[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 241 (Friday, December 14, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 74407-74421]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-30199]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

34 CFR Subtitle A

RIN 1855-AA09
[Docket No. ED 2012-OII-0027]


Proposed Priorities, Requirements, Definitions, and Selection 
Criteria--Investing in Innovation Fund

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Numbers: 84.411A, 
84.411B, and 84.411C

AGENCY: Office of Innovation and Improvement, Department of Education.

ACTION: Proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection 
criteria.

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SUMMARY: The Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement 
proposes priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria 
under the Investing in Innovation Fund (i3). The Assistant Deputy 
Secretary may use these priorities, requirements, definitions, and 
selection criteria for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2013 and later 
years.
    The U.S. Department of Education (Department) has conducted three 
competitions under the i3 program and awarded 92 i3 grants since the 
program was established under the American Recovery and Reinvestment 
Act of 2009 (ARRA). These proposed priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria maintain the overall purpose and 
structure of the i3 program, which is discussed later in this document, 
and incorporate changes based on specific lessons learned from the 
first three competitions.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before January 14, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal 
or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. We will not 
accept comments by fax or by email. To ensure that we do not receive 
duplicate copies, please submit your comments only once. In addition, 
please include the Docket ID at the top of your comments.
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov to 
submit your comments electronically. Information on using 
Regulations.gov, including instructions for accessing agency documents, 
submitting comments, and viewing the docket, is available on the site 
under ``How to Use This Site.''
     Postal Mail, Commercial Delivery, or Hand Delivery: If you 
mail or deliver your comments about these proposed regulations, address 
them to Carol Lyons, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue 
SW., room 4W203, LBJ, Washington, DC 20202-5930.

    Privacy Note: The Department's policy is to make all comments 
received from members of the public available for public viewing in 
their entirety on the Federal eRulemaking Portal at 
www.regulations.gov. Therefore, commenters should be careful to 
include in their comments only information that they wish to make 
publicly available.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carol Lyons. Telephone: (202) 453-
7122. Or by email: i3@ed.gov. If you use a telecommunications device 
for the deaf (TDD) or text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay 
Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Invitation to Comment: We invite you to 
submit comments regarding this notice. To ensure that your comments 
have maximum effect in developing the notice of final priorities, 
requirements, definitions, and selection criteria, we urge you to 
identify clearly the specific proposed priority, requirement, 
definition, or selection criterion that each comment addresses. We make 
additional, specific requests for comment in the sections setting out 
the proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection 
criteria elsewhere in this notice.
    We invite you to assist us in complying with the specific 
requirements of Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 and their overall 
requirement of reducing regulatory burden that might result from these 
proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria. 
Please let us know of any further ways we could reduce potential costs 
or increase potential benefits while preserving the effective and 
efficient administration of the program.
    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public 
comments about this notice by accessing Regulations.gov. You may also 
inspect the comments in person in room 4W335, LBJ, 400 Maryland Avenue 
SW., Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., 
Washington, DC time, Monday through Friday of each week except Federal 
holidays. Please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Assistance to Individuals with Disabilities in Reviewing the 
Rulemaking Record: On request we will provide an appropriate 
accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability who 
needs assistance to review the comments or other documents in the 
public rulemaking record for this notice. If you want to schedule an 
appointment for this type of accommodation or auxiliary aid, please 
contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Purpose of Program: The i3 program addresses two related 
challenges. First, there are too few practices in education supported 
by rigorous evidence of effectiveness, despite national attention paid 
to finding practices that are effective at improving education outcomes 
in the decade since the establishment of the Department's Institute of 
Education Sciences (IES). Second, there are limited incentives to 
expand effective practices substantially and to use those practices to 
serve more students across schools, districts, and States. Student 
achievement suffers as a result.
    The central innovation of the i3 program, and how it addresses 
these two challenges, is its multi-tier structure that links the amount 
of funding that an applicant may receive to the quality of the evidence 
supporting the efficacy of the proposed project. Applicants proposing 
practices supported by limited evidence can receive small grants that 
support the development and initial evaluation of promising practices 
and help to identify new solutions to pressing challenges; applicants 
proposing practices supported by evidence from rigorous evaluations, 
such as large randomized controlled trials, can receive sizable grants 
to support expansion across the Nation. This structure provides 
incentives for applicants to build evidence of effectiveness of their 
proposed projects and to address the barriers to serving more students 
across schools, districts, and States so that applicants can compete 
for more sizeable grants.
    As importantly, all i3 projects are required to generate additional 
evidence of effectiveness. All i3 grantees must use part of their 
budgets to conduct independent evaluations (as defined in this notice) 
of their projects. This ensures that projects funded under the i3 
program contribute significantly to improving the information available 
to practitioners and policymakers about which practices work, for which 
types of students, and in which contexts.

    Program Authority: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 
2009 (ARRA), Division A, Section 14007, Pub. L. 111-5.

[[Page 74408]]

Background

The Statutory Context

    The ARRA established the i3 program to provide competitive grants 
to local educational agencies (LEAs) and nonprofit organizations with a 
record of improving student achievement in order to expand the 
implementation of, and investment in, innovative practices that are 
demonstrated to improve student achievement (as defined in this notice) 
or student growth (as defined in this notice), close achievement gaps, 
decrease dropout rates, increase high school graduation rates (as 
defined in this notice), or increase college enrollment and completion 
rates. The ARRA provided funding for the i3 program's first competition 
carried out during FY 2010; the FY 2011 and FY 2012 competitions were 
funded under the Department's annual appropriations. The 
Administration's reauthorization proposal for the Elementary and 
Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.) 
(ESEA) would authorize the i3 program under that act.

Overview of the Investing in Innovation Fund (i3)

    As the Department's primary evidence-based grantmaking program, the 
i3 program is designed to generate and validate solutions to persistent 
educational challenges and support the expansion of effective solutions 
across the country to serve substantially larger numbers of students.
    There are a number of features that make the i3 program different 
from many other Federal grant programs in education.
    First, the i3 program builds a portfolio of different practices in 
critical priority areas. As the Proposed Priorities section of this 
document makes clear, the i3 program supports projects in a broad range 
of areas, from increasing teacher and principal effectiveness to 
turning around low-performing schools. We anticipate that after a 
number of i3 competitions, practices will emerge that can address 
challenges in each of these areas that are effective in improving 
student outcomes across the Nation.
    Second, the i3 program links funding to the quality and extent of 
existing evidence showing the likelihood of a proposed practice 
improving student outcomes. Different tiers of grants, with increasing 
funding available at each tier, are linked to different levels of 
evidence.
    Third, the i3 program supports the expansion (scaling) of effective 
programs by providing sufficient funding to build organizational 
capacity and to overcome barriers to reaching additional students. The 
different tiers of i3 grants comprise a funding continuum for effective 
programs that spans initial, localized development to implementation on 
a national scale, in the hope that more effective practices will 
displace less effective ones and lead to increases in student 
achievement and improvements in other student outcomes.
    Fourth, the i3 program both requires and provides funding for an 
independent evaluation of each project to build understanding of ``what 
works'' in critical priority areas. An independent evaluation addresses 
issues such as for which populations or student subgroups particular 
practices are most effective and whether practices maintain their 
effectiveness as they expand to serve more students in more diverse 
contexts. An independent evaluation also provides an opportunity for 
grantees to generate the evidence needed to compete for funds at the 
next level of i3 funding (e.g., from a Development grant to a 
Validation grant; see description of the three types of grants that 
follows) if their projects are successful.
    As in prior i3 competitions, in FY 2013 we intend to award three 
types of grants under this program: ``Development'' grants, 
``Validation'' grants, and ``Scale-up'' grants. These grants differ in 
terms of the level of prior evidence of effectiveness required for 
consideration of funding, the level of scale the funded project should 
reach, and consequently the amount of funding available to support the 
project. We provide an overview to clarify the expectations for each 
grant type:
    1. Development grants provide funding to support the development or 
testing of practices that are supported by evidence of promise (as 
defined in this notice) or strong theory (as defined in this notice) 
and whose efficacy should be systematically studied. We intend 
Development grants to support new or substantially more effective 
practices for addressing widely shared challenges. Development projects 
should be novel and significant nationally, not projects that simply 
implement existing practices in additional locations or support needs 
that are primarily local in nature.
    All Development grantees must evaluate the effectiveness of the 
project at the level of scale proposed in the application. Development 
grant evaluations should assess whether the i3-supported practice is 
better than other approaches at increasing student achievement (as 
defined in this notice) or student growth (as defined in this notice), 
closing achievement gaps, decreasing dropout rates, increasing high 
school graduation rates (as defined in this notice), or increasing 
college enrollment and completion rates.
    2. Validation grants provide funding to support expansion of 
projects supported by moderate evidence of effectiveness (as defined in 
this notice) to the national or regional level (as defined in this 
notice). Validation projects must further assess the effectiveness of 
the i3-supported practice through a rigorous evaluation, with 
particular focus on the populations for and the contexts in which the 
practice is most effective.
    The outcomes of the first three i3 competitions have demonstrated 
that Validation grantees vary widely in their organizational maturity 
and capacity to expand significantly, far more than have Scale-up 
grantees. Given this history, we expect and consider it appropriate 
that each applicant would propose to use the Validation funding to 
build its capacity to deliver the i3-supported practice, particularly 
early in the funding period, to successfully reach the level of scale 
proposed in its application. The applicant would need to address any 
specific barriers to the growth or scaling of the organization or 
practice (including barriers related to cost-effectiveness) in order to 
deliver the i3-supported practice at the proposed level of scale and 
provide strategies to address these barriers as part of its proposed 
scaling plan.
    All Validation grantees must evaluate the effectiveness of the 
practice that the supported project implements and expands. We expect 
that these evaluations will be conducted in a variety of contexts and 
for a variety of students, will identify the core elements of the 
practice, and will codify the practices to support adoption or 
replication by the applicant and other entities.
    3. Scale-up grants provide funding to support expansion of projects 
supported by strong evidence of effectiveness (as defined in this 
notice) to the national level (as defined in this notice). In addition 
to improving outcomes for an increasing number of high-need students, 
we expect that Scale-up projects will generate information about the 
students and contexts for which a practice is most effective. We expect 
that Scale-up projects will increase understanding of strategies that 
allow organizations or practices to expand quickly and efficiently 
while maintaining their effectiveness.
    A Scale-up grant may support the expansion of practices that have 
demonstrated through prior experience

