DIVISION OF RESEARCH, EVALUATION AND COMMUNICATION
LETTER OF INTENT DEADLINE: April 19, 2000, October 2, 2000, April 20, 2001
PROPOSAL DEADLINE: June 9, 2000, February 2, 2001, June
|National Institute of Health|
|Department of Education|
|National Science Foundation|
Interagency Education Research Initiative (IERI) - NSF 00-74
Effective March 19, 2001, the following changes were made to this program announcement:
The National Science Foundation promotes and advances scientific progress in the United States by competitively awarding grants and cooperative agreements for research and education in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering.
To get the latest information about program deadlines, to download copies of NSF publications, and to access abstracts of awards, visit the NSF Web Site at:
4201 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA 22230
TABLE OF CONTENTS
|Summary of Program Requirements|
|Proposal Preparation & Submission Instructions|
|Proposal Review Information|
|Award Administration Information|
|Contacts for Additional Information|
|Other Programs of Interest|
|About the National Science Foundation|
|About the Department of Education|
|About the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development|
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Synopsis of Program:
The goal of the IERI is to improve preK-12 student learning and achievement in reading, mathematics, and science by supporting rigorous, interdisciplinary research on large-scale implementations of promising educational practices and technologies in complex and varied learning environments. To this end, the Initiative will support an evolving, cumulative, and integrated portfolio of research projects that, when taken together, will provide a substantive corpus of effective instructional practices and a body of knowledge that informs the ways in which these practices can be implemented in real, complex, and varied educational environments and lead to enhanced student learning.
An important feature of the Initiative is that all IERI-supported projects will share common benchmarks that will facilitate the accumulation of reliable and valid data to ensure that the lessons learned can be generalized in an optimal fashion. As such, only those projects that meet high standards of methodological rigor, are of sufficient scale, integrate technology, and are conducted by interdisciplinary teams will be funded.
IERI has two focus areas:
1. Early Learning of Foundational Skills
2. Transition to Increasingly Complex Science and Mathematics Learning
Cognizant Program Officers:
''..that the federal government dramatically increase its investment in research aimed at discovering what actually works, not only with respect to educational technology, but in the field of elementary and secondary education in general. Less than 0.1 percent of our nation's expenditures for elementary and secondary education in 1995 were invested to determine which educational techniques actually work, and to find ways to improve them"
While educational research has provided some important insights into student learning in reading, mathematics, and science, as well as teacher develoment and teaching strategies and technologies that enhance achievement in these subjects, the research, as a whole, has lacked a convergent knowledge base that can inform systemic reform in a consistent and meaningful way. The limited use of educational R&D for improving practice can be attributed in large part to under-investment in R&D and the consequent fragmentation of the current research effort (see the 1999 National Research Council Report, How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice, http://www.nap.edu). Further, when knowledge has accumulated — as in the case of literacy development in young children — incorporating that knowledge into tangible tools and procedures for those responsible for educating our students in complex classroom situations has proven exceedingly difficult (see the 1998 National Research Council Report, Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children and the 1999 National Research Council Report, Improving Student Learning: A Strategic Plan for Education Research and Its Utilization, http://www.nap.edu)
Advances in education will depend on vigorous and sustained research and development. State and local policymakers, as well as school-level administrators, are clamoring for information on how to implement changes—particularly technology-based ones—that lead to increased and sustained student learning. The intent of the IERI is to enable educators to meet the challenges of educational improvement by providing scientifically-based knowledge and skills that lead to sustainable learning changes across diverse student populations.
IERI was developed by an interagency team that includes the National
Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Education's Office of Educational
Research and Improvement (OERI) and the National Institute of Child Health
and Human Development (NICHD). The purpose of IERI is to support rigorous,
interdisciplinary research in addressing the urgent challenges of educational
reform. The Initiative aims to maximize the relevance and integration of
education research with practice by encouraging collaborations among researchers
and practitioners. The work of this Initiative is intended to benefit all
students—those with differing strengths and those from diverse cultural
The goal of the IERI is to improve preK-12 student learning and achievement in reading, mathematics, and science by supporting rigorous, interdisciplinary research on large-scale implementations of promising educational practices and technologies in complex and varied learning environments.
