[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 76 (Thursday, April 19, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 17396-17404]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-08238]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


Applications for New Awards; Education Innovation and Research 
Program--Mid-Phase Grants

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

ACTION: Notice.

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[[Page 17397]]

SUMMARY: The Department of Education (Department) is issuing a notice 
inviting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2018 for the Education 
Innovation and Research Program--Mid-phase Grants, Catalog of Federal 
Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number 84.411B (Mid-phase Grants).

DATES: 
    Applications Available: April 23, 2018.
    Deadline for Notice of Intent To Apply: May 9, 2018.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: June 5, 2018.
    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: August 6, 2018.

ADDRESSES: For the addresses for obtaining and submitting an 
application, please refer to our Common Instructions for Applicants to 
Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs, published in the 
Federal Register on February 12, 2018 (83 FR 6003) and available at 
www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-02-12/pdf/2018-02558.pdf.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kelly Terpak, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Room 4W312, Washington, DC 20202-
5900. Telephone: (202) 453-7122. Email: [email protected].
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text 
telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll-free, at 1-
800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

    Purpose of Program: The Education Innovation and Research (EIR) 
program, established under section 4611 of the Elementary and Secondary 
Education Act, as amended (ESEA), provides funding to create, develop, 
implement, replicate, or take to scale entrepreneurial, evidence-based, 
field-initiated innovations to improve student achievement and 
attainment for high-need students; and rigorously evaluate such 
innovations. The EIR program is designed to generate and validate 
solutions to persistent educational challenges and to support the 
expansion of those solutions to serve substantially larger numbers of 
students.
    The central design element of the EIR program 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, with the expectation that projects that build this 
evidence will advance through EIR's grant tiers: ``Early-phase,'' 
``Mid-phase,'' and ``Expansion.'' Applicants proposing innovative 
practices that are supported by limited evidence can receive relatively 
small grants to support the development, implementation, and initial 
evaluation of the practices; applicants proposing practices supported 
by evidence from rigorous evaluations, such as an experimental study 
(as defined in this notice), can receive larger grant awards to support 
expansion across the country. This structure provides incentives for 
applicants to: (1) Explore new ways of addressing persistent challenges 
that other educators can build on and learn from; (2) build evidence of 
effectiveness of their practices; and (3) replicate and scale 
successful practices in new schools, districts, and States while 
addressing the barriers to scale, such as cost structures and 
implementation fidelity.
    All EIR projects are expected to generate information regarding 
their effectiveness in order to inform EIR grantees' efforts to learn 
about and improve upon their efforts, and to help similar, non-EIR 
efforts across the country benefit from EIR grantees' knowledge. By 
requiring that all grantees conduct independent evaluations of their 
EIR projects, EIR ensures that its funded projects make a significant 
contribution to improving the quality and quantity of information 
available to practitioners and policymakers about which practices 
improve student achievement, for which types of students, and in what 
contexts.
    The Department awards three types of grants under this program: 
``Early-phase'' grants, ``Mid-phase'' grants, and ``Expansion'' grants. 
These grants differ in terms of the level of prior evidence of 
effectiveness required for consideration for funding, the expectations 
regarding the kind of evidence and information funded projects should 
produce, the level of scale funded projects should reach, and, 
consequently, the amount of funding available to support each type of 
project.
    The Department expects that Mid-phase grants will be used to fund 
implementation and a rigorous evaluation of a program that has been 
successfully implemented under an Early-phase grant or other effort 
meeting similar criteria, for the purpose of measuring the program's 
impact and cost- effectiveness, if possible using existing 
administrative data. Mid-phase grants are supported by moderate 
evidence (as defined in this notice) for at least one population or 
setting, and grantees are encouraged to implement at the regional level 
(as defined in this notice) or at the national level (as defined in 
this notice). This notice invites applications for Mid-phase grants 
only. The notices inviting applications for Early-phase and Expansion 
grants are published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.
    Background: Mid-phase projects are expected to refine and expand 
the use of practices with prior evidence of effectiveness in order to 
improve outcomes for high-need students. They are also expected to 
generate important information about an intervention's effectiveness, 
including for whom and in which contexts a practice is most effective, 
as well as cost-effective.
    With the funded Mid-phase projects, we aim to accelerate the 
building of a knowledge base of effective practices for addressing 
challenges and increase the likelihood that grantees can learn from one 
another while still exploring different approaches. We believe that 
improving outcomes across the education sector depends, in part, upon 
policymakers, practitioners, and researchers continually building upon 
one another's efforts to have the greatest impact.
    Mid-phase applicants are encouraged to design an evaluation that 
has the potential to meet the strong evidence (as defined in this 
notice) threshold. Mid-phase grantees should measure the cost-
effectiveness of their practices using administrative or other readily 
available data. These types of efforts are critical to sustaining and 
scaling EIR-funded effective practices after the EIR grant period ends, 
assuming that the practice has positive effects on important student 
outcomes. In order to support adoption or replication by other 
entities, the evaluation of a Mid-phase project should identify and 
codify the core elements of the EIR-supported practice that the project 
implements, and examine the effectiveness of the project for any new 
populations or settings that are included in the project. The 
Department intends to provide grantees and their independent evaluators 
with evaluation technical assistance. This evaluation technical 
assistance could include grantees and their independent evaluators 
providing to the Department or its contractor updated comprehensive 
evaluation plans in a format as requested by the technical assistance 
provider and using such tools as the Department may request. Grantees 
will be encouraged to update this evaluation plan at least annually to 
reflect any changes to the evaluation, with updates consistent with the 
scope and objectives of the approved application.
    The FY 2018 Mid-phase competition includes three absolute 
priorities and