[[Page 74409]]

and rigorous evaluation that they are effective at improving student 
achievement. An entity applying for a Scale-up grant should use the 
grant funding, at least in part, to address specific barriers to the 
growth or scaling up of an organization or practice (including barriers 
related to cost-effectiveness) in order to deliver the i3-supported 
practice at the proposed level of scale so that the entity is well-
positioned to continue expansion following the expiration of Federal 
funding.
    Similar to Validation grants, all Scale-up grantees must evaluate 
the effectiveness of the i3-supported practice that the project 
implements and expands; this is particularly important in instances in 
which the proposed project includes changing the i3-supported practice 
in order to more efficiently reach the proposed level of scale (for 
example, by developing technology-enabled training tools). We expect 
that these evaluations would be conducted in a variety of contexts and 
for a variety of students in order to determine the context(s) and 
population(s) for which the i3-supported practice is most effective. 
Regardless, the evaluation of a Scale-up grant must identify core 
elements of and codify the i3-supported practice that the project 
implements to support adoption or replication by other entities.

Proposed Priorities

    This notice contains 10 proposed priorities. In addition, in any i3 
competition we may include priorities 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), and corrected on May 12, 2011 (76 FR 27637) (Supplemental 
Priorities). We are not proposing in this notice priorities in such 
areas as early learning or standards and assessments, which are already 
included in the Supplemental Priorities, because the language in the 
Supplemental Priorities adequately addresses those areas for the 
purposes of the i3 program.

Proposed Priorities

Background

    The original set of four absolute priorities that the Department 
used for the FY 2010 i3 competition focused on the four assurances (or 
education reform areas) the Department used in implementing multiple 
programs funded under ARRA. We continue to consider these reform areas 
important and, thus, either include them in these proposed priorities 
or may include them in future competitions through the Supplemental 
Priorities.
    The original i3 priorities were written broadly and generated a 
wide range of projects in the first three competitions. Now we are 
interested in supporting a more focused set of projects within areas of 
acute need and in more directly addressing particular challenges. Thus, 
we propose to modify our approach to the structure of the priorities so 
that each priority area includes the particular needs that the 
Secretary may address when establishing the priorities for a particular 
i3 competition. Our intent is to establish the flexibility to select 
from a variety of possible project focus areas within a given priority 
rather than using broad priorities as we have in the past; however, we 
expect to use only a subset of the priorities and the project focus 
areas within them in any particular future notice inviting 
applications. The Department will consider several factors when 
selecting the priorities to use in a given year, including the 
Administration's policy priorities, the need for new solutions in a 
particular priority area, other available funding for a particular 
priority area, and the results and lessons learned from prior i3 
competitions. Further, the Department will consider the level of 
evidence or research available across the different priorities when 
determining which of the priorities would be most appropriate for the 
different types of grants under the i3 program. In a given year, the 
notice inviting applications will provide a concise list of the 
priorities that will be used for that year's i3 competition.
    We propose that the Secretary may use any of the priorities 
established in the notice of final priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria when establishing the priorities 
for each particular type of grant (Development, Validation, and Scale-
up) in an i3 competition in FY 2013 and in subsequent years.
Proposed Priority 1--Improving the Effectiveness of Teachers or 
Principals
    Background: Research indicates that teachers and principals are the 
most critical in-school factors in improving student achievement.\1\ 
Proposed priority 1, therefore, focuses on improving the effectiveness 
of teachers and principals. Specifically, the proposed priority focuses 
on all dimensions of the teacher and principal career path and seeks to 
identify effective methods for recruiting, preparing, supporting, 
evaluating, and retaining effective principals and teachers, 
particularly at schools that serve high-needs students.
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    \1\ Wright, S.P., Horn, S.P., Sanders, W.L. (1997). Teacher and 
classroom context effects on student achievement: Implications for 
teacher evaluation. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education 
11:57-67; Rivkin, S.G., Hanushek, E.A., Kain, J.F. (2005). Teachers, 
schools, and academic achievement. Economerica, 73(2):417-458.
    Leithwood, K., Louis, K.S., Anderson, S., and Wahlstrom, K. 
(2004). Review of research: How leadership influences student 
learning. University of Minnesota, Center for Applied Research and 
Educational Improvement. Found at www.cehd.umn.edu/carei/Leadership/ReviewofResearch.pdf.
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    The proposed priority highlights the need for schools and districts 
to consider how to recruit effective teachers and principals, create 
distinct career pathways based on the strengths of its teachers and 
principals and the needs of its schools, and develop evaluation systems 
that provide information that can be used to provide timely and useful 
feedback for teachers and principals. Schools and districts can use 
these evaluation data to identify and provide necessary resources and 
tailored professional development in order to support the teachers and 
principals currently in the schools and to improve the processes for 
recruiting new talent. Providing teachers with tailored development and 
supports is important for improving teacher effectiveness and retaining 
teachers to ensure all schools have highly effective teachers and 
principals. Thus, the priority includes developing professional 
development supports and tools for teachers, including creating and 
implementing models that help teachers utilize time and resources more 
efficiently while maintaining or improving outcomes.
    Finally, to ensure that all schools, especially those serving high-
need students, benefit from projects funded under this priority, the 
priority also supports efforts to equitably distribute effective 
teachers and principals among schools.
Proposed Priority 1--Improving the Effectiveness of Teachers or 
Principals
    Under this proposed priority, we would provide funding to projects 
that address one or more of the following priority areas:
    (a) Developing new methods and sources for recruiting:
    (1) Highly effective teachers (as defined in this notice);
    (2) Highly effective principals (as defined in this notice); or
    (3) Highly effective teachers and principals (as defined in this 
notice).
    (b) Developing models for teacher preparation that deepen 
pedagogical knowledge and skills, such as

[[Page 74410]]

