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Institute of Education Sciences Grant Writing Workshop

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  1. Institute of Education SciencesGrant Writing Workshop Elizabeth R. Albro, Ph.D. Acting Commissioner National Center for Education Research

  2. Agenda • Introduction to IES • Overview of IES Grant Programs • Education Research Grants (84.305A) and Special Education Research Grants (84.324A) • Grant Topics • Grant Research Goals

  3. Agenda (cont.) • Four Sections of the Research Narrative • Significance • Research Plan • Personnel • Resources • Other IES Grant Programs • Application Submission and Review

  4. A bit about IES . . .

  5. Organizational Structure Office of the Director National Board for Education Sciences Standards & Review Office National Center for Education Research National Center for Education Statistics National Center for Education Evaluation National Center for Special Education Research

  6. Missions of the Research Centers • NCER • supports rigorous research that addresses the nation’s most pressing education needs, from early childhood to adult education • NCSER • sponsors a rigorous and comprehensive program of special education research designed to expand the knowledge and understanding of infants, toddlers and students with or at risk for disabilities from birth through high school

  7. Final Outcomes of Interest: Student Outcomes Birth through Preschool • School readiness • Developmental outcomes for infants and toddlers with disabilities Kindergarten through Grade 12 • Academic outcomes in reading, writing, math, and science • Behaviors, interactions, and social skills that support learning in school and successful transitions to post-school opportunities • High school graduation • Functional outcomes that improve educational results, transitions to employment, independent living, and postsecondary education for students with disabilities

  8. Final Outcomes of Interest (cont.) Postsecondary • Access, persistence, completion • Achievement in gateway math and science courses • Achievement in introductory composition courses Adult Education • Reading, writing, and math for basic and secondary education and English language learners

  9. Agenda Introduction to IES Overview of IES Grant Programs Education Research Grants (84.305A) and Special Education Research Grants (84.324A) Four Sections of the Research Narrative Other IES Grant Programs Application Submission and Review

  10. Research & Research Training Grant Programs • Education Research Grant Programs (84.305A) • Special Education Research Grant Programs (84.324A) • Statistical & Research Methodology in Education (84.305D) • Evaluation of State & Local Education Programs & Policies (84.305E) • Accelerating the Academic Achievement of Students with Learning Disabilities Research Initiative (A3) (84.324D) • Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships in Education Research (84.305H) • Research Training Grant Programs in the Education Sciences(84.305B) • Research Training Program in Special Education (84.324B)

  11. Important Dates and Deadlines

  12. Information for Applying http://ies.ed.gov/funding • Requests for Applications • Letter of Intent • IES Grants.gov Application Submission Guide • ApplicationPackage

  13. Requests for Applications (RFA) • A separate RFA for each grant program • Describes requirements for application • RFAs are available on http://ies.ed.gov/funding • To be informed about release of future RFAs, sign up for the IES Newsflash: http://ies.ed.gov/newsflash

  14. Letter of Intent (LOI) • A short description of your intended application • PI, institution, collaborators • Budget (rough estimate) • Up to 1 page abstract describing work • Not used in review process • Superseded by your application • Submitted on http://iesreview.ed.gov

  15. IES Grants.gov Application Submission Guide • Instructions for completing and submitting application package • Available on http://ies.ed.gov/funding about April 19, 2012

  16. Application Packages for FY 2013 • Available at www.grants.gov • Help: support@grants.gov or 1-800-518-4726 • For June 21, 2012 deadline, packages available starting April 19, 2012 • For September 20, 2012 deadline, packages available starting July 19, 2012 • Packages specific for grant program and deadline

  17. Eligibility to Apply • In general • Applicants have ability and capacity to conduct scientifically valid research • Include, but are not limited to, nonprofit and for-profit organizations and public and private agencies and institutions, such as colleges, universities, and school districts • But eligibility is different for Training Programs, Evaluations of State & Local, and Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships

  18. How to Identify Appropriate Grant Programs • Read the Request for Applications • Review announced topics and methodological requirements • Look at abstracts of projects funded under a research topic or program • http://ies.ed.gov/ncer/projects • http://ies.ed.gov/ncser/projects • Contact appropriate Program Officer

  19. Agenda Introduction to IES Overview of IES Grant Programs Education Research Grants (84.305A) and Special Education Research Grants (84.324A) Four Sections of the Research Narrative Other IES Grant Programs Application Submission and Review

  20. Grant Topics • All applications to 84.305A and 84.324A must be directed to specific topic • Note: SF 424 Form, Item 4b (Agency Identifier Number) • Note: Top of Abstract and Research Narrative

  21. Education Research Topics (84.305A) • Cognition and Student Learning • Early Learning Programs and Policies • Education Technology • Effective Teachers & Effective Teaching • English Learners • Improving Education Systems: Policies, Organization, Management, and Leadership • Mathematics and Science Education • Postsecondary and Adult Education • Reading and Writing • Social and Behavioral Context for Academic Learning

  22. Exercise: Identify the Appropriate Education Research Topic Purpose: This study will examine the association between aspects of preschool quality and child health, behavioral and cognitive outcomes in community-based and school-based early care and education programs. Purpose: The purpose of this research is to test several possible ways to influence participation in college savings plans and subsequent savings behavior. Purpose: This study will provide a detailed examination of factors that predict gender differences in elementary school mathematics performance. Purpose: This project is designed around findings from a local needs assessment of teachers, which found: a) a need for more support for laboratory work; b) a need for greater access to subject matter experts; and c) a strong desire to plan together.

