FR Doc E9-13754[Federal Register: June 11, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 111)]
[Notices]               
[Page 27891-27897]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr11jn09-129]                           

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Part III





Department of Education





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Striving Readers; Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards for 
Fiscal Year (FY) 2009; Notices


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

 
Striving Readers

AGENCY: Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of 
Education.

ACTION: Notice of final priorities, requirements, definitions, and 
selection criteria.

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Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.371A.

SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education 
announces priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria 
under the Striving Readers program grant competition. The Assistant 
Secretary may use these priorities, requirements, definitions, and 
selection criteria for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2009 and later 
years. We take this action to support the implementation and evaluation 
of intensive, supplemental literacy interventions for struggling 
adolescent readers.

DATES: Effective Date: These priorities, requirements, definitions, and 
selection criteria are effective July 13, 2009.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marcia J. Kingman, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 3E106, Washington, DC 20202-
6400. Telephone: (202) 401-0003 or by e-mail: Marcia.Kingman@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the 
Federal Relay Service, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    Purpose of Program: The purposes of the Striving Readers program 
are to raise the literacy levels of adolescent students in schools that 
are eligible for assistance under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and 
Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA), and that enroll 
significant numbers of students reading below grade level and to build 
a strong, scientific research base for identifying and replicating 
strategies that improve adolescent literacy instruction. The program 
supports expanding the implementation of locally or regionally 
developed adolescent literacy initiatives, as well as the 
implementation of commercially published supplemental literacy 
interventions, for struggling readers.
    Additional information about the Striving Readers program can be 
found at: http://www.ed.gov/programs/strivingreaders/index.html.

    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 6492.

    Applicable Program Regulations: The Education Department General 
Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 80, 81, 
82, 84, 85, 86, 97, 98, and 99, as applicable.
    We published a notice of proposed priorities, requirements, 
definitions, and selection criteria (NPP) for this competition in the 
Federal Register on April 8, 2009 (74 FR 15949-15954). That notice 
contained background information and our reasons for proposing the 
particular priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection 
criteria. In addition to some minor editorial changes, there are 
several substantive differences between the NPP and this notice of 
final priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria 
(NFP). These changes are explained in the Analysis of Comments and 
Changes section elsewhere in this notice.
    Public Comment: In response to our invitation in the NPP, 21 
parties submitted comments on the proposed priorities. We did not 
receive any comments on the proposed requirements, definitions, or 
selection criteria.
    Analysis of Comments and Changes: An analysis of the comments and 
of any changes in the NFP since publication of the NPP follows.
    We group comments according to the priorities. Generally, we do not 
address technical and other minor changes.

Priority 1--Supplemental Literacy Intervention for Struggling Readers 
in the Middle Grades

    Comment: Several commenters suggested that we require projects to 
implement a schoolwide adolescent literacy initiative in addition to 
offering struggling readers an intensive, supplemental literacy 
intervention. Through a schoolwide literacy intervention, teachers in 
all academic disciplines would teach literacy skills within the 
curriculum of their content area and all students would receive 
instruction in how to improve their literacy skills.
    Discussion: We agree that all secondary school students, including 
struggling readers, could benefit from a school-wide literacy 
initiative and that such initiatives are important in ensuring that all 
students graduate from high school with the literacy skills they will 
need to succeed in postsecondary education and careers. However, 
because a lesser amount of funds is available for new grants in FY 2009 
as compared to previous years and what will be available in FY 2010, we 
have limited the focus of the priority to intensive, supplemental 
literacy interventions for struggling readers. In future competitions, 
the Department hopes to support projects that implement both schoolwide 
literacy initiatives for all students and intensive, supplemental 
literacy interventions for struggling readers.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter requested that we revise Priority 1 to 
require that the intensive, supplemental literacy intervention be 
aligned with the regular literacy instruction for all students in both 
content and pedagogy.
    Discussion: We agree that the intensive, supplemental intervention 
should complement and be consistent with the regular literacy 
instruction that all students in the school receive. We expect, 
however, that this will be a key consideration for each applicant as it 
reviews and selects the intervention that it will propose to implement 
in its project. For this reason, we do not believe it is necessary to 
revise the priority to make this a requirement.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Several commenters expressed the view that some developed 
interventions, such as those that may be purchased ``off the shelf,'' 
are not created to identify and build on individual students' strengths 
or address their specific needs. In order to maximize the effectiveness 
of each intervention, they recommended that the priority be revised to 
require the use of highly skilled reading specialists who can vary 
instructional decisions according to individual student needs.
    Discussion: We agree that, to be most effective, interventions 
should have the capacity to identify and build on individual students' 
strengths and address their individual needs because the cause of an 
adolescent's difficulties in reading may differ significantly from 
student to student. A number of intensive, supplemental interventions 
for struggling readers do include the use of highly skilled reading 
specialists for these and other reasons, while other interventions 
address these issues through the use of other trained personnel or 
through other means. Since one of the selection criteria that peer 
reviewers will use to evaluate applications requires each applicant to 
provide research and other empirical evidence that demonstrate that the 
supplemental literacy intervention it proposes to implement is likely 
to be effective in improving the reading skills of struggling readers, 
we do not believe it is necessary to mandate the use of highly skilled 
reading specialists or establish other mandates with regard to the 
personnel who will be involved in delivering the intervention.
    In addition, although one of our requirements is that applicants 
implement a fully developed