knowledge of instructional practices or knowledge and skills in 
classroom management, or that deepen pedagogical content knowledge, 
that have been demonstrated to improve student achievement.
    (c) Developing models of induction and support for improving the 
knowledge and skills of novice teachers to increase teacher retention, 
improve teaching effectiveness, and accelerate student performance.
    (d) Creating career pathways with differentiated opportunities and 
roles for teachers or principals, which may include differentiated 
compensation.
    (e) Designing and implementing teacher or principal evaluation 
systems that provide clear, timely, and useful feedback, including 
feedback that identifies areas for improvement and that guides 
professional development for teachers and principals.
    (f) Developing supports for ongoing development and improvement of 
teachers, principals, or instructional leaders, such as local and 
virtual communities, tools, training, and other mechanisms.
    (g) Increasing the equitable distribution of effective teachers or 
principals across schools.
    (h) Extending the reach of highly effective teachers to more 
students such as through developing and implementing school models that 
improve conditions for teaching and learning; or offering new 
opportunities for teachers to collaborate to accelerate student 
performance.
    (i) Other projects addressing pressing needs related to improving 
teacher or principal effectiveness.
Proposed Priority 2--Improving Low-Performing Schools
    Background: Approximately 10 percent of all high schools produce 
nearly half of the Nation's dropouts.\2\ Proposed priority 2 addresses 
the pressing need to ensure all students receive a quality K-12 
education by providing funding for activities that are designed to 
accelerate the performance of severely low-performing schools and the 
schools that feed students into them. Given the range of schools that 
this proposed priority aims to address, we are designing this priority 
to identify and support multiple approaches that can successfully turn 
around low-performing schools and improve outcomes for students in 
them.
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    \2\ Balfanz, R., Bridgeland, J.M., Horning Fox, J., Moore, L.A. 
(2010). Building a Grad nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the 
High School Dropout Epidemic 2010-2011 Annual Update. See 
www.americaspromise.org/Our-Work/Grad-Nation/Building-a-Grad-Nation.aspx.
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    Providing a combination of reform strategies, including effective 
teachers, strong school leadership, embedded professional development, 
greater use of data to inform instruction, increased learning time, and 
collaboration among teachers, can improve instruction and student 
outcomes in low-performing schools. Additionally, whole-school and 
``wraparound'' reform strategies also can be used to improve the school 
environment and address other non-academic factors that affect student 
achievement. Thus, this proposed priority supports projects that would 
implement these strategies in low-performing schools.
    Community engagement also is crucial to successfully turning around 
low-performing schools, so the proposed priority provides for enhancing 
the capacity of external partners to support these schools. Finally, to 
support States and districts specifically in their ongoing school 
reform efforts, the proposed priority supports projects designed to 
expand State and district capacity to turn around low-performing 
schools.
Proposed Priority 2--Improving Low-Performing Schools
    Under this proposed priority, we would provide funding to projects 
that address one or more of the following priority areas:
    (a) Designing whole-school models that incorporate such strategies 
as providing strong school leadership; strengthening the instructional 
program; embedding professional development that provides teachers with 
frequent feedback to increase the rigor and effectiveness of their 
instructional practice; redesigning the school day, week, or year; 
using data to inform instruction and improvement; establishing a school 
environment that promotes a culture of high expectations and addresses 
non-academic factors that affect student achievement; and providing 
ongoing mechanisms for parent and family engagement.
    (b) Changing selected elements of the school's organizational 
design, such as by differentiating staff roles, changing student 
groupings, or enhancing instructional time.
    (c) Recruiting, developing, or retaining highly effective staff, 
specifically teachers, principals, or instructional leaders, to work in 
low-performing schools.
    (d) Implementing ``wraparound'' and social supports for students 
that address non-academic factors that impede student learning.
    (e) Developing and enhancing the capacity of external partners to 
support efforts to turn around low-performing schools or districts.
    (f) Expanding district- or State-level capacity to turn around low-
performing schools by developing systems and processes to improve State 
and district support and oversight.
    (g) Other projects addressing pressing needs related to improving 
low-performing schools.
Other Proposed Requirements Related to Proposed Priority 2
    To meet this priority, a project must serve schools among (1) The 
lowest-performing schools in the State on academic performance 
measures; (2) schools in the State with the largest within-school 
performance gaps between student subgroups described in section 
1111(b)(2) of the ESEA; or (3) secondary schools in the State with the 
lowest graduation rate over a number of years or the largest within-
school gaps in graduation rates between student subgroups described in 
section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA.
Proposed Priority 3--Improving Science, Technology, Engineering, and 
Mathematics (STEM) Education
    Background: Ensuring that all students can access and excel in STEM 
fields is essential to our Nation's innovation economy and future 
prosperity. An increasing number of careers require an understanding of 
STEM concepts and the application of the skills and techniques of 
science, technology, engineering and mathematics; this proposed 
priority addresses this growing need.
    The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology 
(PCAST) \3\ has produced reports on K-12 and undergraduate STEM 
education that provided recommendations on increasing achievement and 
postsecondary enrollment in STEM fields. The recommendations include 
cultivating and recruiting STEM teachers, creating STEM-related 
experiences to inspire and engage students, and encouraging 
partnerships among stakeholders in order to diversify pathways to STEM 
careers. Proposed priority 3 supports projects that would address these 
recommendations by revising STEM courses, making STEM learning more 
engaging to a wider range of students, increasing the number of 
effective STEM teachers, and expanding STEM education and career 
opportunities for groups traditionally

[[Page 74411]]

underrepresented in the STEM fields, including minorities, individuals 
with disabilities, and women and girls.
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    \3\ See www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp/pcast/docsreports.
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Proposed Priority 3--Improving Science, Technology, Engineering, and 
Mathematics (STEM) Education
    Under this proposed priority, we would provide funding to projects 
that address one or more of the following priority areas:
    (a) Providing students with increased access to rigorous and 
engaging coursework in STEM.
    (b) Redesigning STEM course content and instructional practices to 
engage students and increase student academic success.
    (c) Developing new methods and resources for recruiting individuals 
with content expertise in STEM subject areas into teaching.
    (d) Increasing the opportunities for high-quality preparation of, 
or professional development for, teachers or other educators in STEM 
subjects, through activities that include building content and 
pedagogical content knowledge.
    (e) Expanding opportunities for high-quality out-of-school and 
extended-day activities that provide students with opportunities for 
deliberate practice that increase STEM learning, engagement, and 
expertise.
    (f) Increasing the number of individuals from groups traditionally 
underrepresented in STEM, including minorities, individuals with 
disabilities, and women and girls, who are provided with access to 
rigorous and engaging coursework in STEM and are prepared for 
postsecondary study in STEM.
    (g) 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.
    (h) Other projects addressing pressing needs for improving STEM 
education.
Proposed Priority 4--Improving Academic Outcomes for Students With 
Disabilities
    Background: One of the primary goals of the ESEA is to improve the 
quality of education for all students, including students with 
disabilities, and ensuring the provision of an appropriate education to 
students with disabilities is the primary objective of the Individuals 
with Disabilities Education Act. Proposed priority 4 would support 
activities focused on improving the instruction for and assessment of 
students with disabilities from early learning through postsecondary 
education. Thus, the proposed priority would support projects that 
coordinate technical assistance across programs serving infants, 
toddlers, or preschoolers with disabilities to ensure the operation of 
coherent systems supporting these children and their families. And, at 
the postsecondary level, the priority would support projects that 
collect data on academic and other outcomes for students with 
disabilities to better understand their transition into postsecondary 
education and how their secondary school education prepares them for 
higher education.
    Consistent with our approach under proposed priority 1 and 
recognizing the critical importance of evaluating teacher 
effectiveness, this proposed priority also would support projects to 
design and implement teacher evaluation systems that measure the 
performance of special education teachers and related service 
providers.
    Finally, because we know that students with differing abilities can 
learn and excel at high levels, provided they receive appropriate 
academic and non-academic supports, this priority would support 
projects designed to improve academic outcomes for students with 
disabilities in inclusive settings.
Proposed Priority 4--Improving Academic Outcomes for Students With 
Disabilities
    Under this proposed priority, we would provide funding to projects 
that address one or more of the following priority areas:
    (a) Coordinating technical assistance across programs that address 
the needs of infants, toddlers, or preschoolers with disabilities, in 
order to ensure the operation of coherent systems of support for those 
children and their families.
    (b) Designing and implementing teacher evaluation systems that 
define and measure effectiveness of special education teachers and 
related service providers.
    (c) Improving academic outcomes for students with disabilities in 
inclusive settings.
    (d) Improving postsecondary data collection and tracking of 
academic and related outcomes for students with disabilities to 
understand their transition into postsecondary education and how their 
secondary school education prepared them for higher education.
    (e) Other projects addressing pressing needs related to improving 
academic outcomes for students with disabilities.
Proposed Priority 5--Improving Academic Outcomes for English Learners 
(ELs)
    Background: School districts across the country have experienced a 
substantial increase in the enrollment of students who cannot speak, 
read, or write English well enough to participate meaningfully in 
educational programs without appropriate support services. Proposed 
priority 5 would support activities that are designed to address the 
language-related limitations that can impede student learning.
    A student's ability to master core academic subjects depends on the 
student's ability to understand academic language, including 
discipline-specific vocabulary. Therefore, proposed priority 5 aims to 
increase opportunities for ELs to develop their academic and literacy 
skills and for ELs to build their skills in using and understanding 
English language oral discourse, varying and complex text types, and 
discipline-specific vocabulary that are typical of core academic 
courses.
    Consistent with our approach under Proposed Priorities 1 and 4 and 
recognizing the critical importance of evaluating teacher 
effectiveness, this proposed priority also would support projects to 
design and implement teacher evaluation systems that measure the 
performance of teachers of ELs.
    The proposed priority also aims to improve the high school 
graduation rates and college-readiness of ELs by supporting projects 
that would align the curriculum used in the language development and 
content courses in which they enroll with college- and career-ready 
standards as well as projects that would provide robust and targeted 
professional development to teachers, administrators, and other school 
personnel serving EL students.
Proposed Priority 5--Improving Academic Outcomes for English Learners 
(ELs)
    Under this proposed priority, we would provide funding to projects 
that address one or more of the following priority areas:
    (a) Increasing the number and proportion of ELs successfully 
completing courses in core academic subjects by developing, 
implementing, and evaluating new instructional approaches and tools 
that are sensitive to the language demands necessary to access 
challenging content, including technology-based tools.