IERI supports work that is attentive to the context in which educators do their work, pushing beyond controlled laboratory studies to ensure adaptability to classrooms in complex environments. Research conducted on a scale that allows for a careful examination of how characteristics within a variety of educational systems interact to facilitate learning—under differing conditions and for diverse students – will help accelerate its successful adoption in a wide range of schools. Some research activities will be ready to move to this scale immediately. Others may require a planning grant to set the stage for rigorous research at a larger scale. Both are eligible for IERI support.
An important feature is that all IERI projects will share common characteristics (see section on "Benchmarks") that facilitate the accumulation of reliable and valid data to ensure optimal generalization across diverse educational settings. Therefore, only those projects that meet high standards of methodological rigor, are of sufficient scale, integrate technology, and are conducted by interdisciplinary research teams will be funded.
Although basic research under controlled laboratory conditions or similarly controlled classroom settings will not be supported under the IERI, such research will be considered for funding if: a) it is designed within the larger IERI context of studying innovative approaches to teaching reading, mathematics and science; or b) it has the potential for providing results that directly inform our understanding of student achievement in these domains under IERI classroom conditions. Additionally, applicants are invited to take an existing body of research knowledge to the next level of investigation through efforts to extend such findings to complex educational settings.
Background information on this initiative can be found at the web site: http://www.ehr.nsf.gov/ehr/rec/IERI. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to review these materials.
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Two focus areas supporting the goals of the Initiative have been selected for this Program Solicitation:
(1) Early Learning of Foundational Skills
(2) Transition to Increasingly Complex Science and Mathematics Learning
FOCUS AREA I: Early Learning of Foundational Skills
IERI’s Focus Area I is concerned with the acquisition of foundational skills in reading, mathematics, and science in pre-K through grade school, assessment of readiness for learning in these domains, research on measures for determining the achievement of proficiency, and investigation of the role of teacher learning and performance on student learning and achievement.
Although the specific areas of emphasis (reading, mathematics and science) are treated separately in the following descriptions, applicants should bear in mind that proposals that integrate these domains are acceptable and encouraged under the IERI. The rationale for this integration is that in the early grades, one teacher is frequently responsible for instruction across these three areas for all children in a given classroom. In addition, successful acquisition of foundational mathematical and scientific concepts clearly requires mastery of literacy skills (e.g., reading comprehension). As such, research proposals are invited that illuminate how the integration of instructional strategies in these domains may enhance student achievement.
One major focus of the IERI is to identify and implement in complex and varied educational environments the instructional conditions under which children develop highly-integrated reading skills resulting in optimal reading accuracy, fluency, and comprehension. While more focused, basic research efforts underscore the importance of several factors in learning to read (e.g., phonemic awareness, word level reading skills, automaticity, comprehension strategies, motivation), how best to foster these attributes and abilities in complex instructional settings and with children who vary in cognitive, linguistic, and academic development is not yet fully understood. Consequently, it is anticipated that planning grant and research study proposals submitted in response to this solicitation will contribute knowledge regarding instructional practices and related educational policy issues, as exemplified by the following illustrative questions:
It is generally acknowledged that the existing knowledge bases on students’ acquisition of mathematical and scientific concepts is neither as complete nor robust as the corpus of findings in the area of reading. No doubt this is due at least in part to the comparatively wide range of topics encompassed by mathematics curricula in grades pre-K through 6. Furthermore, there is mounting evidence that teachers themselves frequently lack a thorough understanding of the fundamental concepts in these domains that is clearly necessary for being able to apply or design effective instructional strategies.
Planning grant and research study proposals within this area of emphasis should contribute knowledge bearing on relevant instructional practices and related policy issues, as expressed by the following illustrative questions:
The Third International Mathematics and Science Study (http://nces.ed.gov/timss/) reveals that students in the United States master fundamental skills and knowledge of mathematics and science during their elementary school years at the same rate as their international peers. These studies, however, point out that U.S. students are less likely to master and/or be taught more complex and conceptually difficult material during their middle and high school years, resulting in a downward trend in achievement as U.S. students move through school relative to students from other countries. More empirical work is needed to develop and scale up educational programs and practices that increase students’ understanding of complex ideas in mathematics and science as they move through school. This work is especially important, as higher levels of mathematical and scientific knowledge and problem solving skills are required for both higher education and the workplace.
The quality of the teaching force is at the core of any successful effort to improve student learning in science and mathematics. More needs to be known about how to prepare teachers in mathematics and science education, as well as how to support teachers as they develop and hone their knowledge and skills throughout their careers.