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two invitational priorities. All Mid-phase applicants must address 
Absolute Priority 1. Mid-phase applicants are also required to address 
one of the other two absolute priorities. Applicants have the option of 
addressing one or more of the invitational priorities.
    The absolute priorities and invitational priorities align with the 
purpose of the program and the Administration's priorities. Absolute 
Priority 1 establishes the evidence requirement for this tier of 
grants. Absolute Priority 2 aligns with the EIR program as it is 
intended to take to scale entrepreneurial, evidence-based, field-
initiated innovations to improve student achievement and attainment. In 
addition to incorporating the focus on field-initiated innovations in 
Absolute Priority 2, Absolute Priority 3 aligns with the 
Administration's efforts to invest in science, technology, engineering, 
and math (STEM) education in order to ensure our Nation's economic 
competitiveness by improving and expanding STEM learning and 
engagement. Invitational Priority 1 is intended to encourage applicants 
to focus on the needs of each child, with customized learning 
opportunities tailored to the needs of individual students. 
Invitational Priority 2 is intended to encourage applicants to improve 
early learning and cognitive development outcomes. Through these 
priorities, the Department intends to advance innovation and the use 
and building of evidence and address the learning and achievement of 
high-need students.
    Priorities: This competition includes three absolute priorities and 
two invitational priorities. In accordance with 34 CFR 
75.105(b)(2)(iv), Absolute Priority 1 is from 34 CFR 75.226(d)(2). 
Absolute Priority 2 is from section 4611(a)(1)(A) of the ESEA. Absolute 
Priority 3 is from section 4611(a)(1)(A) of the ESEA and the 
Secretary's Final Supplemental Priorities and Definitions for 
Discretionary Grant Programs, published in the Federal Register on 
March 2, 2018 (83 FR 9096) (Supplemental Priorities).
    Under the Mid-phase grant competition, absolute priorities 2 and 3 
constitute their own funding categories. The Secretary intends to award 
grants under each of these absolute priorities for which applications 
of sufficient quality are submitted. Because applications will be rank 
ordered separately for absolute priorities 2 and 3, applicants must 
clearly identify the specific absolute priority that the proposed 
project addresses.
    Absolute Priorities: For FY 2018 and any subsequent year in which 
we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this 
competition, these priorities are absolute priorities. Under 34 CFR 
75.105(c)(3), we consider only applications that meet Absolute Priority 
1, Moderate Evidence, and one additional absolute priority.
    These priorities are:

Absolute Priority 1--Moderate Evidence

    Under this priority, we provide funding to projects supported by 
moderate evidence.

    Note: An applicant must identify up to two study citations to be 
reviewed against the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) Handbook (as 
defined in this notice) for the purposes of meeting moderate 
evidence. The studies may have been conducted by the applicant or by 
a third party. An applicant should clearly identify these citations 
in the Evidence form. The Department may not review a study citation 
that an applicant fails to clearly identify for review. In addition 
to including up to two study citations, applicants must include in 
the form a description of: (1) The positive student outcomes they 
intend to replicate under their Mid-phase grant and how the 
characteristics of students and the positive student outcomes in the 
study citations correspond with the characteristics of the high-need 
students to be served under the Mid-phase grant; (2) the 
correspondence of practice(s) the applicant plans to implement with 
the practice(s) cited in the studies; and (3) the intended student 
outcomes that the proposed practice(s) attempts to impact.

    An applicant must ensure that all evidence is available to the 
Department from publicly available sources and provide links or other 
guidance indicating where it is available. If the Department determines 
that an applicant has provided insufficient information, the applicant 
will not have an opportunity to provide additional information at a 
later time. However, if the WWC determines that a study does not 
provide enough information on key aspects of the study design, such as 
sample attrition or equivalence of intervention and comparison groups, 
the WWC will submit a query to the study author(s) to gather 
information for use in determining a study rating. Authors are asked to 
respond to queries within 10 business days. Should the author query 
remain incomplete within 14 days of the initial contact to the study 
author(s), the study will be deemed ineligible under the grant 
competition. After the grant competition closes, the WWC will continue 
to include responses to author queries and will make updates to study 
reviews as necessary, but no additional information will be taken into 
account after the competition closes and the initial timeline 
established for response to an author query passes.

Absolute Priority 2--Field-Initiated Innovations--General

    Under the priority, we provide funding to projects that are 
designed to create, develop, implement, replicate, or take to scale 
entrepreneurial, evidence-based, field-initiated innovations to improve 
student achievement and attainment for high-need students.