[[Page 74412]]

    (b) Aligning and implementing the curriculum and instruction used 
in grades 6-12 for language development and content courses to provide 
the academic vocabuarly and discourse skills necessary for preparing 
ELs to be college- and career-ready.
    (c) Preparing young ELs to be on track to be college- and career-
ready when they graduate from high school by developing comprehensive, 
developmentally appropriate, early learning programs (birth-grade 3) 
that are aligned with the State's high-quality early learning 
standards, designed to improve readiness for kindergarten, and support 
development of literacy and academic skills in English or in English 
and another language.
    (d) Developing and implementing school-wide professional 
development for teachers, administrators, and other personnel in 
schools in which a significant percentage of students are ELs.
    (e) Designing and implementing teacher evaluation systems that 
define and measure effectiveness of teachers of ELs.
    (f) Other projects addressing pressing needs related to improving 
academic outcomes for ELs.
Proposed Priority 6--Improving Parent and Family Engagement
    Background: Parents and families are instrumental in helping 
children improve their academic performance. Proposed priority 6 
addresses the need for building parents' and families' awareness of 
their role in improving their children's educational outcomes and 
enhancing their ability to support student learning and school 
improvement through training. Additionally, the proposed priority 
addresses the corresponding need to provide professional development to 
school staff so that they have the skills needed to support and 
cultivate environments that are welcoming to parents and families and 
to build relationships that increase their capacity to support their 
children's educational needs.
    Finally, to ensure that parents and families have the information 
they need to be full partners in their children's education, this 
proposed priority would support the development of tools and 
initiatives that provide them with ongoing access to data about their 
children's progress and performance.
Proposed Priority 6--Improving Parent and Family Engagement
    Under this proposed priority, we would provide funding to projects 
that address one or more of the following priority areas:
    (a) Developing and implementing initiatives that provide training 
for parents and families to learn skills and strategies that will 
support their students in improving academic outcomes.
    (b) Implementing initiatives that are designed to enhance the 
skills and competencies of school and other administrative staff in 
building relationships and collaborating with families, particularly 
those who have been underengaged with the school(s) in the past, in 
order to support student achievement and school improvement.
    (c) Implementing initiatives that cultivate sustainable 
partnerships and increase connections between parents and school staff 
in order to support student achievement and school improvement.
    (d) Developing tools or practices that provide students and parents 
with improved, ongoing access to data and other information about the 
students' progress and performance.
    (e) Other projects addressing pressing needs related to improving 
student outcomes by improving parent and family engagement.
Proposed Priority 7--Improving Cost-Effectiveness and Productivity
    Background: It is essential for schools and LEAs to closely examine 
their spending practices and reallocate resources toward more efficient 
and more cost-effective strategies. Accordingly, through proposed 
priority 7, the Department continues to emphasize the importance of 
cost-effectiveness and productivity. Improvements in operational, 
organizational, and instruction processes and structures will allow 
organizations to achieve the best possible results in the most 
efficient manner.
    With proposed priority 7, we continue and strengthen this focus by 
including specific requirements that applicants must address. These 
additional details clarify important elements to ensure that an 
applicant's proposed plan to improve productivity would provide 
sufficient detail about how the applicant aims to modify its processes 
and structures and how the applicant would evaluate whether the 
proposed project was cost-effective when implemented. A detailed 
budget, an examination of different types of costs, and a plan to 
monitor and evaluate the cost savings are essential to any reasoned 
attempt at improving productivity.
Proposed Priority 7--Improving Cost-Effectiveness and Productivity
    Under this proposed priority, we would provide funding to projects 
that address one of the following areas:
    (a) Substantially improving student outcomes without commensurately 
increasing per-student costs.
    (b) Maintaining student outcomes while substantially decreasing 
per-student costs.
    (c) Substantially improving student outcomes while substantially 
decreasing per-student costs.
Other Proposed Requirements Related to Proposed Priority 7
    An application proposing to address this priority must provide--
    (1) A clear and coherent budget that identifies expected student 
outcomes before and after the practice, the cost per student for the 
practice, and a clear calculation of the cost per student served;
    (2) A compelling discussion of the expected cost-effectiveness of 
the practice compared with alternative practices;
    (3) A clear delineation of one-time costs versus ongoing costs and 
a plan for sustaining the project, particularly ongoing costs, after 
the expiration of i3 funding;
    (4) Identification of specific activities designed to increase 
substantially the cost-effectiveness of the practice, such as re-
designing costly components of the practice (while maintaining 
efficacy) or testing multiple versions of the practice in order to 
identify the most cost-effective approach; and
    (5) A project evaluation that addresses the cost-effectiveness of 
the proposed practice.
Proposed Priority 8--Effective Use of Technology
    Background: Technology can improve student academic outcomes, often 
rapidly and in unprecedented ways. While there have been significant 
advances in the use of technology, the core operations of most schools 
and LEAs remain untouched. The Department's National Education 
Technology Plan 2010 \4\ highlighted the potential of ``connected 
teaching'' to extend the reach of the most effective teachers by using 
online tools, and it also highlighted the need for high-quality 
learning resources that can reach learners wherever and whenever they 
are needed. Thus, proposed priority 8 supports strategies that address 
these needs.
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    \4\ See www.ed.gov/edblogs/technology/netp-2010/.

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[[Page 74413]]

    Technological solutions also can be used effectively to assess the 
learning progress of individual students and to provide appropriate 
feedback to students and teachers. Proposed priority 8 would therefore 
support projects using instructional platforms that provide customized 
instruction for different learners, including integrated assessments 
and continuous feedback.
Proposed Priority 8--Effective Use of Technology
    Under this proposed priority, we would provide funding to projects 
that use technology to address one or more of the following priority 
areas:
    (a) Providing real-time access to learning experiences that are 
adaptive and self-improving in order to optimize the delivery of 
instruction to learners with a variety of learning needs.
    (b) Providing students and teachers with ``anytime, anywhere'' 
access to academic content and learning experiences that they otherwise 
would not have access to, such as rigorous coursework that is not 
offered in a particular school, or effective professional development 
activities or learning communities enabled by technology.
    (c) Developing new methods and resources for teacher preparation or 
professional development that increase a teacher's ability to utilize 
technology in the classroom to improve student outcomes.
    (d) Assessing student proficiencies in complex skills, such as 
critical thinking and collaboration across academic disciplines.
    (e) Developing and implementing technology-enabled strategies for 
teaching and learning, such as models and simulations, collaborative 
virtual environments, or ``serious games,'' especially for teaching 
concepts and content (e.g., systems thinking) that are difficult to 
teach using traditional approaches.
    (f) Integrating technology with the implementation of rigorous 
college- and career-ready standards.
    (g) Other projects that increase the use of technology for 
effective teaching and learning.
Proposed Priority 9--Formalizing and Codifying Effective Practices
    Background: A primary goal of the i3 program is to identify and 
support the expansion of effective practices. The education field's 
knowledge management systems and dissemination of effective practices, 
particularly in instances where an effective practice could displace a 
less effective or ineffective practice, is underdeveloped. Proposed 
priority 9 aims to address these challenges and improve student 
outcomes by supporting strategies that identify key elements of 
effective practices and capturing lessons learned about the 
implementation of the practices. An applicant meeting this priority 
must commit to sharing knowledge about the practice broadly and 
supporting the implementation of the practice in other settings and 
locations in order to assess whether the practice can be successfully 
replicated.
Proposed Priority 9--Formalizing and Codifying Effective Practices
    Under this proposed priority, we would provide funding to projects 
that formalize and codify effective practices. An application proposing 
to address this priority must, as part of its application:
    (a) Identify the practice or practices that the application 
proposes to formalize (i.e., establish and define key elements of the 
practice) and codify (i.e., develop a guide or tools to support the 
dissemination of information on key elements of the practice) and 
explain why there is a need for formalization and codification.
    (b) Evaluate different forms of the practice to identify the 
critical components of the practice that are crucial to its success and 
sustainability, including the adaptability of critical components to 
different teaching and learning environments.
    (c) Provide a coherent and comprehensive plan for developing 
materials, training, toolkits, or other supports that other entities 
would need in order to implement the practice effectively and with 
fidelity.
    (d) Commit to assessing the replicability and adaptability of the 
practice by supporting the implementation of the practice in a variety 
of locations during the project period using the materials, training, 
toolkits, or other supports that were developed for the i3-supported 
practice.
Proposed Priority 10--Serving Rural Communities
    Background: Educational challenges and the corresponding solutions 
frequently are different in rural areas from those in urban or suburban 
areas. Proposed priority 10 recognizes this and would support projects 
that serve students from rural areas. In so doing, proposed priority 10 
would help ensures that rural areas have access to and benefit from 
innovative education reforms that specifically address their needs.
Proposed Priority 10--Serving Rural Communities
    Under this proposed priority, we would provide funding to projects 
that address one of the absolute priorities established for a 
particular i3 competition and under which the majority of students to 
be served are enrolled in rural local educational agencies (as defined 
in this notice).

Specific Requests for Comment

    In addition to our general interest in receiving comment on the 
priorities proposed in this notice, we are particularly interested in 
comments related to proposed priority 7, Improving Cost-Effectiveness 
and Productivity, and proposed priority 5, Improving Academic Outcomes 
for ELs. We seek comments on whether the language of proposed priority 
7 should establish a specific numeric target or threshold of cost-
effectiveness or productivity improvement and, if we were to establish 
such a target, suggestions for what that target or threshold should be 
and how we should require that applicants or grantees measure progress 
toward and attainment of it. With regards to (c) of proposed priority 
5, we seek comments on whether the Department should allow applicants 
to meet the priority by proposing processes, products, strategies, or 
practices that address instruction in English or in English and a 
language other than English.
    We also recognize that the goals of supporting practices that are 
both innovative and evidence-based has the potential to limit the 
universe of applicants. Therefore, we are interested in receiving 
comments on whether we should establish a priority for applicants that 
have never received or partnered with an entity that has received a 
grant under the i3 program.