Planning grant and research study proposals within this area of emphasis should contribute knowledge bearing on relevant instructional practices and related policy issues, as expressed by the following illustrative questions:
Research in education is made especially challenging by the complexities of designing experiments that establish cause and effect relationships between educational inputs and student and teacher outputs; difficulties with implementing random assignment protocols in real world educational settings; the small effects that most isolated controllable variables have on outcomes; the challenges of linking scientific principles grounded in biology, neuroscience, developmental science or cognitive science to educational practice; the high costs of large-scale intervention studies; and the general inability to extrapolate from small population studies of educational effectiveness to effectiveness for large populations.
The IERI encourages proposals that address the above challenges in the context of the two focus areas described above. As such, each research study proposal must satisfactorily address all of the following benchmarks. Proposals that have merit but do not meet these benchmarks may be offered planning grants or recommended for resubmission under other competitions supported by the three partner agencies. Planning grant applications must contain a clear rationale for the proposed work as a necessary step toward the submission of a research study proposal or the advancement of knowledge in a chosen field of study.
Research Methodology: In order to achieve the goal of the IERI, research proposals must address issues of student learning and achievement by employing research and measurement designs that are demonstrably valid and reliable. Experimental and quasi-experimental designs are encouraged, especially those employing random assignment. For applicants examining systemic changes where experimental manipulation is difficult, applicants are encouraged to propose inventive solutions, including using research designs and methodologies from other disciplines and areas of research such as public health.
Longitudinal instructional/intervention studies are clearly relevant to describing the amount and rate of student learning over time and in determining the generalization and maintenance of learning over time and across settings. Valid measurement of change over time is critical to much of the research solicited by this Program Solicitation, as the goal of the IERI is to improve student achievement. If instructional or curricular intervention studies are proposed, applicants should employ robust procedures for separating intervention effects from the effects of development in general. The use of growth curve models and longitudinal data are encouraged, as is the collection of sufficient data prior to, during, and following the intervention study to allow for estimation of change-over-time.
The application of qualitative research methodologies and measures is also encouraged (e.g., interviews with students, teachers, parents and administrators, teacher logs, analysis of teacher’s daily plans, videotaping and coding of instructional interactions). Applicants are encouraged to combine quantitative and qualitative methods to optimize the validity and applicability of their findings.
Although different types of research strategies may be proposed for any given application, each supported project must meet the following:
1) the proposed objectives, methodologies, and research settings or contexts must be consistent with the goal of the Initiative. Most importantly, the applicant must articulate how the results of the proposed research can contribute directly to our understanding of efficacious approaches for implementing scalable and sustainable educational interventions;
2) the applicant must make clear how the proposed research program builds upon and integrates existing converging evidence obtained from relevant prior research, including more basic research studies as it seeks to implement scalable and sustainable educational interventions. Although new knowledge of basic learning and instructional processes is not in itself an IERI goal, it is expected that new knowledge of the conditions under which basic research is effectively translated into practice within diverse school systems and classroom environments will evolve from the projects;
3) the applicant must rigorously define the sample selected for study so that complete and independent replication can be accomplished. Specifically, all participants selected for study should be defined with reference to age, grade level, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, immigrant/migrant status, and any other relevant characteristics. If sampling is employed, both the sampling method and the level of sampling (e.g., student, teacher, school, district, state) must be specified. For studies employing control or comparison group designs, the applicant must specify how participants for this group will be selected, and how comparability with the intervention group will be established and maintained over time. For longitudinal studies, the applicant must make clear how attrition within and across different groups will be handled;
4) the applicant must supply information on the reliability, validity, and appropriateness of proposed measures. If the reliability and validity of the measurement/assessment/observational procedures are initially unknown, the applicant must include specific plans for establishing these measurement properties;
5) the applicant must provide a detailed research design and/or statistical analysis plan, including details on how potential threats to internal and external validity will be addressed and a power analysis demonstrating the adequacy of proposed cell sizes. For intervention studies, the applicant must specify how the implementation of the intervention will be documented and measured, and how the fidelity of the intervention will be maintained across multiple classrooms/schools/sites over time. If applicable, the applicant must specify how individual student and teacher differences will be measured and analyzed over time.
Scalability: In order to be considered for funding under the IERI, the theoretical underpinnings, causal model and any relevant preliminary evidence of effectiveness for a proposed practice, intervention or technological innovation must be established in the proposal. Proposals will need to summarize both the current knowledge base and problems with implementing this knowledge in school settings. Proposals must include explicit justifications for their scaling-up plans, outlining how this line of research will advance efforts to translate knowledge into practice.