Absolute Priority 3-- Field-Initiated Innovations--Promoting Science, 
Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM) Education, With a Particular 
Focus on Computer Science

    Under the priority, we provide funding to projects that are 
designed to:
    (1) Create, develop, implement, replicate, or take to scale 
entrepreneurial, evidence-based, field-initiated innovations to improve 
student achievement and attainment for high-need students, and;
    (2) Improve student achievement or other educational outcomes in 
one or more of the following areas: Science, technology, engineering, 
math, or computer science (as defined in this notice). These projects 
must address the following priority area:
    Increasing access to STEM coursework, including computer science 
(as defined in this notice), and hands-on learning opportunities, such 
as through expanded course offerings, dual-enrollment, high-quality 
online coursework, or other innovative delivery mechanisms.
    Invitational Priorities: For FY 2018 and any subsequent year in 
which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this 
competition, these priorities are invitational priorities. Under 34 
CFR.105(c)(1) we do not give an application that meets these 
invitational priorities a competitive or absolute preference over other 
applications.
    These priorities are:

Invitational Priority One--Personalized Learning

    Projects that support educators in personalizing learning for all 
students so that learning opportunities may be tailored to fit the 
needs of individual students. In personalized learning environments, 
the pace, location, and delivery method of education may vary based on 
individual student interests and needs. Personalized learning 
approaches recognize that there are multiple pathways through which 
students can develop and demonstrate academic competencies and social-
emotional skills aligned to college- and career-ready standards and 
that students may attain these competencies and

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skills at different times. Examples of personalized learning 
instructional approaches include dynamic student groupings, student-
driven projects, and the use of adaptive technologies such as digital 
curricula to both accelerate, and targeting gaps in, student learning. 
Personalized learning approaches use data to provide ongoing feedback 
about student progress to educators, students, and their families and 
to adjust learning strategies in real time.

Invitational Priority Two--Early Learning and Cognitive Development

    The Department is especially interested in projects that improve 
early learning and cognitive development outcomes through neuroscience-
based and scientifically validated interventions.
    Definitions: The definitions of ``baseline,'' ``experimental 
study,'' ``moderate evidence,'' ``national level,'' ``nonprofit,'' 
``performance measure,'' ``performance target,'' ``project component,'' 
``quasi-experimental design study,'' ``regional level,'' ``relevant 
outcome,'' ``strong evidence,'' and ``What Works Clearinghouse Handbook 
(WWC Handbook)'' are from 34 CFR 77.1. The definition for ``computer 
science'' is from the Supplemental Priorities. The definitions of 
``local educational agency'' and ``State educational agency'' are from 
section 8101 of the ESEA.
    Baseline means the starting point from which performance is 
measured and targets are set.
    Computer science means the study of computers and algorithmic 
processes and includes the study of computing principles and theories, 
computational thinking, computer hardware, software design, coding, 
analytics, and computer applications.
    Computer science often includes computer programming or coding as a 
tool to create software, including applications, games, websites, and 
tools to manage or manipulate data; or development and management of 
computer hardware and the other electronics related to sharing, 
securing, and using digital information.
    In addition to coding, the expanding field of computer science 
emphasizes computational thinking and interdisciplinary problem-solving 
to equip students with the skills and abilities necessary to apply 
computation in our digital world.
    Computer science does not include using a computer for everyday 
activities, such as browsing the internet; use of tools like word 
processing, spreadsheets, or presentation software; or using computers 
in the study and exploration of unrelated subjects.
    Experimental study means a study that is designed to compare 
outcomes between two groups of individuals (such as students) that are 
otherwise equivalent except for their assignment to either a treatment 
group receiving a project component (as defined in this notice) or a 
control group that does not. Randomized controlled trials, regression 
discontinuity design studies, and single-case design studies are the 
specific types of experimental studies that, depending on their design 
and implementation (e.g., sample attrition in randomized controlled 
trials and regression discontinuity design studies), can meet What 
Works Clearinghouse (WWC) standards without reservations as described 
in the WWC Handbook:
    (i) A randomized controlled trial employs random assignment of, for 
example, students, teachers, classrooms, or schools to receive the 
project component being evaluated (the treatment group) or not to 
receive the project component (the control group).
    (ii) A regression discontinuity design study assigns the project 
component being evaluated using a measured variable (e.g., assigning 
students reading below a cutoff score to tutoring or developmental 
education classes) and controls for that variable in the analysis of 
outcomes.
    (iii) A single-case design study uses observations of a single case 
(e.g., a student eligible for a behavioral intervention) over time in 
the absence and presence of a controlled treatment manipulation to 
determine whether the outcome is systematically related to the 
treatment.
    Local educational agency (LEA) means:
    (a) In General. A public board of education or other public 
authority legally constituted within a State for either administrative 
control or direction of, or to perform a service function for, public 
elementary schools or secondary schools in a city, county, township, 
school district, or other political subdivision of a State, or of or 
for a combination of school districts or counties that is recognized in 
a State as an administrative agency for its public elementary schools 
or secondary schools.
    (b) Administrative Control and Direction. The term includes any 
other public institution or agency having administrative control and 
direction of a public elementary school or secondary school.
    (c) Bureau of Indian Education Schools. The term includes an 
elementary school or secondary school funded by the Bureau of Indian 
Education but only to the extent that including the school makes the 
school eligible for programs for which specific eligibility is not 
provided to the school in another provision of law and the school does 
not have a student population that is smaller than the student 
population of the local educational agency receiving assistance under 
the ESEA with the smallest student population, except that the school 
shall not be subject to the jurisdiction of any State educational 
agency (as defined in this notice) other than the Bureau of Indian 
Education.
    (d) Educational Service Agencies. The term includes educational 
service agencies and consortia of those agencies.
    (e) State Educational Agency. The term includes the State 
educational agency in a State in which the State educational agency is 
the sole educational agency for all public schools.
    Moderate evidence means that there is evidence of effectiveness of 
a key project component in improving a relevant outcome (as defined in 
this notice) for a sample that overlaps with the populations or 
settings proposed to receive that component, based on a relevant 
finding from one of the following:
    (i) A practice guide prepared by the WWC using version 2.1 or 3.0 
of the WWC Handbook reporting a ``strong evidence base'' or ``moderate 
evidence base'' for the corresponding practice guide recommendation;
    (ii) An intervention report prepared by the WWC using version 2.1 
or 3.0 of the WWC Handbook reporting a ``positive effect'' or 
``potentially positive effect'' on a relevant outcome based on a 
``medium to large'' extent of evidence, with no reporting of a 
``negative effect'' or ``potentially negative effect'' on a relevant 
outcome; or
    (iii) A single experimental study or quasi-experimental design 
study (as defined in this notice) reviewed and reported by the WWC 
using version 2.1 or 3.0 of the WWC Handbook, or otherwise assessed by 
the Department using version 3.0 of the WWC Handbook, as appropriate, 
and that--
    (A) Meets WWC standards with or without reservations;
    (B) Includes at least one statistically significant and positive 
(i.e., favorable) effect on a relevant outcome;
    (C) Includes no overriding statistically significant and negative 
effects on relevant outcomes reported in the study or in a 
corresponding WWC intervention report prepared under

