[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 19 (Monday, January 30, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 4550-4553]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-1963]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


Promising and Practical Strategies to Increase Postsecondary 
Success

AGENCY: Department of Education.

ACTION: Request for Information (RFI); Promising and Practical 
Strategies to Increase Postsecondary Success.

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SUMMARY: The Secretary of Education (Secretary) invites institutions of 
higher education (IHEs), non-profit organizations, States, systems of 
higher education, adult education providers, researchers, and 
institutional faculty and staff, or consortia of such entities, to 
provide the Department of Education (Department) with information about 
promising and practical strategies, practices, programs, and activities 
(promising and practical strategies) that have improved rates of 
postsecondary success, transfer, and graduation. The Department 
believes this information will be of interest to others in situations 
similar to those described in the submissions, and useful during future 
deliberations, possibly including discussions concerning improvements 
to the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), and other 
legislative proposals to the Congress. We are most interested in 
obtaining information about strategies that emphasize the quality of 
what students learn and timely or accelerated attainment of 
postsecondary degrees or certificates, including industry-recognized 
credentials that lead to improved learning and employment outcomes. 
Information provided in response to this RFI will be posted on the 
Department's postsecondary completion Web site (Postsecondary 
Completion Web site) in a form that will allow information about 
promising and practical strategies to be shared, commented on, and 
discussed by interested parties, including employees of IHEs, State 
officials, students, and members of the general public.

DATES: Responses to this RFI may be submitted at any time after the 
publication of this notice, but in order for a response to be 
considered in the first round of reviews, it should be submitted by 
April 30, 2012. We will

[[Page 4551]]

review and post responses received after April 30, 2012 on a regular 
basis.

ADDRESSES: Provide any submission related to this RFI to the following 
email address: collegecompletion@ed.gov. Alternatively, mail or deliver 
submissions to David Soo, Office of Postsecondary Education, U.S. 
Department of Education, 1990 K Street NW., Washington, DC 20006.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Soo, (202) 502-7742, 
david.soo@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 compact disc) by 
contacting Warren Farr at (202) 377-4380 or warren.farr@ed.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    In February 2009, President Obama established a goal for the United 
States to regain, by 2020, its position as the nation with the highest 
percentage of its population holding postsecondary degrees and 
credentials. The Secretary is interested in collecting and making 
available to the public information on promising and practical 
strategies that can help educational institutions, States, non-profit 
organizations, and other entities contribute to achieving this goal.
    The Secretary is particularly interested in information about 
promising and practical strategies that IHEs, States, non-profit 
organizations, or other entities have carried out and that could be 
replicated and/or scaled with the goal of helping IHEs and States more 
effectively contribute to meeting the degree attainment goal set by the 
President and to improving student success generally. In addition to 
descriptions of these strategies, we are interested in receiving 
information about the factors perceived as most important to a 
strategy's successful implementation, the evidence that led the 
respondent to determine the importance of such factors, and the issues 
that the respondent believes would need to be addressed in order to 
encourage successful replication elsewhere.
    The Secretary will establish the Postsecondary Completion Web site 
to serve as an online resource that makes publicly available the 
information submitted in response to this RFI. While the Department 
intends to review submissions made pursuant to this RFI prior to 
posting them on the Postsecondary Completion Web site, it will not be 
responsible for and will not certify the accuracy of any of the 
information or claims contained in these submissions. The Department 
will post a disclaimer to this effect on the Postsecondary Completion 
Web site. The individual or entity responsible for providing the 
Department with a submission will remain responsible for the accuracy 
of the information in the submission.
    Once the Department establishes the Postsecondary Completion Web 
site and posts the information it receives in response to this RFI, the 
Secretary intends to publish a second notice in the Federal Register to 
announce the availability of this information and to invite feedback 
about the extent to which the strategies and ideas presented might be 
applicable to different institutions in different contexts, and what 
difficulties might arise in trying to implement them. The notice will 
again state that the Department will not be responsible for and will 
not certify the accuracy of any of the information or claims contained 
in the submissions. Finally, the Secretary will establish an internal 
process for the continuous improvement, updating, and augmentation of 
the information made available on the Postsecondary Completion Web 
site.
    This RFI is issued under the authority of the Department of 
Education Organization Act (DEOA), 20 U.S.C. 3402(4), by which the 
Secretary is authorized to promote improvements in the quality and 
usefulness of education through federally supported research, 
evaluation, and sharing of information.
    Guidance for Submitting Documents: Respondents to this RFI should 
provide submissions attached to an electronic mail message sent to the 
email address provided in the ADDRESSES section of this notice. To help 
ensure accessibility to all interested parties, we request that all 
submissions comply with the requirements of section 508 of the 
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, or be submitted in an electronic format 
that can be made accessible, such as Microsoft Word. We will accept 
submissions in any electronic or written form provided, but submissions 
in forms that are not Section 508 compliant and not accessible will not 
be posted online. Instead, we will index these submissions and make 
them available in an accessible format upon request. We ask that each 
respondent include the name and address of his or her institution, 
consortium, or affiliation, if any, and the name, title, mailing and 
email addresses, and telephone number of a contact person for his or 
her institution or consortium or affiliation, if any. We also ask that 
each submission begin with a brief one-paragraph abstract that provides 
an overview of the information discussed therein.
    The submission should include contact information (name, title, 
phone number, and email address) for an officer of the institution or 
an official of the submitting entity who is authorized to approve the 
submission. The Department will contact the officer to confirm 
authorization for the submission.
    If the submission is from a consortium of institutions, we ask that 
the respondent identify all members of the consortium but provide only 
the name of one contact person for the consortium. We also ask that the 
submission include contact information for the consortium's executive 
director so that we can confirm authorization for the submission.