It is expected that the scale of the research will allow researchers to address questions regarding implementation and fidelity, effectiveness, individual differences (e.g., students, teachers, schools), and environmental and policy factors (e.g., class size). Research may be done in conjunction with new or ongoing demonstration programs, including those funded by one or more of the three agencies. All applicants must provide evidence (e.g., letters of support, citations from previous collaborative research) that they have the necessary agreements in place to conduct their proposed study.
Empirical evidence regarding the effectiveness of an innovative curriculum or technology means little if these cannot be implemented and sustained in diverse classroom environments. At every level of scalability researchers need to study and document issues regarding training, implementation, and fidelity, as well as conduct follow-up checks to examine how effective educational innovations are sustained or evolve in consistent ways over time and the variables that are necessary for this to occur.
Technology: Technology encompasses a variety of electronic tools, media, and environments that can be used to enhance student learning, foster creativity, stimulate communication and collaboration among teachers and students, and engage in the continuous development and application of knowledge and skills. Technology may be proposed as a tool, device or environment for implementing and/or evaluating specific learning/instructional approaches and strategies. It may be used for enhancing the effects and efficiency of already proven methods or strategies in traditional settings or to develop new educational methods or strategies that are possible with technology. Technology also may be used as a management tool in implementing proposed studies. Proposals that concentrate solely on technology without addressing educational issues and questions relevant to the basic requirements of this Initiative will not be appropriate for submission.
Interdisciplinary Research Teams: Due to the complexity of the subject matter and the environments in which educational research and practice take place, interdisciplinary research teams will be necessary, bringing a wide variety of knowledge and methodologies to bear on the problems associated with conducting and integrating research in educational settings. Collaborations across disciplines (e.g., information technologists, organizational scientists, economists, psychometricians, mathematicians, statisticians, educational researchers, cognitive scientists, developmental psychologists, disciplinary scientists, and practitioners) are required. Qualitative and quantitative researchers from various fields are expected to enrich both the research designs and the methodologies proposed for applications under this Initiative. Applicants must ensure, in meaningful ways, continual input and interaction with those disciplines that are relevant not only to the immediate program of work but also to its eventual application. Of particular importance to the review process will be the linkage to policy and practice from the earliest stages of the project.
Because the IERI is a long-term initiative oriented toward specific educational issues, the coordination of research projects is particularly important. Principal investigators will be asked to meet at least twice each year with agency staff and consultants to review results within their areas, discuss methodologies, and identify promising avenues for future research efforts. Where interventions are studied, investigators will be asked to develop and use a core of common methodologies, instruments, and data analysis procedures to facilitate the synthesis of research findings across projects.
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Planning grants will be funded for a variety of activities, including, but not limited to one or more of the following:
- development of an interdisciplinary research team across academic departments, universities and/or other research institutions;
- development of partnerships with school systems, school boards, teacher unions, local, county or state offices or other entities that are necessary to implement school-based large scale intervention studies;
- development of interdisciplinary meetings or workshops to review research methodologies and findings within a given subject area or field to produce a coherent distillation and synthesis of knowledge for that area of study;
- development of plans for a data collection center (DCC) that would coordinate measurement instruments, facilitate research design planning and problem-solving, and coordinate the analysis of data from multiple projects within a designated subject area; and provide assistance in dissemination and utilization of research project results;
- the collection of pilot/preliminary data to: (a) assess the feasibility of sampling strategies to ensure that sufficient sample sizes and sample characteristics can be ascertained; (b) establish the necessary reliability and validity estimates for psychometric measures, observational protocols, interview schedules, and other measurement strategies; and, (c) assess the appropriateness of experimental design models and/or data analysis strategies.
Research study grants will be made for projects that address one of the focus areas and meet the benchmarks outlined in this Program Solicitation. Additionally, PIs may submit collaborative proposals (see the NSF Grant Policy Guide, NSF 00-2) for research involving collaborations between institutions.
Standard, continuation, and cooperative agreement grant award mechanisms may be utilized under this Program Solicitation.
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Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the general guidelines contained in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) (NSF 00-2). The complete text of the GPG (including electronic forms) is available electronically on the NSF Web Site at: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2000/nsf002/start.htm. Paper copies of the GPG may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone 301.947.2722 or by e-mail from email@example.com.