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intervention, we are not requiring that the intervention be one that 
can be bought ``off the shelf.'' We support the implementation of 
locally or regionally developed adolescent literacy interventions as 
well as commercially published adolescent literacy interventions.
    Consistent with the purposes of this program, however, we do not 
support an intervention that is in the research stage and has not yet 
been fully developed, and we do not support interventions that have 
already been evaluated through large-scale experimental evaluations 
unless the proposed evaluation of such an intervention would 
substantially increase knowledge about the effectiveness of the 
intervention among a population different than those studied in 
previous experimental evaluations.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter recommended that we revise the priority to 
require that projects give priority to serving English language 
learners and language minority learners.
    Discussion: The struggling readers who will be served by the 
supplemental literacy intervention will be identified through the use 
of a nationally normed, reliable, and valid screening reading 
assessment. We expect that English language learners will comprise a 
significant proportion of the students who will be served by Striving 
Readers projects because these students are overrepresented among 
struggling readers. The 2007 National Assessment of Educational 
Progress reading assessment found that 71 percent of eighth-grade 
English language learners enrolled in public schools scored below the 
Basic achievement level (National Center for Education Statistics, 
2007). Accordingly, we do not believe it is necessary to add this type 
of requirement to the priority.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Several commenters requested we clarify in the priority 
the meaning of the word ``supplemental'' in the term ``supplemental 
literacy intervention.''
    Discussion: We use the word ``supplemental'' to describe how the 
literacy intervention will fit into a student's daily school schedule. 
Struggling students will enroll in a supplemental intervention as an 
add-on or appendix to their regular course schedule of mathematics, 
science, social studies, and English. A supplemental literacy 
intervention would most likely appear as an elective in the student's 
schedule.
    We also recognize that, in some Response to Intervention (RTI) 
models, the term ``supplemental'' may be used to describe particular 
types of interventions that are implemented at different tiers of the 
model. ``Supplemental,'' for example, may be the adjective used to 
describe interventions that are implemented in the third tier of an RTI 
model. However, our use of the term ``supplemental'' is not intended to 
refer to any particular tier or class of interventions in an RTI model. 
We use it only to indicate that the intervention must be delivered as a 
supplement to the regular academic instruction that students would 
ordinarily receive.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Several commenters recommended that the priority be 
amended to include high school students, as well as students in the 
middle grades, arguing that the need for intensive, supplemental 
literacy interventions is as great in grades 9 through 12 as in grades 
6 through 8. The commenters also noted that State needs for improving 
instruction in the middle grades and at the high school level vary and 
that the priority should give applicants the option of using Striving 
Readers funds in whatever secondary school grades the needs are the 
greatest.
    Discussion: We agree that applicants should be given the option of 
using Striving Readers funds at whatever secondary grade level would 
most benefit the State's students.
    Changes: Priority 1 has been changed to include students in grades 
6 through 12. To reflect this change in the range of students, we have 
made conforming changes to paragraph (i) of Priority 2; paragraph (b) 
of the requirement regarding eligible schools; and paragraphs (b) and 
(c) of the definition of eligible school.