Request for Information

    Through this RFI, we seek to collect information on promising and 
practical strategies that IHEs, States, or other entities have used 
with the goal of helping improve rates of postsecondary success, 
transfer, and graduation.
    At this time, we seek the assistance of IHEs, non-profit 
organizations, States, systems of higher education, adult education 
providers, researchers, and institutional faculty and staff who can 
offer information about promising and practical strategies that they 
have implemented, with or without Federal support, and that they 
believe have made measurable contributions to accelerated attainment of 
postsecondary degrees or certificates, including industry-recognized-
credentials that lead to improved learning and employment outcomes.
    When submitting information about a promising and practical 
strategy in response to this RFI, we request that respondents 
demonstrate how the promising and practical strategy is supported by 
data on outcomes. If a strategy described in a submission does not have 
extensive outcome data, the respondent should submit evidence that the 
proposed strategy, or one similar to it, has been attempted previously, 
even if on a limited scale or in a limited setting, and yielded 
promising results. We are particularly interested in strategies, 
practices, programs, or activities supported by outcome data or for 
which evaluations have been conducted that can support any conclusions 
the respondent makes about the strategies described. We are also 
interested in receiving information

[[Page 4552]]

about the costs of implementing the promising and practical strategies, 
both overall and on a per-participant basis.
    We note that previous efforts to improve outcomes from 
postsecondary institutions have included improved student support 
services, early college and middle college programs, successful 
remediation programs, open educational resources (that is, resources 
that are made freely available to students as a substitute for 
commercial, proprietary learning materials), distance and tele-presence 
courses, pay-for-performance scholarships and financial assistance, 
nontraditional course schedules and sequences, and peer support. We 
invite respondents to this RFI to provide current information on the 
implementation of these strategies and any other promising and 
practical strategy that they believe has helped to improve 
postsecondary success, transfer, and graduation. Specifically, we are 
interested in receiving documents and reports that include the 
following information:
     A detailed description of the promising and practical 
strategy:
    [cir] Clear descriptions of the college completion obstacle 
addressed, including the dimensions of the problems or obstacles 
targeted by the intervention.
    [cir] The theory of action that provides the basis for the 
promising and practical strategy.
    [cir] A history of how the promising and practical strategy was 
developed.
    [cir] A description of the way submitters or others measured the 
outcomes of the promising and practical strategy, and of any 
evaluations of the strategy, where available, including references to 
published or related studies and links to the relevant data or 
evaluation. In addition, respondents should discuss any factor or 
factors that made measuring success difficult and how they addressed 
those factors.
     A discussion of any difficulties or challenges that arose 
during the implementation of the promising and practical strategy and 
of any adjustments that the institution or organization made in 
response to those challenges.
     A description of the factor or factors the respondent 
believes were most important to the success of the promising and 
practical strategy. This could include the participation of a 
particular individual in the implementation of the strategy or some 
other reason that goes beyond the design of the activity undertaken.
     A description of the elements of the promising and 
practical strategy that the respondent believes did not work, including 
a discussion of why the respondent believes an element did not work and 
what the respondent would do to change the activity in question in the 
future.
     Suggestions about how other institutions might best 
replicate the promising and practical strategy and what potential 
concerns could make replication difficult.
     Detailed discussion of any Federal regulatory or statutory 
requirements or other laws, rules, or regulations that made 
successfully implementing the promising and practical strategy easier 
or more difficult.
    This list of items we invite for submission is illustrative only; 
respondents may also address other issues that they believe are 
appropriate to the promising and practical strategies they describe.