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version 2.1 or 3.0 of the WWC Handbook; and
    (D) Is based on a sample from more than one site (e.g., State, 
county, city, school district, or postsecondary campus) and includes at 
least 350 students or other individuals across sites. Multiple studies 
of the same project component that each meet requirements in paragraphs 
(iii)(A), (B), and (C) of this definition may together satisfy this 
requirement.
    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).
    Nonprofit, as applied to an agency, organization, or institution, 
means that it is owned and operated by one or more corporations or 
associations whose net earnings do not benefit, and cannot lawfully 
benefit, any private shareholder or entity.
    Performance measure means any quantitative indicator, statistic, or 
metric used to gauge program or project performance.
    Performance target means a level of performance that an applicant 
would seek to meet during the course of a project or as a result of a 
project.
    Project component means an activity, strategy, intervention, 
process, product, practice, or policy included in a project. Evidence 
may pertain to an individual project component or to a combination of 
project components (e.g., training teachers on instructional practices 
for English learners and follow-on coaching for these teachers).
    Quasi-experimental design study means a study using a design that 
attempts to approximate an experimental study by identifying a 
comparison group that is similar to the treatment group in important 
respects. This type of study, depending on design and implementation 
(e.g., establishment of baseline equivalence of the groups being 
compared), can meet WWC standards with reservations, but cannot meet 
WWC standards without reservations, as described in the WWC Handbook.
    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(s) or other outcome(s) 
the key project component is designed to improve, consistent with the 
specific goals of the program.
    State educational agency (SEA) means the agency primarily 
responsible for the State supervision of public elementary schools and 
secondary schools.
    Strong evidence means that there is evidence of the effectiveness 
of a key project component in improving a relevant outcome for a sample 
that overlaps with the populations and settings proposed to receive 
that component, based on a relevant finding from one of the following:
    (i) A practice guide prepared by the WWC using version 2.1 or 3.0 
of the WWC Handbook reporting a ``strong evidence base'' for the 
corresponding practice guide recommendation;
    (ii) An intervention report prepared by the WWC using version 2.1 
or 3.0 of the WWC Handbook reporting a ``positive effect'' on a 
relevant outcome based on a ``medium to large'' extent of evidence, 
with no reporting of a ``negative effect'' or ``potentially negative 
effect'' on a relevant outcome; or
    (iii) A single experimental study reviewed and reported by the WWC 
using version 2.1 or 3.0 of the WWC Handbook, or otherwise assessed by 
the Department using version 3.0 of the WWC Handbook, as appropriate, 
and that--
    (A) Meets WWC standards without reservations;
    (B) Includes at least one statistically significant and positive 
(i.e., favorable) effect on a relevant outcome;
    (C) Includes no overriding statistically significant and negative 
effects on relevant outcomes reported in the study or in a 
corresponding WWC intervention report prepared under version 2.1 or 3.0 
of the WWC Handbook; and
    (D) Is based on a sample from more than one site (e.g., State, 
county, city, school district, or postsecondary campus) and includes at 
least 350 students or other individuals across sites. Multiple studies 
of the same project component that each meet requirements in paragraphs 
(iii)(A), (B), and (C) of this definition may together satisfy this 
requirement.
    What Works Clearinghouse Handbook (WWC Handbook) means the 
standards and procedures set forth in the WWC Procedures and Standards 
Handbook, Version 3.0 or Version 2.1 (incorporated by reference, see 34 
CFR 77.2). Study findings eligible for review under WWC standards can 
meet WWC standards without reservations, meet WWC standards with 
reservations, or not meet WWC standards. WWC practice guides and 
intervention reports include findings from systematic reviews of 
evidence as described in the Handbook documentation.