Prospective applicants are required to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI). The LOI should be submitted by email by April 19, 2000 or October 2, 2000 or April 20, 2001 to firstname.lastname@example.org. The letter should be one page in length and must identify the PI and known co-PIs, the institution affiliations of the PI and the co-PIs, expected budget request, and a brief description of the proposed project. Program staff from the three agencies will review the Letters of Intent. Although LOIs are required, they are not binding, and will not be used in proposal evaluation. Information contained in the Letters will allow staff from the three agencies to provide preliminary feedback regarding the appropriateness of the proposed research for the IERI, to estimate the potential review workload, and to avoid conflict of interest in the review process. The Letters of Intent will be acknowledged by email and/or telephone calls from federal project officers from one or more of the three participating agencies. Review of the LOIs and communication back to the applicant may take as long as three weeks.
Proposers are reminded to identify the program solicitation number (NSF-00-74) in the program solicitation/solicitation block on the proposal Cover Sheet (NSF Form 1207). Compliance with this requirement is critical to determining the relevant proposal processing guidelines. Failure to submit this information may delay processing.
B. Deadline/Target Dates
Letters of Intent submitted in response to this solicitation must be submitted by 5:00 PM, local time, 4/19/00 or 10/02/01 or 4/20/01
Proposals submitted in response to this solicitation must be submitted by 5:00 PM, local time, 6/09/00 or 2/2/01 or 6/18/01.
C. FastLane Requirements
Proposers are required to prepare and submit all proposals for this Program Solicitation through the FastLane system. Detailed instructions for proposal preparation and submission via FastLane are available at: https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/a1/newstan.htm.
Submission of Signed Cover Sheets. The signed copy of the proposal Cover Sheet (NSF Form 1207) must be postmarked (or contain a legible proof of mailing date assigned by the carrier) within five working days following proposal submission and be forwarded to the following address:
National Science Foundation
ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
The U.S. Department of Education’s mission is to:
Within the Department of Education, the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) provides national leadership for educational research and statistics. OERI strives to promote excellence and equity in American education by:
ABOUT THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF CHILD HEALTH AND HUMAN
The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) seeks to assure that every individual is born healthy, is born wanted, and has the opportunity to fulfill his or her potential for a healthy and productive life unhampered by disease or disability. In pursuit of this mission, the NICHD conducts and supports laboratory, clinical, and epidemiological research on the reproductive, neurobiologic, developmental, and behavioral processes that determine and maintain the health of children, adults, families, and populations.
The NICHD Administers a multidisciplinary program of research, research training, and public information, nationally and within its own facilities, on reproductive biology and population issues; on prenatal development as well as maternal, child and family health; and on medical rehabilitation. Institute Programs are based on the concepts that adult health and well-being are determined in large part by episodes early in life, that human development is continuous throughout life, and that the reproductive processes and the management of fertility are of major concern, not only to the individual, but to society.
NICHD research is also directed toward restoring or maximizing individual potential and functional capacity when disease, injury, or a chronic disorder intervenes in the developmental process.
The Institute supports and conducts basic, clinical, and epidemiological research in the reproductive sciences to develop knowledge enabling men and women to regulate their fertility in ways that are safe, effective and acceptable to various population groups, and to overcome problems of infertility.
The purposes of Institute sponsored behavioral and social sciences research in the population field are to understand the causes and consequences of reproductive behavior and population change. Research for mothers, children, and families is designed to advance knowledge of pregnancy, fetal development, and birth; to develop strategies to prevent infant and child mortality; to identify and promote the prerequisites of optimal physical, mental, and behavioral growth and development through infancy, childhood, and adolescence; and to contribute to the prevention and amelioration of mental retardation and developmental disabilities. Much of this research focuses on the disciplines of cellular, molecular, and developmental biology to elucidate the mechanisms and interactions that guide a single fertilized egg cell through its development into a multicellular, highly organized adult organism. Research in medical rehabilitation is designed to develop improved techniques and technologies with respect to the rehabilitation of individuals with physical disabilities resulting from diseases, disorders, injuries, or birth defects.
Research training is an area supported across all NICHD research programs, with the intent of adding to the cadre of trained professionals available to conduct research in areas of critical public health concern. An overarching responsibility of the NICHD is to disseminate information emanating from the Institute research programs to researchers, practitioners and other health professionals, and to the general public.
Additional information can be obtained at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/.
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