Rights to Materials Submitted

    By submitting material (e.g., descriptions of promising and 
practical strategies or data supporting strategies) in response to this 
RFI, the respondent is agreeing to grant the Department a worldwide, 
royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive license to use the 
material and post it on the Postsecondary Completion Web site. Further, 
the respondent agrees that it owns, has a valid license, or is 
otherwise authorized to provide the material to the Department for 
inclusion on the Postsecondary Completion Web site. The Department will 
not provide any compensation for material submitted in response to this 
RFI.

Request for Meta Data Tags

    The Secretary anticipates a significant number of responses to this 
RFI. To maximize the utility of the information we can make available 
on the Postsecondary Completion Web site, and to make it easier for 
interested parties to search this information, the Department will 
include specific words or phrases--also known as ``keywords'' or meta 
data ``tags''--in the database used to support the Web site. Therefore, 
the Secretary strongly encourages respondents to this RFI to use 
keywords or tags to identify components of the strategies described in 
their responses. The keywords or tags identified should be linked to, 
and accurately reflect substantial components of, the strategies, 
practices, programs, or other activities described in the submission. 
To simplify searches of the database created by the responses to this 
RFI, the Secretary provides in Appendix A of this RFI a list of 
standard keywords and tags that would be useful for the Postsecondary 
Completion Web site. The Secretary strongly encourages that respondents 
select--to the greatest extent possible--from among these standard 
keywords and tags when identifying tags for their submission. In the 
event that none of the words or phrases in Appendix A is sufficiently 
precise for the promising and practical strategy that is the subject of 
the response, respondents may substitute other keywords or tags of 
their own choosing. The Secretary strongly encourages respondents to 
provide no more than eight keywords or tags for each strategy and limit 
each tag to no more than three words per tag and 28 characters per 
word. By limiting keywords and tags in this manner, the Secretary can 
most efficiently index the database and enable effective searches of 
all information obtained through this RFI.
    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, 
audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the program contact person 
listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

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: 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: 
www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search 
feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published 
by the Department.

    Authority: 20 U.S.C. 3204(4).

    Dated: January 25, 2012.
Martha Kanter,
Under Secretary of Education.

Appendix A: Standard Keywords and Tags

 Accelerated Learning
 Achievement Gap Closure
 Adult Education
 Affordability
 Assessment Technology
 Badges
 Basic Skills
 Blended Learning
 Block Scheduling

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 Career Pathways
 Certificate Attainment
 Civic/Community Engagement
 Civic Learning
 Cognitive Tutors
 Community of Practice
 Competency-Based Learning
 Contextualized Learning
 Cost Savings
 Data Collection/Use
 Degree Attainment
 Developmental/Remedial Education
 Digital Materials
 Dual Degrees
 Earn and Learn
 Efficiency
 Employer Partnership
 Course Articulation
 Student Services
 Game Design
 Improving Achievement
 Industry-Driven Competencies
 Industry-Recognized Credentials
 Job Placement
 Learning Assessment
 Learning Communities
 Mentoring
 Mobile Devices
 Modular Curriculum
 Momentum Points
 Non-Traditional Age Students
 On-the-Job Training
 Online Teaching/Learning
 Open Educational Resources
 Paid Internships
 Part-Time Students
 Pay-for-Performance
 Persistence
 Personalized Instruction
 Productivity
 Real-Time Online Interactions
 Registered Apprenticeships
 Retention
 SCORM
 Self-Paced Learning
 Simulations
 Skill Assessments
 Stackable Credentials
 STEM
 Technology-Enabled Learning
 Time to Degree
 Transfer and Articulation
 Tuition Reduction
 Underrepresented Students
 Virtual Environments
 Web-Based Learning

    Note 1: SCORM stands for Sharable Content Object Reference 
Model.


    Note 2: STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and 
Mathematics.


    Note 3: In the event that none of the keywords or tags listed in 
this appendix is a sufficiently precise descriptor, submitters 
should include alternate keyword or tags of their own choosing, not 
to exceed three words per tag, with a maximum of 28 characters for 
each keyword or tag. See the discussion elsewhere in this RFI under 
the heading ``Request for Meta Data Tags'' for more guidance on the 
use of keywords and tags.

[FR Doc. 2012-1963 Filed 1-27-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P