    Program Authority:  Section 4611 of the ESEA, 20 U.S.C. 7261.

    Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General 
Administrative Regulations in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 81, 82, 84, 86, 
97, 98, and 99. (b) The Office of Management and Budget Guidelines to 
Agencies on Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) in 
2 CFR part 180, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department 
in 2 CFR part 3485. (c) The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost 
Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 
200, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR 
part 3474. (d) The Supplemental Priorities.

    Note:  The regulations in 34 CFR part 79 apply to all applicants 
except federally recognized Indian Tribes.

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

II. Award Information

    Type of Award: Discretionary grants.
    Estimated Available Funds: $115,000,000.
    These estimated available funds are the total available for all 
three types of grants under the EIR program (Early-phase, Mid-phase, 
and Expansion grants). Contingent upon the availability of funds and 
the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in 
subsequent years from the list of unfunded applications from this 
competition.
    Estimated Average Size of Awards: Up to $8,000,000.
    Maximum Award: We will not make an award exceeding $8,000,000 for a 
single project period of 60 months.
    Estimated Number of Awards: 4-10.

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

    Project Period: Up to 60 months.


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    Note:  Under section 4611(c) of the ESEA, the Department must 
use at least 25 percent of EIR funds for a fiscal year to make 
awards to applicants serving rural areas, contingent on receipt of a 
sufficient number of applications of sufficient quality. For 
purposes of this competition, we will consider an applicant as rural 
if the applicant meets the qualifications for rural applicants as 
described in the eligible applicants section and the applicant 
certifies that it meets those qualifications through the 
application.

    In implementing this statutory provision, the Department may fund 
high-quality applications from rural applicants out of rank order in 
the Mid-phase competition.

III. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants:
    (a) An LEA;
    (b) An SEA;
    (c) The Bureau of Indian Education;
    (d) A consortium of SEAs or LEAs;
    (e) A nonprofit organization; and
    (f) An SEA, an LEA, a consortium described in (d), or the Bureau of 
Indian Education, in partnership with--
    (1) A nonprofit organization;
    (2) A business;
    (3) An educational service agency; or
    (4) An institution of higher education.
    To qualify as a rural applicant under the EIR program, an applicant 
must meet both of the following requirements:
    (a) The applicant is--
    (1) An LEA with an urban-centric district locale code of 32, 33, 
41, 42, or 43, as determined by the Secretary;
    (2) A consortium of such LEAs;
    (3) An educational service agency or a nonprofit organization in 
partnership with such an LEA; or
    (4) A grantee described in clause (1) or (2) in partnership with an 
SEA; and
    (b) A majority of the schools to be served by the program are 
designated with a locale code of 32, 33, 41, 42, or 43, or a 
combination of such codes, as determined by the Secretary.
    Applicants are encouraged to retrieve locale codes from the 
National Center for Education Statistics School District search tool 
(https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/districtsearch/), where districts can be 
looked up individually to retrieve locale codes, and Public School 
search tool (https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/schoolsearch/), where individual 
schools can be looked up to retrieve locale codes. More information on 
rural applicant eligibility is in the application package.
    2. Cost Sharing or Matching: Under section 4611(d) of the ESEA, 
each grant recipient must provide, from Federal, State, local, or 
private sources, an amount equal to 10 percent of funds provided under 
the grant, which may be provided in cash or through in-kind 
contributions, to carry out activities supported by the grant. Grantees 
must include a budget showing their matching contributions to the 
budget amount of EIR grant funds and must provide evidence of their 
matching contributions for the first year of the grant in their grant 
applications. Section 4611(d) of the ESEA also authorizes the Secretary 
to waive this matching requirement on a case-by-case basis, upon a 
showing of exceptional circumstances, such as:
    (a) The difficulty of raising matching funds for a program to serve 
a rural area;
    (b) The difficulty of raising matching funds in areas with a 
concentration of LEAs or schools with a high percentage of students 
aged 5 through 17--
    (1) Who are in poverty, as counted in the most recent census data 
approved by the Secretary;
    (2) Who are eligible for a free or reduced-price lunch under the 
Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.);
    (3) Whose families receive assistance under the State program 
funded under part A of title IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 
601 et seq.); or
    (4) Who are eligible to receive medical assistance under the 
Medicaid program; and
    (c) The difficulty of raising funds on Tribal land.
    Applicants that wish to apply for a waiver must include a request 
in their application that describes why the matching requirement would 
cause serious hardship or an inability to carry out project activities. 
Further information about applying for waivers can be found in the 
application package. However, given the importance of matching funds to 
the long-term success of the project, the Secretary expects eligible 
entities to identify appropriate matching funds.
    3. Subgrantees: A grantee under this competition may not award 
subgrants to entities to directly carry out project activities 
described in its application.
    4. Other: a. Funding Categories: An applicant will be considered 
for an award only for the type of EIR grant (i.e., Early-phase, Mid-
phase, and Expansion grant) for which it applies. An applicant may not 
submit an application for the same proposed project under more than one 
type of grant.