Types of Priorities

    When inviting applications for a competition using one or more 
priorities, we designate the type of each priority as absolute, 
competitive preference, or invitational through a notice in the Federal 
Register. The effect of each type of priority follows:
    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only 
applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)). In the i3 
competition, each application must choose to address one of the 
absolute priorities and projects are grouped by that absolute priority 
for the purposes of peer review and funding determinations.
    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference 
priority,

[[Page 74414]]

we give competitive preference to an application by (1) awarding 
additional points, depending on the extent to which the application 
meets the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an 
application that meets the priority over an application of comparable 
merit that does not meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(ii)).
    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are 
particularly interested in applications that meet the priority. 
However, we do not give an application that meets the priority a 
preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).

Proposed Requirements

Background

    We propose to revise some of the nonstatutory i3 program 
requirements that the Department has previously established based on 
our experiences with the three i3 competitions the Department has held 
to date. For example, many existing, widespread practices in the field 
currently lack the evidence base to compete for Scale-up or Validation 
grants because of limited prior investments in rigorous, high-quality 
evaluations and limited internal capacity to conduct these evaluations. 
One of the primary goals of the i3 program is to increase knowledge of 
what works in education for i3 grantees and non-grantees alike. As 
such, we propose to strengthen the project evaluation requirement so 
that i3 grantees will produce high-quality evaluations that estimate 
the impact of the i3-supported practice (as implemented at the proposed 
level of scale) on a relevant outcome (as defined in this notice).
    Evaluations might consider whether the i3-supported practice is 
more effective than other approaches or its effect on improving student 
achievement (as defined in this notice) or student growth (as defined 
in this notice), closing achievement gaps, decreasing dropout rates, 
increasing high school graduation rates (as defined in this notice), or 
increasing college enrollment and completion rates.

Proposed Requirements

    The Assistant Deputy Secretary proposes the following requirements 
for this program. We may apply one or more of these requirements in any 
year in which this program is in effect.
    1. Innovations that Improve Achievement for High-Need Students: All 
grantees must implement practices that are designed to improve student 
achievement (as defined in this notice) or student growth (as defined 
in this notice), close achievement gaps, decrease dropout rates, 
increase high school graduation rates (as defined in this notice), or 
increase college enrollment and completion rates for high-need students 
(as defined in this notice).
    2. Innovations that Serve Kindergarten-through-Grade-12 (K-12) 
Students: All grantees must implement practices that serve students who 
are in grades K-12 at some point during the funding period. To meet 
this requirement, projects that serve early learners (i.e., infants, 
toddlers, or preschoolers) must provide services or supports that 
extend into kindergarten or later years, and projects that serve 
postsecondary students must provide services or supports during the 
secondary grades or earlier.
    3. Eligible Applicants: Entities eligible to apply for i3 grants 
include either of the following:
    (a) An LEA.
    (b) A partnership between a nonprofit organization and--
    (1) One or more LEAs; or
    (2) A consortium of schools.
    Statutory Eligibility Requirements: Except as specifically set 
forth in the Note about Eligibility for an Eligible Applicant that 
Includes a Nonprofit Organization that follows, to be eligible for an 
award, an eligible applicant must--
    (a)(1) 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
    (2) Have demonstrated success in significantly increasing student 
academic achievement for all groups of students described in that 
section;
    (b) Have made significant improvements in other areas, such as high 
school graduation rates (as defined in this notice) or increased 
recruitment and placement of high-quality teachers and principals, as 
demonstrated with meaningful data;
    (c) Demonstrate that it has established one or more partnerships 
with the private sector, which may include philanthropic organizations, 
and that organizations in the private sector will provide matching 
funds in order to help bring results to scale; and
    (d) 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.

    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.


    Note about Eligibility for an Eligible Applicant that Includes a 
Nonprofit Organization:  The authorizing statute specifies that an 
eligible applicant that includes a nonprofit organization meets the 
requirements in paragraphs (a) and (b) 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 i3 grant an LEA or a consortium of schools that meets the 
requirements in paragraphs (a) and (b) of the eligibility 
requirements in this notice.
    In addition, the authorizing statute specifies that an eligible 
applicant that includes a nonprofit organization meets the 
requirements of paragraph (c) of the eligibility requirements in 
this notice if the eligible applicant demonstrates that it will meet 
the requirement for private-sector matching.

    4. Cost-Sharing or Matching Funds: To be eligible for an award, an 
applicant must demonstrate that one or more private sector 
organizations, which may include philanthropic organizations, 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 an amount that the Secretary will specify in the notice 
inviting applications for the specific i3 competition. The Secretary 
will announce in the notice inviting applications when and how selected 
eligible applicants must submit evidence of the private-sector matching 
funds.
    The Secretary may consider decreasing the matching requirement in 
the most exceptional circumstances. The Secretary will provide 
instructions for how to request a reduction of the matching requirement 
in the notice inviting applications.
    5. Evidence Standards: To be eligible for an award, an application 
for a Development grant must be supported by one of the following:

[[Page 74415]]

    (a) Evidence of promise (as defined in this notice);
    (b) Strong theory (as defined in this notice); or
    (c) Evidence of promise (as defined in this notice) or strong 
theory (as defined in this notice).
    The Secretary will announce in the notice inviting applications 
which options will be used as the evidence standard for a Development 
grant in a given competition. Note that under (c), applicants must 
identify whether the application is supported by evidence of promise 
(as defined in this notice) or strong theory (as defined in this 
notice).
    To be eligible for an award, an application for a Validation grant 
must be supported by moderate evidence of effectiveness (as defined in 
this notice);
    To be eligible for an award, an application for a Scale-up grant 
must be supported by strong evidence of effectiveness (as defined in 
this notice).
    6. Funding Categories: An applicant will be considered for an award 
only for the type of i3 grant (Development, Validation, or Scale-up 
grant) for which it applies. An applicant may not submit an application 
for the same proposed project under more than one type of grant.
    7. Limit 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 in a single year 
new i3 grant awards that total an amount greater than the sum of the 
maximum amount of funds for a Scale-up grant and the maximum amount of 
funds for a Development grant for that year. For example, in a year 
when the maximum award value for a Scale-up grant is $25 million and 
the maximum award value for a Development grant is $5 million, no 
grantee may receive in a single year new grants totaling more than $30 
million.
    8. 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 
and, if funded, as the grantee, may make subgrants to one or more 
entities in the partnership.
    9. Evaluation: The grantee must conduct an independent evaluation 
(as defined in this notice) of its project. This evaluation must 
estimate the impact of the i3-supported practice (as implemented at the 
proposed level of scale) on a relevant outcome (as defined in this 
notice). The grantee must make broadly available digitally and free of 
charge, through formal (e.g., peer-reviewed journals) or informal 
(e.g., newsletters) mechanisms, the results of any evaluations it 
conducts of its funded activities. For Scale-up and Validation grants, 
the grantee must also ensure that the data from its evaluation are made 
available to third-party researchers consistent with applicable privacy 
requirements.
    In addition, the grantee and its independent evaluator must agree 
to cooperate with any technical assistance provided by the Department 
or its contractor and comply with the requirements of any evaluation of 
the program conducted by the Department. This includes providing to the 
Department, within 100 days of a grant award, an updated comprehensive 
evaluation plan in a format and using such tools as the Department may 
require. Grantees must update this evaluation plan at least annually to 
reflect any changes to the evaluation. All these updates must be 
consistent with the scope and objectives of the approved application.
    10. Communities of Practice: Grantees must participate in, 
organize, or facilitate, as appropriate, communities of practice for 
the i3 program. 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.
    11. Management Plan: Within 100 days of a grant award, the grantee 
must provide an updated comprehensive management plan for the approved 
project in a format and using such tools as the Department may require. 
This management plan must include detailed information about 
implementation of the first year of the grant, including key 
milestones, staffing details, and other information that the Department 
may require. It must also include a complete list of performance 
metrics, including baseline measures and annual targets. The grantee 
must update this management plan at least annually to reflect 
implementation of subsequent years of the project.

Proposed Definitions

    Background: To ensure that terms used in the i3 program have clear 
and commonly understood meanings and are aligned with other Department 
programs, we propose the following definitions. The majority of these 
definitions are the same as, or substantially similar to, those we have 
established and used in prior i3 competitions. However, we are 
proposing some changes to those definitions related to evidence of 
effectiveness. In that regard, we are particularly interested in 
comments on the level of rigor required under the proposed definitions 
for ``strong evidence of effectiveness,'' ``moderate evidence of 
effectiveness,'' ``evidence of promise,'' and ``strong theory.'' We 
have attempted to clarify the definitions so that applicants can better 
understand what is required to meet each level of evidence. We have 
also narrowed the allowable evaluation methodologies at the strong and 
moderate evidence of effectiveness levels so that the allowable 
evaluation methodologies are those that are most likely to support 
causal conclusions. We welcome comments about whether the updated 
definitions are too restrictive or not restrictive enough and whether 
there are particular parts of the definitions that remain unclear or 
undefined.

