schools.

Projects that are designed to address one or more of the following priority areas:

(a) Improving student achievement (as defined in this notice) in persistently lowest-achieving schools (as defined in this notice).

(b) Increasing graduation rates (as defined in this notice) and college enrollment rates for students in persistently lowest-achieving schools (as defined in this notice).

(c) Providing services to students enrolled in persistently lowest-achieving schools (as defined in this notice).

Priority 5—Improving School Engagement, School Environment, and School Safety and Improving Family and Community Engagement.

Projects that are designed to improve student outcomes through one or more of the following priority areas:

(a) Improving school engagement, which may include increasing the quality of relationships between and among administrators, teachers, families, and students and increasing participation in school-related activities.

(b) Improving the school environment, which may include improving the school setting related to student learning, safety, and health.

(c) Improving school safety, which may include decreasing the incidence of harassment, bullying, violence, and substance use.

(d) Improving parent and family engagement (as defined in this notice).

(e) Improving community engagement (as defined in this notice) by supporting partnerships between local educational agencies, school staff, and one or more of the following:

(i) Faith- or community-based organizations.

(ii) Institutions of higher education.

(iii) Minority-serving institutions or historically black colleges or universities.

(iv) Business or industry.

(v) Other Federal, State, or local government entities.

Priority 6—Technology.

Projects that are designed to improve student achievement (as defined in this notice) 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.

Priority 7—Core Reforms.

Projects conducted in States, local educational agencies, or schools where core reforms are being implemented. Such a project is one that is conducted—

(a) In a State that has adopted K-12 State academic standards in English language arts and mathematics that build towards college- and career-readiness;

(b) In a State that has implemented a statewide longitudinal data system that meets all the requirements of the America Competes Act; and

(c) In a local educational agency or school in which teachers receive student growth (as defined in this notice) data on their current students and the students they taught in the previous year and these data are provided, at a minimum, to teachers of reading/language arts and mathematics in grades in which the State administers assessments in those subjects.

Priority 8—Increasing Postsecondary Success.

Projects that are designed to address one or more of the following priority areas:

(a) Increasing the number and proportion of high-need students (as defined in this notice) who are academically prepared for and enroll in college or other postsecondary education and training.

(b) Increasing the number and proportion of high-need students (as defined in this notice) who persist in and complete college or other postsecondary education and training.

(c) Increasing the number and proportion of high-need students (as defined in this notice) who enroll in and complete high-quality programs of study (as defined in this notice) designed to lead to a postsecondary degree, credential, or certificate.

(d) Increasing the number of individuals who return to the educational system to obtain a regular high school diploma; to enroll in college or other postsecondary education or training; to obtain needed basic skills leading to success in college or other postsecondary education or the workforce; or to enter, persist in, and Start Printed Page 27639complete college or rigorous postsecondary career and technical training leading to a postsecondary degree, credential, or certificate.

(e) Increasing the number and proportion of high-need students (as defined in this notice) who enroll in and complete graduate programs.

(f) Increasing the number and proportion of postsecondary students who complete college or other postsecondary education and training and who are demonstrably prepared for successful employment, active participation in civic life, and lifelong learning.

II. Addressing Needs of Student Subgroups

Priority 9—Improving Achievement and High School Graduation Rates.

Projects that are designed to address one or more of the following priority areas:

(a) Accelerating learning and helping to improve high school graduation rates (as defined in this notice) and college enrollment rates for students in rural local educational agencies (as defined in this notice).

(b) Accelerating learning and helping to improve high school graduation rates (as defined in this notice) and college enrollment rates for students with disabilities.

(c) Accelerating learning and helping to improve high school graduation rates (as defined in this notice) and college enrollment rates for English learners.

(d) Accelerating learning and helping to improve high school graduation rates (as defined in this notice) and college enrollment rates for high-need students (as defined in this notice).

(e) Accelerating learning and helping to improve high school graduation rates (as defined in this notice) and college enrollment rates in high-poverty schools (as defined in this notice).

(f) Accelerating learning and helping to improve high school graduation rates (as defined in this notice) and college enrollment rates for all students in an inclusive manner that ensures that the specific needs of high-need students (as defined in this notice) participating in the project are addressed.

Priority 10—Promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education.

Projects that are designed to address one or more of the following priority 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.

Priority 11—Promoting Diversity.

Projects that are designed to promote student diversity, including racial and ethnic diversity, or avoid racial isolation.

Priority 12—Support for Military Families.

Projects that are designed to address the needs of military-connected students (as defined in this notice).

III. Building Capacity for Systemic Continuous Improvement

Priority 13—Enabling More Data-Based Decision-Making.

Projects that are designed to collect (or obtain), analyze, and use high-quality and timely data, including data on program participant outcomes, in accordance with privacy requirements (as defined in this notice), in one or more of the following priority areas:

(a) Improving instructional practices, policies, and child outcomes in early learning settings.

(b) Improving instructional practices, policies, and student outcomes in elementary or secondary schools.

(c) Improving postsecondary student outcomes relating to enrollment, persistence, and completion and leading to career success.