    Note:  Each application will be reviewed under the competition 
it was submitted under in the Grants.gov system, and only 
applications that are successfully submitted by the established 
deadline will be peer reviewed. Applicants should be careful that 
they download the intended EIR application package and that they 
submit their applications under the intended EIR competition.

    b. Evaluation: The grantee must conduct an independent evaluation 
of the effectiveness of its project.
    c. High-need students: The grantee must serve high-need students.

IV. Application and Submission Information

    1. Application Submission Instructions: For information on how to 
submit an application please refer to our Common Instructions for 
Applicants to Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs, 
published in the Federal Register on February 12, 2018 (83 FR 6003) and 
available at www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-02-12/pdf/2018-02558.pdf.
    2. Submission of Proprietary Information: Given the types of 
projects that may be proposed in applications for the Mid-phase 
competition, your application may include business information that you 
consider proprietary. In 34 CFR 5.11 we define ``business information'' 
and describe the process we use in determining whether any of that 
information is proprietary and, thus, protected from disclosure under 
Exemption 4 of the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552, as 
amended).
    Because we plan to make successful applications available to the 
public, you may wish to request confidentiality of business 
information.
    Consistent with Executive Order 12600, please designate in your 
application any information that you believe is exempt from disclosure 
under Exemption 4. In the appropriate Appendix section of your 
application, under ``Other Attachments Form,'' please list the page 
number or numbers on which we can find this information. For additional 
information please see 34 CFR 5.11(c).
    3. Intergovernmental Review: This competition is subject to 
Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. 
Information about Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs under 
Executive Order 12372 is in the application package for this 
competition.
    4. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding 
restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.
    5. Recommended Page Limit: The application narrative (Part III of 
the application) is where you, the applicant, address the selection 
criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. We recommend 
that you (1) limit the application narrative for a Mid-phase grant 
application to no more than 30 pages and (2) use the following 
standards:

[[Page 17402]]

     A ``page'' is 8.5'' x 11'', on one side only, with 1'' 
margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.
     Double-space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) 
all text in the application narrative, including titles, headings, 
footnotes, quotations, references, and captions.
     Use a font that is either 12 point or larger or no smaller 
than 10 pitch (characters per inch).
     Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, 
Courier New, or Arial.
    The recommended page limit does not apply to Part I, the cover 
sheet; Part II, the budget section, including the narrative budget 
justification; Part IV, the assurances and certifications; or the one-
page abstract, the resumes, the bibliography, or the letters of 
support. However, the recommended page limit does apply to all of the 
application narrative.
    6. Notice of Intent to Apply: We will be able to develop a more 
efficient process for reviewing grant applications if we know the 
approximate number of applicants that intend to apply for funding under 
this competition. Therefore, the Secretary strongly encourages each 
potential applicant to notify us of the applicant's intent to submit an 
application by completing a web-based form. When completing this form, 
applicants will provide (1) the applicant organization's name and 
address and (2) the absolute priority the applicant intends to address. 
Applicants may access this form online at www.surveymonkey.com/r/PBVB8PJ. Applicants that do not complete this form may still submit an 
application.

V. Application Review Information

    1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for the Mid-phase 
competition are from 34 CFR 75.210. The points assigned to each 
criterion are indicated in the parentheses next to the criterion. An 
applicant may earn up to a total of 100 points based on the selection 
criteria for the application.

A. Significance (up to 15 Points)

    In determining the significance of the project, the Secretary 
considers the following factors:
    (1) The magnitude or severity of the problem to be addressed by the 
proposed project.
    (2) The national significance of the proposed project.
    (3) The extent to which the proposed project represents an 
exceptional approach to the priority or priorities established for the 
competition.

B. Strategy to Scale (up to 30 Points)

    In determining the applicant's capacity to scale the proposed 
project, the Secretary considers the following factors:
    (1) The extent to which the applicant demonstrates there is unmet 
demand for the process, product, strategy, or practice that will enable 
the applicant to reach the level of scale that is proposed in the 
application.
    (2) The extent to which the applicant identifies a specific 
strategy or strategies that address a particular barrier or barriers 
that prevented the applicant, in the past, from reaching the level of 
scale that is proposed in the application.
    (3) The feasibility of successful replication of the proposed 
project, if favorable results are obtained, in a variety of settings 
and with a variety of populations.