Priority 2--Rigorous and Independent Evaluation

    Comment: One commenter encouraged us to set a higher minimum 
threshold for the number of schools included in each project. We had 
proposed to require projects to include a minimum of five schools in 
order to meet evaluation needs. The commenter suggested that setting a 
higher minimum would help define these literacy projects as State 
initiatives and would add credibility to the evaluation results.
    Discussion: We encourage applicants to serve as many schools as 
possible; however, we do not believe that a higher minimum number of 
schools is needed.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Two commenters requested that we reduce the number of 
struggling readers (75) per school that we require as the minimum 
number of students needed to support a rigorous, experimental 
evaluation.
    Discussion: We proposed the requirement of a minimum of 75 
struggling readers per school per year to ensure that the process of 
student-level random assignment yields treatment and control group 
samples that are comparable. Student-level random assignment in schools 
with fewer than 75 eligible struggling readers is more likely to result 
in treatment and control groups that are not comparable. However, we 
have revised Priority 1 to give applicants the option of including 
students in grades 9 through 12, as well as in grades 6 through 8. 
Because high schools typically have significantly larger enrollments 
than middle or junior high schools, this change may enable more 
applicants to identify 5 or more schools that have 75 or more 
struggling readers.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter noted that screening students for placement 
in supplemental interventions through the administration of a 
nationally normed assessment would require careful planning and 
coordination by the evaluator and school administrators. The commenter 
expressed the view that the timing of the screening would most likely 
require that screening tests be administered in the school year prior 
to the year of full program implementation. The commenter asked about 
the timing of grant awards.
    Discussion: We will make awards by September 30, 2009, and we 
expect the supplementary literacy intervention to be fully implemented 
in all schools included in a project by the start of school year 2010-
11. The time period that precedes full program implementation will be 
used to prepare for evaluation and implementation. The Department has 
set aside funds for technical assistance to evaluators. Project 
directors and evaluators will cooperate with technical assistance 
providers by completing a series of plans for screening students for 
eligibility, randomizing students or schools, collecting data, 
providing professional development, and planning for other crucial 
processes identified by the technical assistance provider.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Two commenters proposed that we require evaluations to 
include the direct collection of implementation data, data on the level 
of student participation, and an assessment of the quality of 
professional development. In addition, one of the commenters noted that 
evaluations need to employ a wider set of statistical tools such as 
sampling, staggered starting time, and the use of

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more effective measures and that evaluations need to provide for the 
evaluation of fidelity of instruction for the control group. The 
commenter also suggested that a local literacy specialist be involved 
in collecting data for the evaluation.
    Discussion: The Institute of Education Sciences will review all of 
the evaluation plans to help ensure that the impact reports produced by 
evaluators meet rigorous standards for scientific evidence and will 
consider these comments in the course of that review.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: A commenter asked about the availability of funds to cover 
administrative costs incurred by the State educational agency in 
implementing and evaluating the supplemental literacy interventions.
    Discussion: Grant funds are available to cover reasonable and 
necessary expenses incurred in carrying out the project, which may 
include State administrative costs.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: None.
    Discussion: We specified in the NPP that to be considered eligible 
an applicant must include in its evaluation design a sample size that 
includes no fewer than 750 struggling readers enrolled in no fewer than 
5 schools in each year of the evaluation. After the publication of the 
NPP, we realized that applicants would benefit from a clarification of 
the required sample size.
    Changes: Although, we have not made a substantive change in the 
definition of the sample size as it appeared in paragraph (h) of 
Priority 2, we have added two sentences that expand on the definition 
by including examples of an adequate sample size.

Requirements and Definitions--Eligible Schools

    Comment: None.
    Discussion: We specified in the NPP that to be considered an 
eligible school under this program, an applicant must include in its 
application, among other things, assessment data for the 2007-08 and 
2008-09 school years that demonstrate that a minimum of 75 students in 
the grades to be served by the supplemental literacy intervention were 
struggling readers. After the NPP was published, we realized that the 
2008-09 State assessment data may not be available in time for 
applicants to include these data in their applications. We have 
modified this requirement to provide that an applicant must include the 
2007-08 and 2008-09 data or data for the most recent two years for 
which data are available. We have made a similar change in the 
definition of eligible schools.
    Changes: The requirement for eligible schools and the definition of 
eligible schools have been changed to provide that an applicant must 
include in its application the 2007-08 and 2008-09 assessment data or 
data for the two most recent years for which data are available.