(d) Providing reliable and comprehensive information on the implementation of Department of Education programs, and participant outcomes in these programs, by using data from State longitudinal data systems or by obtaining data from reliable third-party sources.

Priority 14—Building Evidence of Effectiveness.

Projects that propose evaluation plans that are likely to produce valid and reliable evidence in one or more of the following priority areas:

(a) Improving project design and implementation or designing more effective future projects to improve outcomes.

(b) Identifying and improving practices, strategies, and policies that may contribute to improving outcomes. Under this priority, at a minimum, the outcome of interest is to be measured multiple times before and after the treatment for project participants and, where feasible, for a comparison group of non-participants.

Priority 15—Supporting Programs, Practices, or Strategies for which there is Strong or Moderate Evidence of Effectiveness.

Projects that are supported by strong or moderate evidence. A project that is supported by strong evidence (as defined in this notice) will receive more points than a project that is supported by moderate evidence (as defined in this notice).

Priority 16—Improving Productivity.

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.

Definitions

Carefully matched comparison group design means a type of quasi-experimental study (as defined in this notice) that attempts to approximate an experimental study (as defined in this notice). More specifically, it is a design in which project 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 Start Printed Page 27640administered in the same way to both groups).

Community engagement means the systematic inclusion of community organizations as partners with local educational agencies and school staff. These organizations may include faith- and community-based organizations, institutions of higher education (including minority-serving institutions and historically black colleges and universities), business and industry, or other Federal, State, and local government entities.

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.

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.

High-need children and high-need students means children and students at risk of educational failure, such as children and students who are living in poverty, who are English learners, who are far below grade level or who are not on track to becoming college- or career-ready by graduation, who have left school or college before receiving, respectively, a regular high school diploma or a college degree or certificate, who are at risk of not graduating with a diploma on time, who are homeless, who are in foster care, who are pregnant or parenting teenagers, who have been incarcerated, who are new immigrants, who are migrant, or who have disabilities.

High-poverty school means a school in which at least 50 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act or in which at least 50 percent of students are from low-income families as determined using one of the criteria specified under section 1113(a)(5) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended. For middle and high schools, eligibility may be calculated on the basis of comparable data from feeder schools. Eligibility as a high-poverty school under this definition is determined on the basis of the most currently available data.

Interrupted time series design means a type of quasi-experimental study (as defined in this notice) 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.[1]

Military-connected student means: (a) A child participating in an early learning program, a student in preschool through grade 12, or a student enrolled in postsecondary education or training who has a parent or guardian on active duty in the uniformed services (as defined by 37 U.S.C. 101, in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Guard, or the reserve component of any of the aforementioned services) or (b) a student who is a veteran of the uniformed services, who is on active duty, or who is the spouse of an active-duty servicemember.

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.

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.

Parent and family engagement means the systematic inclusion of parents and families, working in partnership with local educational agencies and school staff, in their child's education, which may include strengthening the ability of (a) Parents and families to support their child's education and (b) school staff to work with parents and families.

Persistently lowest-achieving schools means, as determined by the State: (i) Any Title I school in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring that (a) 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 (b) 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 (ii) any secondary school that is eligible for, but does not receive, Title I funds that: (a) 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 (b) 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.

To identify the persistently lowest-achieving schools, a State must take into account both: (i) The academic achievement of the “all students” group in a school in terms of proficiency on the State's assessments under section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA in reading/language arts and mathematics combined; and (ii) the school's lack of progress on those assessments over a Start Printed Page 27641number of years in the “all students” group.

Privacy requirements means the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. 1232g, and its implementing regulations in 34 CFR part 99, the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a, as well as all applicable Federal, State and local requirements regarding privacy.

Programs of study means career and technical education programs of study, which may be offered as an option to students (and their parents as appropriate) when planning for and completing future coursework, for career and technical content areas, that—

(a) Incorporate secondary education and postsecondary education elements;

(b) Include coherent and rigorous content aligned with challenging academic standards and relevant career and technical content in a coordinated, non-duplicative progression of courses that align secondary education with postsecondary education to adequately prepare students to succeed in postsecondary education;

(c) May include the opportunity for secondary education students to participate in dual or concurrent enrollment programs or other ways to acquire postsecondary education credits; and

(d) Lead to an industry-recognized credential or certificate at the postsecondary level, or an associate or baccalaureate degree.

Quasi-experimental study means an evaluation design that attempts to approximate an experimental study (as defined in this notice) and can support causal conclusions (i.e., minimizes threats to internal validity, such as selection bias, or allows them to be modeled). Well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in this notice) 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 (as defined in this notice) design that closely approximates an experimental study (as defined in this notice). 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.

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.

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.

Student achievement means—

(a) For tested grades and subjects: (1) A student's score on the State's assessments under 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 schools.

(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 schools.

Student growth means the change in student achievement (as defined in this notice) for an individual student between two or more points in time. A State may also include other measures that are rigorous and comparable across classrooms.

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).

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Footnotes

1.  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.

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[FR Doc. 2011-11650 Filed 5-11-11; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4000-01-P