Proposed Definitions

    The Assistant Deputy Secretary proposes the following definitions 
for this program. We may apply one or more of these definitions in any 
year in which this program is in effect.
    Consortium of schools means two or more public elementary or 
secondary schools acting collaboratively for the purpose of applying 
for and implementing an i3 grant jointly with an eligible nonprofit 
organization.
    Evidence of promise means there is empirical evidence to support 
the theoretical linkage between at least one critical component and at 
least one relevant outcome presented in the logic model (as defined in 
this notice) for the proposed process, product, strategy, or practice. 
Specifically, evidence of promise means the following conditions are 
met:
    (a) There is at least one study that is either a--
    (1) Correlational study with statistical controls for selection 
bias;
    (2) Quasi-experimental study (as defined in this notice) that meets 
the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with reservations; \5\ 
or
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    \5\ See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards 
Handbook (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be found 
at the following link: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19.
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    (3) Randomized controlled trial (as defined in this notice) that 
meets the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with or without 
reservations; \6\ and
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    \6\ See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards 
Handbook (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be found 
at the following link: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19.
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    (b) Such a study found a statistically significant or substantively 
important

[[Page 74416]]

(defined as a difference of 0.25 standard deviations or larger), 
favorable association between at least one critical component and one 
relevant outcome presented in the logic model for the proposed process, 
product, strategy, or practice.
    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 (as defined 
in this notice), who are far below grade level, who have left school 
before receiving a regular high school diploma, who are at risk of not 
graduating with a diploma on time, who are homeless, who are in foster 
care, who have been incarcerated, who have disabilities, or who are 
English learners.
    High-minority school is defined by a school's LEA in a manner 
consistent with the corresponding State's Teacher Equity Plan, as 
required by section 1111(b)(8)(C) of the ESEA. The applicant must 
provide, in its i3 application, the definition(s) used.
    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.
    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 (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), 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 academic 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.
    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 process, product, strategy, or practice and 
are implementing it.
    Innovation means a process, product, strategy, or practice that 
improves (or is expected to improve) significantly upon the outcomes 
reached with status quo options and that can ultimately reach 
widespread effective usage.
    Large sample means a sample of 350 or more students (or other 
single analysis units) who were randomly assigned to a treatment or 
control group, or 50 or more groups (such as classrooms or schools) 
that contain 10 or more students (or other single analysis units) and 
that were randomly assigned to a treatment or control group.
    Logic model (also referred to as theory of action) means a well-
specified conceptual framework that identifies key components of the 
proposed process, product, strategy, or practice (i.e., the active 
``ingredients'' that are hypothesized to be critical to achieving the 
relevant outcomes) and describes the relationships among the key 
components and outcomes, theoretically and operationally.
    Moderate evidence of effectiveness means one of the following 
conditions is met:
    (a) There is at least one study of the effectiveness of the 
process, product, strategy, or practice being proposed that meets the 
What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without reservations; \7\ 
found a statistically significant favorable impact on a relevant 
outcome (as defined in this notice) (with no statistically significant 
unfavorable impacts on that outcome for relevant populations in the 
study or in other studies of the intervention reviewed by and reported 
on by the What Works Clearinghouse); and includes a sample that 
overlaps with the populations or settings proposed to receive the 
process, product, strategy, or practice.
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    \7\ See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards 
Handbook (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be found 
at the following link: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19.
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    (b) There is at least one study of the effectiveness of the 
process, product, strategy, or practice being proposed that meets the 
What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with reservations,\8\ found 
a statistically significant favorable impact on a relevant outcome (as 
defined in this notice) (with no statistically significant unfavorable 
impacts on that outcome for relevant populations in the study or in 
other studies of the intervention reviewed by and reported on by the 
What Works Clearinghouse), includes a sample that overlaps with the 
populations or settings proposed to receive the process, product, 
strategy, or practice, and includes a large sample (as defined in this 
notice) and a multi-site sample (as defined in this notice) (Note: 
multiple studies can cumulatively meet the large and multi-site sample 
requirements as long as each study meets the other requirements in this 
paragraph).
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    \8\ See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards 
Handbook (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be found 
at the following link: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19.
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    Multi-site sample means more than one site, where site can be 
defined as an LEA, locality, or State.
    National level describes the level of scope or effectiveness of a 
process, product, strategy, or practice that is able to be effective in 
a wide variety of communities, including rural and urban areas, as well 
as with different groups (e.g., economically disadvantaged, racial and 
ethnic groups, migrant populations, individuals with disabilities, 
English learners, and individuals of each gender).
    Quasi-experimental design study means a study using a design that 
attempts to approximate an experimental design by identifying a 
comparison group that is similar to the treatment group in important 
respects. These studies, depending on design and implementation, can 
meet What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with reservations \9\ 
(they cannot meet What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without 
reservations).
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    \9\ See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards 
Handbook (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be found 
at the following link: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19.
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    Randomized controlled trial means a study that employs random 
assignment of, for example, students, teachers, classrooms, schools, or 
districts to receive the intervention being evaluated (the treatment 
group) or not to receive the intervention (the control group). The

[[Page 74417]]

estimated effectiveness of the intervention is the difference between 
the average outcome for the treatment group and for the control group. 
These studies, depending on design and implementation, can meet What 
Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without reservations.\10\
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    \10\ See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards 
Handbook (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be found 
at the following link: ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Regional level describes the level of scope or effectiveness of a 
process, product, strategy, or practice that is able to serve a variety 
of communities within a State or multiple States, including rural and 
urban areas, as well as with different groups (e.g., economically 
disadvantaged, racial and ethnic groups, migrant populations, 
individuals with disabilities, English learners, and individuals of 
each gender). For an LEA-based project to be considered a regional-
level project, a process, product, strategy, or practice must serve 
students in more than one LEA, unless the process, product, strategy, 
or practice is implemented in a State in which the State educational 
agency is the sole educational agency for all schools.
    Relevant outcome means the student outcome or outcomes (or the 
ultimate outcome if not related to students) that the proposed project 
is designed to improve, consistent with the specific goals of the 
project and the i3 program.
    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 www2.ed.gov/nclb/freedom/local/reap.html.
    Strong evidence of effectiveness means that one of the following 
conditions is met:
    (a) There is at least one study of the effectiveness of the 
process, product, strategy, or practice being proposed that meets the 
What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without reservations; \11\ 
found a statistically significant favorable impact on a relevant 
outcome (as defined in this notice) (with no statistically significant 
unfavorable impacts on that outcome for relevant populations in the 
study or in other studies of the intervention reviewed by and reported 
on by the What Works Clearinghouse); includes a sample that overlaps 
with the populations and settings proposed to receive the process, 
product, strategy, or practice; and includes a large sample (as defined 
in this notice) and a multi-site sample (as defined in this notice) 
(Note: multiple studies can cumulatively meet the large and multi-site 
sample requirements as long as each study meets the other requirements 
in this paragraph).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards 
Handbook (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be found 
at the following link: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (b) There are at least two studies of the effectiveness of the 
process, product, strategy, or practice being proposed, each of which 
meets the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with 
reservations,\12\ found a statistically significant favorable impact on 
a relevant outcome (as defined in this notice) (with no statistically 
significant unfavorable impacts on that outcome for relevant 
populations in the studies or in other studies of the intervention 
reviewed by and reported on by the What Works Clearinghouse), includes 
a sample that overlaps with the populations and settings proposed to 
receive the process, product, strategy, or practice, and includes a 
large sample (as defined in this notice) and a multi-site sample (as 
defined in this notice).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \12\ See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards 
Handbook (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be found 
at the following link: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Strong theory means a rationale for the proposed process, product, 
strategy, or practice that includes a logic model (as defined in this 
notice).
    Student achievement means--
    (a) For grades and subjects in which assessments are required under 
ESEA section 1111(b)(3): (1) A student's score on such assessments and 
may include (2) other measures of student learning, such as those 
described in paragraph (b), provided they are rigorous and comparable 
across schools within an LEA.
    (b) For grades and subjects in which assessments are not required 
under ESEA section 1111(b)(3): Alternative measures of student learning 
and performance such as student results on pre-tests, end-of-course 
tests, and objective performance-based assessments; student learning 
objectives; student performance on English language proficiency 
assessments; and other measures of student achievement that are 
rigorous and comparable across schools within an LEA.
    Student growth means the change in student achievement (as defined 
in this notice) for an individual student between two or more points in 
time. An applicant may also include other measures that are rigorous 
and comparable across classrooms.

Proposed Selection Criteria

Background

    The proposed selection criteria are designed to ensure that 
applications selected for funding have the potential to generate 
substantial improvements in student achievement and other key outcomes 
and include well-articulated plans for the implementation and 
evaluation of the proposed project. Peer reviewers will use these 
criteria to determine how well an applicant's proposed project aligns 
with our expectations for the Development, Validation, or Scale-up 
grant the applicant seeks. As such, although we are proposing these 
criteria as a single list, the criteria selected and the number of 
points that each may be worth would vary by the type of i3 grant 
(Development, Validation, or Scale-up grant).
    The proposed selection criteria are similar to those used in prior 
i3 competitions; the revisions reflect our experiences with their use. 
In particular, the selection criteria used in prior competitions did 
not articulate as clearly as intended our expectations for scaling up 
projects and what peer reviewers should assess to determine whether a 
project could feasibly achieve its proposed scale. In the proposed 
selection criteria, we include several factors that address whether 
there is unmet demand for the services that a grantee would provide and 
whether an applicant has identified and will address barriers that 
prevent the applicant from reaching that scale at the time of its 
application.