Requirements and Selection Criteria--Supplemental Literacy Intervention 
Logic Model and Assessment Requirements; Project Design

    Comment: None.
    Discussion: We proposed in the NPP that to be considered for an 
award under this competition, an applicant must include in its 
application evidence regarding the screening, diagnostic, and outcome 
reading assessments of student literacy skills that the applicant would 
use to inform the identification of struggling readers and the content 
of their instruction. We also proposed in the Project Design criterion 
that the Secretary would evaluate applications in part on the extent to 
which the proposed project using reading assessments for screening 
struggling readers and for diagnosing individual student needs. 
Although we identified the purposes of two of the three kinds of 
assessments (screening and diagnostic) in both of these sections, we 
did not specify the purpose of the outcome reading assessment. To 
correct this omission, we have modified this requirement and the 
Project Design selection criterion to indicate that the purpose of the 
outcome reading assessment is to evaluate the effectiveness of the 
supplemental literacy intervention.
    Changes: We have modified paragraph (c) of the Supplemental 
Literacy Intervention Logic Model and Assessment Requirements and 
paragraph (4) of the Project Design selection criterion to indicate 
that the purpose of the outcome reading assessment is to evaluate the 
effectiveness of the supplemental literacy intervention.

Final Priorities

Priority 1--Supplemental Literacy Intervention for Struggling Readers 
in Middle and High School Grades

    To be eligible for consideration under this priority, an applicant 
must propose to implement a supplemental literacy intervention during 
the second, third, and fourth years of the project period that--
    (a) Will be provided to struggling readers (as defined elsewhere in 
this notice) in any of grades 6 through 12 in no fewer than 5 eligible 
schools;
    (b) Supplements the regular English language arts instruction 
students receive;
    (c) Provides instruction exclusively or primarily during the 
regular school day, but that may be augmented by after-school 
instruction;
    (d) Is at least one full school year in duration;
    (e) Includes the use of a nationally normed, reliable, and valid 
screening reading assessment (as defined elsewhere in this notice) to 
identify struggling readers;
    (f) Includes the use of a nationally normed, reliable, and valid 
diagnostic reading assessment (as defined elsewhere in this notice) to 
pinpoint students' instructional needs;
    (g) Uses a research-based literacy model that is flexible enough to 
meet the varied needs of struggling readers, is intense enough to 
accelerate the development of literacy skills, and includes, at a 
minimum, the following practices:
    (1) Explicit vocabulary instruction.
    (2) Direct and explicit comprehension strategy instruction.
    (3) Opportunities for extended discussion of text meaning and 
interpretation.
    (4) Instruction in reading foundational skills, such as decoding 
and fluency (for students who need to be taught these skills).
    (5) Course content intended to improve student motivation and 
engagement in literacy learning.
    (6) Instruction in writing; and
    (h) Has been implemented in at least one school in the United 
States during the preceding five years.

Priority 2--Rigorous and Independent Evaluation

    To be eligible for consideration under this priority, an applicant 
must propose to support a rigorous experimental evaluation of the 
effectiveness of the supplemental literacy intervention it implements 
under Priority 1 (Supplemental Literacy Intervention for Struggling 
Readers in Middle and High School Grades) during the second, third, and 
fourth years of the project that will--
    (a) Be carried out by an independent evaluator whose role in the 
project is limited solely to conducting the evaluation;
    (b) Use a random lottery to assign eligible struggling readers in 
each school in the project either to the supplemental literacy 
intervention or to other activities in which they would otherwise 
participate, such as a study

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hall, electives, or another activity that does not involve supplemental 
literacy instruction;
    (c) Include rigorous and appropriate procedures to monitor the 
integrity of the random assignment of students, minimize crossover and 
contamination between the treatment and control groups, and monitor, 
document, and, where possible, minimize student attrition from the 
sample;
    (d) Measure outcomes of the supplemental literacy intervention 
using, at a minimum:
    (1) The reading/language arts assessment used by the State to 
determine whether a school has made adequate yearly progress under part 
A of title I of the ESEA.
    (2) A nationally normed, reliable, and valid outcome reading 
assessment (as defined elsewhere in this notice) that is closely 
aligned with the literacy skills targeted by the supplemental literacy 
intervention;
    (e) Use rigorous statistical models to analyze the impact of the 
supplemental literacy intervention on student achievement, including 
the use of students' prior-year test scores as a covariate in the model 
to improve statistical precision and also including appropriate 
statistical techniques for taking into account the clustering of 
students within schools;
    (f) Include an analysis of the fidelity of implementation of the 
critical features of the supplemental literacy intervention based on 
data collected by the evaluator;
    (g) Include measures designed to ensure that the evaluator obtains 
high response rates to all data collections;
    (h) Include no fewer than 750 struggling readers per year in all of 
the schools and grades served by the supplemental literacy 
intervention. To meet the eligibility requirements, an applicant with 5 
schools would need an average of 150 struggling readers in all grades 
served by the intervention per school. An applicant with 10 schools 
would also meet the eligibility requirements if each school had 75 
struggling readers in all grades served by the intervention; and
    (i) Be designed to detect not less than a 0.10 standard deviation 
impact of the supplemental literacy intervention on student 
achievement, which represents approximately 3 to 5 months' growth in 
reading achievement on standardized assessments for the typical student 
in grades 6 through 12.