  23. Special Education Research Topics (84.324A) Autism Spectrum Disorders Cognition and Student Learning in Special Education Early Intervention and Early Learning in Special Education Families of Children with Disabilities Mathematics and Science Education Professional Development for Teachers and Related Service Providers Reading, Writing, and Language Development Social and Behavioral Outcomes to Support Learning Special Education Policy, Finance, and Systems Technology for Special Education Transition Outcomes for Secondary Students with Disabilities

  24. Exercise: Identify the Appropriate Special Education Research Topic Purpose: This research group will develop and preliminarily evaluate SELF: Social-Emotional Learning Foundations to promote emotional and behavioral self-regulation for children in kindergarten and first grade who are at risk for emotional and behavioral disorders. Purpose: This research will provide guidance for speech-language pathologists by examining how dosage, techniques, and context are associated with language outcomes. Purpose: There have been challenges with making computer-based test items accessible to students who are Braille readers. The purpose of this project is to add enhancements in testing accommodations for students who are blind or have low vision to an existing platform that delivers a Grade 8 reading assessment. This project will provide a fully functional computer-based test delivery platform designed to increase accessibility and meet the needs of these students.

  25. Topic Specific Issues for Education Research Program • All require student outcomes (Effective Teachers, Systems) • Grade range varies by topic • Most topics are for K-12 students only • Early Learning: For pre-K (ages 3-5) and their teachers • Exception if project is to follow pre-K students into later grades applicant can choose most appropriate topic • Education Technology: pre-K to adult except science (grade 12) • Cognition: pre-K to adult (voced, adult ed, remedial post-sec) • Postsecondary and Adult: for older students • Postsecondary includes high school programs to get students into postsecondary • Postsecondary limited to sub-baccalaureate and baccalaureate • Adult: adult basic education, adult secondary education, and English Learner

  26. Topic Specific Issues for Education Research Program II • Improving Education Systems: Policies, Organization, Management, and Leadership • Anything designed to improve the overall functioning of a school, district, state, or national education system • Programs • Finance • Leadership • Organization and Management • Combined into 1 topic because interventions may include all of these approaches

  27. Topic Specific Issues for Education Research Program III Postsecondary and Adult Education • Topics can Overlap • Effective Teachers & Effective Teaching • Read/Write & Math/Science: determine if focus is on professional development or on curriculum/instructional approach • Cognition: applying cognitive science to teacher practice • Early Learning topic is for pre-K teachers • English Learners: if for EL teachers can be either • Improving Ed Systems: teacher certification, recruitment, and retention can go to either topic • Ed Technology with all programs • Is focus/team on tech development or on substance? • English Learners with Read/Write & Math/Science • Is EL the primary focus or a secondary focus? • Improving Ed Systems with all programs • Except Early Learning Programs and Policies and

  28. Choosing among Overlapping Topics • What literature are you citing? • To which topic is your area of expertise best aligned? • If your focus is on a specific population of students/teachers, go to that program/topic: • Is your focus on a specific type of student/teacher (e.g., students with autism or English language learners), or are you studying them as subgroup of your sample?

  29. Topic Specific Issues for Education Research Program IV Pre-service programs • Only exploratory research can be done on teacher pre-service programs • No development of pre-service programs, evaluation of them, or measures-development for them • Can develop or evaluate pre-service components with in-service teachers • Support for leadership pre-service programs, if programs last 24 months or less

  30. Issues Specific to Special Education Program Topics • Children with disabilities or at risk for developing disabilities • At risk based on individual assessment, not population characteristics (e.g., low SES) • Be specific about which disabilities you are addressing • Specify the inclusion/screening criteria • Applicants to following topics must address students with disability only (not students at risk for disability) • Transition Outcomes for Secondary Students with Disabilities • Autism Spectrum Disorders • Families of Children with Disabilities

  31. Issues Specific to Special Education Program Topics II • Grade Coverage • Early Intervention: Birth to Age 5 • Cognition: Birth to Grade 12 • Technology: Birth to Grade 12 • Autism: Pre-K to Grade 12 • Transition: Secondary students (i.e., middle/high school) into Postsecondary settings • Others: K to grade 12 • Overlaps • Autism and Other Topics • Comprehensive interventions with multiple outcomes to Autism • One outcome goes to the relevant topic (e.g., Math/Science) • Early Intervention and Other topics, if follow pre-K students to later grades

  32. Decide Which Topic Your Research Idea Would Fall Under • Think about your research question(s) • Decide which topic it best fits under • If not sure • Check RFA • Discuss with Program Officer