Proposed Selection Criteria

    The Secretary proposes the following selection criteria for 
evaluating an application under this program. We may apply one or more 
of these criteria in any year in which this program is in effect. We 
propose that the Secretary may use:
     One or more of the selection criteria established in the 
notice of final priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection 
criteria;
     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 (Development,

[[Page 74418]]

Validation, and Scale-up) in any i3 competition. We propose that the 
Secretary may further define each criterion by selecting specific 
factors for it. The Secretary may select these factors from any 
selection criterion in the list above. In the notice inviting 
applications, the application package, or both we will announce the 
specific selection criteria that apply to a competition and the maximum 
possible points assigned to each criterion.
(a) Significance
    In determining the significance of the proposed project, the 
Secretary proposes to consider one or more of the following factors:
    (1) The extent to which the proposed project addresses a national 
need.
    (2) The extent to which the proposed project addresses a challenge 
for which there is a national need for solutions that are better than 
the solutions currently available.
    (3) The extent to which the proposed project would implement a 
novel approach as compared with what has been previously attempted 
nationally.
    (4) The extent of the expected impact of the project on relevant 
outcomes (as defined in this notice), including the estimated impact of 
the project on student outcomes (particularly those related to student 
achievement (as defined in this notice)) and the breadth of the 
project's impact, compared with alternative practices or methods of 
addressing similar needs.
    (5) The extent to which the proposed project demonstrates that it 
is likely to have a meaningful impact on relevant outcomes (as defined 
in this notice), particularly those related to student achievement (as 
defined in this notice), if it were implemented and evaluated in a 
variety of settings.
    (6) The extent to which the proposed project will substantially 
improve on the outcomes achieved by other practices, such as through 
better student outcomes, lower cost, or accelerated results.
    (7) The importance and magnitude of the proposed project's expected 
impact on a relevant outcome (as defined in this notice), particularly 
one related to student achievement (as defined in this notice).
    (8) The likelihood that the project will have the estimated impact, 
including the extent to which the applicant demonstrates that unmet 
demand for the proposed project or the proposed services will enable 
the applicant to reach the proposed level of scale.
    (9) The feasibility of national expansion if favorable outcomes are 
achieved.
(b) Quality of the Project Design
    In determining the quality of the project design, the Secretary 
proposes to consider one or more of the following factors:
    (1) The extent to which the proposed project addresses the national 
need and priorities the applicant is seeking to meet.
    (2) The extent to which the proposed project addresses the absolute 
priority the applicant is seeking to meet.
    (3) The clarity and coherence of the project goals, including the 
extent to which the proposed project articulates an explicit plan or 
actions to achieve its goals (e.g., a fully developed logic model of 
the proposed project).
    (4) The extent to which the proposed project has a clear set of 
goals and an explicit plan or actions to achieve the goals, including 
identification of any elements of the project logic model that require 
further testing or development.
    (5) The extent to which the proposed project will produce a fully 
codified practice, including a fully articulated logic model of the 
project by the end of the project period.
    (6) The clarity, completeness, and coherence of the project goals 
and whether the application includes a description of project 
activities that constitute a complete plan for achieving those goals, 
including the identification of potential risks to project success and 
strategies to mitigate those risks.
    (7) The extent to which the applicant addresses potential risks to 
project success and strategies to mitigate those risks.
    (8) The extent to which the applicant will use grant funds to 
address a particular barrier or barriers that prevented the applicant, 
in the past, from reaching the level of scale proposed in the 
application.
    (9) The extent to which the project would build the capacity of the 
applicant to scale up and sustain the project or would create an 
organization capable of expanding if successful outcomes are achieved.
    (10) The sufficiency of the resources to support effective project 
implementation, including the project's plan for ensuring funding after 
the period of the Federal grant.
    (11) The sufficiency of the resources to support effective project 
implementation.
(c) Quality of the Management Plan
    In determining the quality of the management plan, the Secretary 
proposes to consider one or more of the following factors:
    (1) The extent to which the management plan articulates key 
responsibilities and well-defined objectives, including the timelines 
and milestones for completion of major project activities, the metrics 
that will be used to assess progress on an ongoing basis, and annual 
performance targets the applicant will use to monitor whether the 
project is achieving its goals.
    (2) The clarity and coherence of the applicant's multi-year 
financial and operating model and accompanying plan to operate the 
project at a national level (as defined in this notice) during the 
project period.
    (3) The clarity and coherence of the applicant's multi-year 
financial and operating model and accompanying plan to operate the 
project at a national or regional level (as defined in this notice) 
during the project period.
    (4) The extent to which the applicant demonstrates that it will 
have the resources to operate the project at the proposed level of 
scale during the project period and beyond the length of the grant, 
including the demonstrated commitment of any partners and evidence of 
broad support from stakeholders critical to the project's long-term 
success (e.g., State educational agencies, teachers' unions).
    (5) The extent of the demonstrated commitment of any key partners 
or evidence of broad support from stakeholders whose participation is 
critical to the project's long-term success.
(d) Personnel
    When evaluating the personnel of the proposed project, the 
Secretary proposes to consider one or more of the following factors:
    (1) The adequacy of the project's staffing plan, particularly for 
the first year of the project, including the identification of the 
project director and, in the case of projects with unfilled key 
personnel positions at the beginning of the project, that the staffing 
plan identifies how critical work will proceed.
    (2) The qualifications and experience of the project director and 
other key project personnel and the extent to which they have the 
expertise to accomplish the proposed tasks.
    (3) The extent to which the project director has experience 
managing large, complex, and rapidly growing projects.
    (4) The extent to which the project director has experience 
managing large, complex projects.
    (5) The extent to which the project director has experience 
managing projects of similar size and scope as the proposed project.

[[Page 74419]]

(e) Quality of the Project Evaluation
    In determining the quality of the project evaluation, the Secretary 
proposes to consider one or more of the following factors:
    (1) The clarity and importance of the key questions to be addressed 
by the project evaluation, and the appropriateness of the methods for 
how each question will be addressed.
    (2) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will, if well 
implemented, produce evidence about the project's effectiveness that 
would meet the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without 
reservations.\13\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \13\ See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards 
Handbook. (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be 
found at the following link: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (3) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will, if well 
implemented, produce evidence about the project's effectiveness that 
would meet the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with or 
without reservations.\14\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \14\ See What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards 
Handbook (Version 2.1, September 2011), which can currently be found 
at the following link: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (4) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will provide 
valid and reliable performance data on relevant outcomes, particularly 
student achievement outcomes.
    (5) The extent to which the evaluation will study the project at 
the proposed level of scale, including, where appropriate, generating 
information about potential differential effectiveness of the project 
in diverse settings and for diverse student population groups.
    (6) The extent to which the evaluation will study the project at 
the proposed level of scale, including in diverse settings.
    (7) The extent to which the evaluation plan includes a clear and 
credible analysis plan, including a proposed sample size and minimum 
detectable effect size that aligns with the expected project impact, 
and an analytic approach for addressing the research questions.
    (8) The extent to which the evaluation plan includes a clear, well-
documented, and rigorous method for measuring implementation of the 
critical features of the project, as well as the intended outcomes.
    (9) The extent to which the evaluation plan clearly articulates the 
key components and outcomes of the project, as well as a measurable 
threshold for acceptable implementation.
    (10) The extent to which the evaluation plan will provide 
sufficient information on the project's effect as compared to 
alternative practices addressing similar need.
    (11) The extent to which the proposed project plan includes 
sufficient resources to carry out the project evaluation effectively.

Specific Requests for Comment

    We are particularly interested in comments about whether there are 
important aspects of identifying promising projects or assessing the 
likelihood of project success that the proposed selection criteria and 
factors do not address. In addition, we are interested in feedback 
about whether there is ambiguity in the language of specific criteria 
or factors that will make it difficult for applicants to respond to the 
criteria and peer reviewers to evaluate the applications with respect 
to the selection criteria.

Final Priorities, Requirements, Definitions, and Selection Criteria

    We will announce the final priorities, requirements, definitions, 
and selection criteria in a notice in the Federal Register. We will 
determine the final priorities, requirements, definitions, and 
selection criteria after considering responses to this notice and other 
information available to the Department. This notice does not preclude 
us from proposing additional priorities, requirements, definitions, or 
selection criteria, subject to meeting applicable rulemaking 
requirements.

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use one or more of these priorities, 
requirements, definitions, and selection criteria, we invite 
applications through a notice in the Federal Register.