C. Quality of the Project Design and Management Plan (up to 35 Points)

    In determining the quality of the proposed project design, the 
Secretary considers the following factors:
    (1) The extent to which the goals, objectives, and outcomes to be 
achieved by the proposed project are clearly specified and measurable.
    (2) The adequacy of the management plan to achieve the objectives 
of the proposed project on time and within budget, including clearly 
defined responsibilities, timelines, and milestones for accomplishing 
project tasks.
    (3) The adequacy of procedures for ensuring feedback and continuous 
improvement in the operation of the proposed project.
    (4) The potential and planning for the incorporation of project 
purposes, activities, or benefits into the ongoing work of the 
applicant beyond the end of the grant.

D. Quality of the Project Evaluation (up to 20 Points)

    In determining the quality of the project evaluation to be 
conducted, the Secretary considers the following factors:
    (1) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will, if well 
implemented, produce evidence about the project's effectiveness that 
would meet the What Works Clearinghouse standards without reservations 
as described in the What Works Clearinghouse Handbook (as defined in 
this notice).
    (2) The extent to which the evaluation will provide guidance about 
effective strategies suitable for replication or testing in other 
settings.
    (3) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will provide 
valid and reliable performance data on relevant outcomes.
    (4) The extent to which the evaluation plan clearly articulates the 
key project components, mediators, and outcomes, as well as a 
measurable threshold for acceptable implementation.

    Note:  Applicants may wish to review the following technical 
assistance resources on evaluation: (1) WWC Procedures and Standards 
Handbooks: https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/Handbooks; (2) ``Technical 
Assistance Materials for Conducting Rigorous Impact Evaluations'': 
http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/projects/evaluationTA.asp; and (3) IES/NCEE 
Technical Methods papers: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/tech_methods/. In 
addition, applicants may view an optional webinar recording that was 
hosted by the Institute of Education Sciences. The webinar focused 
on more rigorous evaluation designs, discussing strategies for 
designing and executing experimental studies that meet WWC evidence 
standards without reservations. This webinar is available at: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/Multimedia.aspx?sid=18.

    2. Review and Selection Process: We remind potential applicants 
that in reviewing applications in any discretionary grant competition, 
the Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.217(d)(3), the past 
performance of the applicant in carrying out a previous award, such as 
the applicant's use of funds, achievement of project objectives, and 
compliance with grant conditions. The Secretary may also consider 
whether the applicant failed to submit a timely performance report or 
submitted a report of unacceptable quality.
    In addition, in making a competitive grant award, the Secretary 
requires various assurances, including those applicable to Federal 
civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or 
activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department 
(34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).
    Before making awards, we will screen applications submitted in 
accordance with the requirements in this notice to determine whether 
applications have met eligibility and other requirements. This 
screening process may occur at various stages of the process; 
applicants that are determined to be ineligible will not receive a 
grant, regardless of peer reviewer scores or comments.
    Peer reviewers will read, prepare a written evaluation of, and 
score the assigned applications, using the selection criteria provided 
in this notice. For Mid-phase grant applications we intend to conduct a 
single-tier review.
    3. Risk Assessment and Specific Conditions: Consistent with 2 CFR 
200.205, before awarding grants under this competition the Department

[[Page 17403]]

conducts a review of the risks posed by applicants. Under 2 CFR 
3474.10, the Secretary may impose specific conditions and, in 
appropriate circumstances, high-risk conditions on a grant if the 
applicant or grantee is not financially stable; has a history of 
unsatisfactory performance; has a financial or other management system 
that does not meet the standards in 2 CFR part 200, subpart D; has not 
fulfilled the conditions of a prior grant; or is otherwise not 
responsible.
    4. Integrity and Performance System: If you are selected under this 
competition to receive an award that over the course of the project 
period may exceed the simplified acquisition threshold (currently 
$150,000), under 2 CFR 200.205(a)(2), we must make a judgment about 
your integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under 
Federal awards--that is, the risk posed by you as an applicant--before 
we make an award. In doing so, we must consider any information about 
you that is in the integrity and performance system (currently referred 
to as the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System 
(FAPIIS)), accessible through the System for Award Management. You may 
review and comment on any information about yourself that a Federal 
agency previously entered and that is currently in FAPIIS.
    Please note that, if the total value of your currently active 
grants, cooperative agreements, and procurement contracts from the 
Federal Government exceeds $10,000,000, the reporting requirements in 2 
CFR part 200, Appendix XII, require you to report certain integrity 
information to FAPIIS semiannually. Please review the requirements in 2 
CFR part 200, Appendix XII, if this grant plus all the other Federal 
funds you receive exceed $10,000,000.