  33. Grant Research Goals • All applications to 84.305A and 84.324A must be directed to specific research goal (1 of 5) • Note: SF 424 Form, Item 4b • Note: Top of Abstract & Research Narrative • Goal describes type of research to be done • So, every application is directed to specific topic/goal combination

  34. The 5 Research Goals Exploration Development & Innovation Efficacy & Replication Effectiveness Measurement

  35. Exploration Goal Explore associations between education outcomes and malleable factors Identify factors and conditions that may mediate or moderate the relations between malleable factors and student outcomes

  36. Malleable Factor A factor that can be changed by the education system be it a student, teacher, or school characteristic, or an education program or policy • Underlying processes that enhance or inhibit learning • Aspects of a school, district, or community associated with beneficial education outcomes • Education interventions associated with beneficial education outcomes

  37. Exploration Goal (cont.) • Possible methodological approaches • Analyze secondary data • Collect primary data • Complete a meta-analysis • Funding Limits • If secondary data analysis or meta-analysis only • Maximum 2 years and $700,000 • If including primary data • Maximum 4 years and $1,600,000

  38. At the End of an Exploration Project • A clear description of malleable factors found, and any accompanying mediators and/or moderators • Evidence regarding associations of those factors with student outcomes • A well-specified conceptual framework and/or theoretical framework linking identified factors and student outcomes • Information about whether what you learned in this project could lead to: • The development or refinement of an intervention • The rigorous evaluation of an intervention • The development of a conceptual framework to be used in the development or revision of an assessment

  39. Would these Research Questions fit under Exploration? Do middle school girls score higher on English achievement tests than boys? Is hands-on science teaching associated with better grades for boys? Is increasing foster care payments linked to better academic outcomes of foster children? Does the Bluebird Reading Curriculum cause higher student achievement on reading tests? Do students with certain types of disabilities have shorter attention spans?

  40. Development & Innovation Goal Development process must be iterative! • ANDcollect data on its feasibility and usability in actual education settings • ANDcollect pilot data on student outcomes Develop an innovative intervention (e.g., curriculum, instructional approach, program, or policy) OR improve existing education interventions

  41. Feasibility of Implementation Implement intervention in authentic education delivery setting Small sample of users Should be carried out in type of setting and with types of users for which intervention is intended

  42. Development & Innovation (cont.) • Collect pilot data on promise of intervention to achieve intended outcomes • Does not need to be causal study • Stronger with comparison group • Can be no more than 30% of grant budget • Obtain evidence to support grant for evaluation • Maximum award: 4 years and $1,500,000

  43. At the End of a Development Project • A fully developed version of intervention, along with • A well-specified theory of change and • Evidence that intended end users understand and can use intervention • Data that demonstrate feasibility of implementation • Pilot data regarding promise, along with • Fidelity measure(s) and • Evidence regarding fidelity of implementation.

  44. Would These Study Designs Fit Under Development & Innovation? • Develop 9th grade biotechnology course over summer, implement from September to December, and measure student gains in knowledge. • Give half the students iPads, monitor how they’re used, and compare test scores at end of year. • New writing program • Develop with 10 teachers over 1 year – try components out in class and revise accordingly • Feasibility test with the 10 teachers in Year 2 • Compare writing scores of students of the 10 teachers to scores of students from 10 other teachers in Year 3

  45. Efficacy & Replication Goal Evaluate whether or not a fully developed intervention is efficacious under limited or ideal conditions OR Gather follow-up data examining the longer term effects of an intervention with demonstrated efficacy OR Replicate an efficacious intervention varying the original conditions

  46. Efficacy & Replication Goal II Ask what might be needed to implement intervention under routine practice Reduce appearance of conflict of interest for developer-evaluators Do not require confirmatory mediator analyses but recommend exploratory ones NCSER also accepts efficacy studies that propose single case experimental designs

  47. Efficacy & Replication Goal III • Causal test of whether or not a fully developed intervention has a beneficial impact on student outcomes relative to a counterfactual in an authentic educational setting • Interventions already in wide use • Interventions not in wide use • Follow-up study

  48. Efficacy & Replication Goal IV • Detailed description of intervention • Theory of change • Empirical evidence • Practical importance • Designs that support causal inference are required • Random assignment to intervention and comparison conditions preferred • Strong quasi-experiment designs can be proposed when experiment not feasible • Single-subject methods/single-case designs permitted for Special Ed • Check What Works Clearinghouse evidence standards (RCTs, RDD, Single Case, Attrition)

  49. Efficacy & Replication Goal V Address power of design to identify impacts Address fidelity of implementation of treatment and comparison groups Address important moderators Include details about measures & analysis plan Avoid apparent conflicts of interest for evaluation team Maximum award: 4 years and $3,500,000

  50. Efficacy & Replication Follow-up Study Follow students who received intervention into later grades, or Follow teachers (principals or schools) who received intervention after the project ends to see if sustained effect on practice and on student outcomes Maximum award: 3 years and $1,200,000