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

Regulatory Impact Analysis

    Under Executive Order 12866, the Secretary must determine whether a 
regulatory action is ``significant'' and, therefore, subject to the 
requirements of the Executive order and subject to review by the Office 
of Management and Budget (OMB). Section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 
defines a ``significant regulatory action'' as an action likely to 
result in a rule that may--
    (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, 
or adversely affect a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, 
jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local or 
Tribal governments or communities in a material way (also referred to 
as an ``economically significant'' rule);
    (2) Create serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an 
action taken or planned by another agency;
    (3) Materially alter the budgetary impacts of entitlement grants, 
user fees, or local programs or the rights and obligations of 
recipients thereof; or
    (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal 
mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles stated in the 
Executive order.
    This proposed regulatory action would have an annual effect on the 
economy of more than $100 million because Department anticipates more 
than that amount will be appropriated for i3 and awarded as grants. 
Therefore, this proposed action is ``economically significant'' and 
subject to review by OMB under section 3(f)(1) of Executive Order 
12866. Notwithstanding this determination, we have assessed the 
potential costs and benefits, both quantitative and qualitative, of 
this proposed regulatory action and have determined that the benefits 
would justify the costs.
    The Department has also reviewed these proposed requirements under 
Executive Order 13563, which supplements and explicitly reaffirms the 
principles, structures, and definitions governing regulatory review 
established in Executive Order 12866. To the extent permitted by law, 
Executive Order 13563 requires that an agency--
    (1) Propose or adopt regulations only upon a reasoned determination 
that their benefits justify their costs (recognizing that some benefits 
and costs are difficult to quantify);
    (2) Tailor its regulations to impose the least burden on society, 
consistent with obtaining regulatory objectives, taking into account--
among other things, and to the extent practicable--the costs of 
cumulative regulations;
    (3) In choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, select 
those approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential 
economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other 
advantages; distributive impacts; and equity);
    (4) To the extent feasible, specify performance objectives, rather 
than specifying the behavior or manner of compliance a regulated entity 
must adopt; and
    (5) Identify and assess available alternatives to direct 
regulation, including providing economic incentives--such as user fees 
or marketable permits--to encourage the desired behavior, or provide 
information that enables the public to make choices.

[[Page 74420]]

    Executive Order 13563 also requires an agency ``to use the best 
available techniques to quantify anticipated present and future 
benefits and costs as accurately as possible.'' The Office of 
Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB has emphasized that these 
techniques may include ``identifying changing future compliance costs 
that might result from technological innovation or anticipated 
behavioral changes.''
    We are issuing these proposed priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria only on a reasoned determination 
that their benefits justify their costs. In choosing among alternative 
regulatory approaches, we selected those approaches that would maximize 
net benefits. Based on the analysis that follows, the Department 
believes these proposed regulations are consistent with the principles 
in Executive Order 13563.
    We have also determined that this regulatory action would not 
unduly interfere with State, local, and Tribal governments in the 
exercise of their governmental functions.
Discussion of Costs and Benefits
    The Secretary believes that the proposed priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria would not impose significant costs 
on eligible LEAs, nonprofit organizations, or other entities that would 
receive assistance through the i3 program. The Secretary also believes 
that the benefits of implementing the proposals contained in this 
notice outweigh any associated costs.
    The Secretary believes that the proposed priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria would result in selection of high-
quality applications to implement activities that are most likely to 
have a significant national impact on educational reform and 
improvement. The proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and 
selection criteria in this notice clarify the scope of activities the 
Secretary expects to support with program funds and the expected burden 
of work involved in preparing an application and implementing a project 
under the program. The pool of possible applicants is very large, and 
there is great interest in the program. During the first 3 years of 
implementation the Department received over 3,000 applications. 
Potential applicants, both LEAs and nonprofit organizations, need to 
consider carefully the effort that will be required to prepare a strong 
application, their capacity to implement a project successfully, and 
their chances of submitting a successful application.
    Program participation is voluntary. The Secretary believes that the 
costs imposed on applicants by the proposed priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria would be limited to paperwork 
burden related to preparing an application and that the benefits of 
implementing these proposals would outweigh any costs incurred by 
applicants. The costs of carrying out activities would be paid for with 
program funds and with matching funds provided by private-sector 
partners. Thus, the costs of implementation would not be a burden for 
any eligible applicants, including small entities. However, under the 
proposed selection criteria the Secretary would assess the extent to 
which an applicant would be able to sustain a project once Federal 
funding through the i3 program is no longer available. Thus, eligible 
applicants should propose activities that they will be able to sustain 
without funding from the program and, thus, in essence, should include 
in their project plans the specific steps they will take for sustained 
implementation of the proposed project. The continued proposal for the 
three types of grants under i3--Development, Validation, or Scale-up 
grants--would allow potential applicants to determine which type of 
grant they are best suited to apply for, based on their own priorities, 
resources, and capacity to implement grant activities.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    The Secretary certifies that this proposed regulatory action will 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The small entities that this proposed regulatory action will 
affect are small LEAs or nonprofit organizations applying for and 
receiving funds under this program. The Secretary believes that the 
costs imposed on applicants by the proposed priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria would be limited to paperwork 
burden related to preparing an application and that the benefits of 
implementing these proposals would outweigh any costs incurred by 
applicants.
    Participation in this program is voluntary. For this reason, the 
proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria 
would impose no burden on small entities in general. Eligible 
applicants would determine whether to apply for funds, and have the 
opportunity to weigh the requirements for preparing applications, and 
any associated costs, against the likelihood of receiving funding and 
the requirements for implementing projects under the program. Eligible 
applicants most likely would apply only if they determine that the 
likely benefits exceed the costs of preparing an application. The 
likely benefits include the potential receipt of a grant as well as 
other benefits that may accrue to an entity through its development of 
an application, such as the use of that application to spur educational 
reforms and improvements without additional Federal funding.
    The U.S. Small Business Administration Size Standards defines as 
``small entities'' for-profit or nonprofit institutions with total 
annual revenue below $7,000,000 or, if they are institutions controlled 
by small governmental jurisdictions (that are comprised of cities, 
counties, towns, townships, villages, school districts, or special 
districts), with a population of less than 50,000. The Urban 
Institute's National Center for Charitable Statistics reported that of 
196,663 nonprofit organizations that had an educational mission and 
reported revenue to the IRS by March of 2012, 168,784 (or about 86 
percent) had revenues of less than $5 million. In addition, there are 
approximately 16,000 LEAs in the country that meet the definition of 
small entity. However, the Secretary believes that only a small number 
of these entities would be interested in applying for funds under this 
program, thus reducing the likelihood that the proposals contained in 
this notice would have a significant economic impact on small entities. 
As discussed earlier, the number of applications received during the 
last 3 competitions from any type of applicant is approximately 3,000.
    In addition, the Secretary believes that the proposed priorities, 
requirements, definitions, and selection criteria discussed in this 
notice do not impose any additional burden on small entities applying 
for a grant than they would face in the absence of the proposed action. 
That is, the length of the applications those entities would submit in 
the absence of the regulatory action and the time needed to prepare an 
application would likely be the same.
    Further, the proposed action may help small entities determine 
whether they have the interest, need, or capacity to implement 
activities under the program and, thus, prevent small entities that do 
not have such an interest, need, and capacity from absorbing the burden 
of applying, or assist those entities in determining whether they 
should seek a capable partner to pursue the application process.
    This proposed regulatory action would not have a significant 
economic impact on small entities once they

[[Page 74421]]

receive a grant because they would be able to meet the costs of 
compliance using the funds provided under this program and with any 
matching funds provided by private-sector partners.
    The Secretary invites comments from small nonprofit organizations 
and small LEAs as to whether they believe this proposed regulatory 
action would have a significant economic impact on them and, if so, 
requests evidence to support that belief.
Accounting Statement
    As required by OMB Circular A-4 (available at www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/assets/omb/circulars/a004/a-4.pdf), in the 
following table we have prepared an accounting statement showing the 
classification of the expenditures associated with the provisions of 
this regulatory action. This table provides our best estimate of the 
changes in annual monetized transfers as a result of this regulatory 
action. Expenditures are classified as transfers from the Federal 
Government to LEAs and nonprofit organizations.

      Accounting Statement Classification of Estimated Expenditures
                              [In millions]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Category                             Transfers
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Annualized Monetized Transfers............  $140.9 million.
From Whom To Whom?                          From the Federal Government
                                             to LEAs and nonprofit
                                             organizations.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    The requirements and selection criteria proposed in this notice 
will require the collection of information that is subject to review by 
the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction 
Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). The burden associated with the i3 
program was approved by OMB under OMB Control Number 1855-0021, which 
expires on October 31, 2013. These proposed priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria would allow the Department to 
improve the design of the i3 program to better achieve its purposes and 
goals. However, the revisions do not change the number of applications 
an organization may submit or the burden that an applicant would 
otherwise incur in the development and submission of a grant 
application under the i3 program. Therefore, the Department expects 
that this proposed regulatory action will not affect the total burden 
of hours.
    Intergovernmental Review: This program is subject to Executive 
Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. One of the 
objectives of the Executive order is to foster an intergovernmental 
partnership and a strengthened federalism. The Executive order relies 
on processes developed by State and local governments for coordination 
and review of proposed Federal financial assistance.
    This document provides early notification of our specific plans and 
actions for this program.
    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 feature at 
this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the 
Department.

    Dated: December 11, 2012.
James H. Shelton, III,
Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement.
[FR Doc. 2012-30199 Filed 12-13-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P