VI. Award Administration Information

    1. Award Notices: If your application is successful, we notify your 
U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send you a Grant Award 
Notification (GAN); or we may send you an email containing a link to 
access an electronic version of your GAN. We may notify you informally, 
also.
    If your application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, 
we notify you.
    2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify 
administrative and national policy requirements in the application 
package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable 
Regulations section of this notice.
    We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of 
an award in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice and 
include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also 
incorporates your approved application as part of your binding 
commitments under the grant.
    3. Open Licensing Requirements: Unless an exception applies, if you 
are awarded a grant under this competition, you will be required to 
openly license to the public grant deliverables created in whole, or in 
part, with Department grant funds. When the deliverable consists of 
modifications to pre-existing works, the license extends only to those 
modifications that can be separately identified and only to the extent 
that open licensing is permitted under the terms of any licenses or 
other legal restrictions on the use of pre-existing works. 
Additionally, a grantee or subgrantee that is awarded competitive grant 
funds must have a plan to disseminate these public grant deliverables. 
This dissemination plan can be developed and submitted after your 
application has been reviewed and selected for funding. For additional 
information on the open licensing requirements please refer to 2 CFR 
3474.20(c).

    Note:  A specific deliverable under a Mid-phase grant that 
grantees must openly license to the public is the evaluation report. 
Additionally, EIR grantees are encouraged to submit final studies 
resulting from research supported in whole or in part by EIR to the 
Educational Resources Information Center (http://eric.ed.gov).

    4. Reporting: (a) If you apply for a grant under this competition, 
you must ensure that you have in place the necessary processes and 
systems to comply with the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 170 
should you receive funding under the competition. This does not apply 
if you have an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b).
    (b) At the end of your project period, you must submit a final 
performance report, including financial information, as directed by the 
Secretary. If you receive a multiyear award, you must submit an annual 
performance report that provides the most current performance and 
financial expenditure information as directed by the Secretary under 34 
CFR 75.118. The Secretary may also require more frequent performance 
reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c). For specific requirements on reporting, 
please go to www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html.
    (c) Under 34 CFR 75.250(b), the Secretary may provide a grantee 
with additional funding for data collection analysis and reporting. In 
this case the Secretary establishes a data collection period.
    5. Performance Measures: The overall purpose of the EIR program is 
to expand the implementation of, and investment in, innovative 
practices that are demonstrated to have an impact on improving student 
achievement and attainment for high-need students. We have established 
several performance measures (as defined in this notice) for the Mid-
phase grants.
    Annual performance measures: (1) The percentage of grantees that 
reach their annual target number of high-need students as specified in 
the application; (2) the percentage of grantees that reach their annual 
target number of high-need students as specified in the application; 
(3) the percentage of grantees with ongoing well-designed and 
independent evaluations that will provide evidence of their 
effectiveness at improving student outcomes in multiple contexts; (4) 
the percentage of grantees that implement an evaluation that provides 
information about the key practices and the approach of the project so 
as to facilitate replication; (5) the percentage of grantees that 
implement an evaluation that provides information on the cost-
effectiveness of the key practices to identify potential obstacles and 
success factors to scaling; and (6) the cost per student served by the 
grant.
    Cumulative performance measures: (1) The percentage of grantees 
that reach the targeted number of students specified in the 
application; (2) the percentage of grantees that reach the targeted 
number of high-need students specified in the application; (3) the 
percentage of grantees that implement a completed well-designed, well-
implemented and independent evaluation that provides evidence of their 
effectiveness at improving student outcomes at scale; (4) the 
percentage of grantees with a completed well-designed, well-
implemented, and independent evaluation that provides information about 
the key elements and the approach of the project so as to facilitate 
replication or testing in other settings; (5) the percentage of 
grantees with a completed evaluation that provided information on the 
cost-effectiveness of the key practices to identify potential obstacles 
and success factors to scaling; and (6) the cost per student served by 
the grant.
    Project-Specific Performance Measures: Applicants must propose 
project-specific performance measures and performance targets (as 
defined in this notice) consistent with the objectives of the proposed 
project. Applications must provide the

[[Page 17404]]

following information as directed under 34 CFR 75.110(b) and (c):
    (1) Performance measures. How each proposed performance measure 
would accurately measure the performance of the project and how the 
proposed performance measure would be consistent with the performance 
measures established for the program funding the competition.
    (2) Baseline (as defined in this notice) data. (i) Why each 
proposed baseline is valid; or (ii) if the applicant has determined 
that there are no established baseline data for a particular 
performance measure, an explanation of why there is no established 
baseline and of how and when, during the project period, the applicant 
would establish a valid baseline for the performance measure.
    (3) Performance targets. Why each proposed performance target is 
ambitious yet achievable compared to the baseline for the performance 
measure and when, during the project period, the applicant would meet 
the performance target(s).
    (4) Data collection and reporting. (i) The data collection and 
reporting methods the applicant would use and why those methods are 
likely to yield reliable, valid, and meaningful performance data; and 
(ii) the applicant's capacity to collect and report reliable, valid, 
and meaningful performance data, as evidenced by high-quality data 
collection, analysis, and reporting in other projects or research.
    All grantees must submit an annual performance report with 
information that is responsive to these performance measures.

VII. Other Information

    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document and a copy of the application package in an accessible format 
(e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or 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. You may 
access the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of 
Federal Regulations 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 Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe 
Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site.
    You may also access documents of the Department published in the 
Federal Register by using the article search feature at: 
www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search 
feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published 
by the Department.

    Dated: April 16, 2018.
Margo Anderson,
Acting Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement.
[FR Doc. 2018-08238 Filed 4-18-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4000-01-P