Types of Priorities

    When inviting applications for a competition using one or more 
priorities, we designate the type of each priority as absolute, 
competitive preference, or invitational through a notice in the Federal 
Register. The effect of each type of priority follows:
    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only 
applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).
    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference 
priority, we give competitive preference to an application by (1) 
awarding additional points, depending on the extent to which the 
application meets the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) 
selecting an application that meets the priority over an application of 
comparable merit that does not meet the priority (34 CFR 
75.105(c)(2)(ii)).
    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are 
particularly interested in applications that meet the priority. 
However, we do not give an application that meets the priority a 
preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).

Final Requirements

    The Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education 
establishes the following requirements for this program. We may apply 
these requirements in any year in which this program is in effect.
    Eligible Applicants: To be considered for an award under this 
competition, an applicant must be a State educational agency (SEA) that 
applies on behalf of itself and one or more LEAs that have governing 
authority over the eligible schools (as defined elsewhere in this 
notice) that the applicant proposes to include in the project.
    Eligible schools: To be considered for an award under this 
competition, an eligible applicant must include in its application the 
following with respect to each school it proposes to include in the 
project:
    (a) The school's name, location, and enrollment disaggregated by 
grade level for the 2008-09 school year.
    (b) State or other assessment data that demonstrate that, during 
each of the 2007-08 and 2008-09 school years (or the most recent two 
years for which data are available), a minimum of 75 students in the 
grades to be served by the supplemental literacy intervention were 
struggling readers (as defined elsewhere in this notice).
    (c) Evidence that the school is eligible to receive funds under 
part A of title I of the ESEA, pursuant to section 1113 of the ESEA.
    (d) A letter from the superintendent of the LEA that has governing 
authority over the school and the principal of the school in which 
they--
    (1) Agree to implement the proposed supplemental literacy 
intervention during the 2010-11, 2011-12, and 2012-13 school years, 
adhering strictly to the design of the intervention;
    (2) Agree to allow eligible struggling readers to be randomly 
assigned (by lottery) to either the supplemental literacy intervention 
curriculum or to other activities in which they would otherwise 
participate, such as a study hall, electives, or other activity that 
does not involve supplemental reading instruction; and
    (3) Agree to participate in the evaluation, including in the 
evaluator's collection of data on student outcomes and program 
implementation.
    Supplemental Literacy Intervention Logic Model and Assessment 
Requirements: To be considered for an award under this competition, an 
applicant must include in its application the following evidence with 
respect to the supplemental literacy intervention it proposes to 
implement and evaluate:
    (a) Evidence that the supplemental literacy intervention has been 
implemented in at least one school in the United States during the 
preceding five years.
    (b) A one-page logic model that shows a clear, logical pathway 
leading from the project inputs and activities, through classroom 
instruction, to the expected impacts on students.
    (c) The nationally normed, reliable, and valid screening, 
diagnostic, and outcome reading assessments (as these reading 
assessments are defined elsewhere in this notice) of student literacy 
skills that the applicant would use to inform the identification of 
struggling readers and the content of their instruction, and to 
evaluate the effectiveness of the supplemental literacy intervention.

Definitions

    The Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education 
establishes several definitions that will help clarify the population 
of students eligible for services under this competition and the tools 
to be used to identify those eligible students. We may apply one or 
more of these definitions in any year in which this program is in 
effect.
    Diagnostic reading assessment means an assessment that is--
    (a) Valid, reliable, and based on scientifically based reading 
research; and
    (b) Used for the purpose of--
    (1) Identifying a child's specific areas of strength and weakness;

[[Page 27896]]

    (2) Determining any difficulties that a child may have in learning 
to read and the potential cause of such difficulties; and
    (3) Helping to determine possible reading intervention strategies 
and related special needs.
    Eligible school means a school that--
    (a) Is eligible to receive funds under part A of title I of the 
ESEA, pursuant to section 1113 of the ESEA;
    (b) Serves students in any of grades 6 through 12; and
    (c) Enrolled not fewer than 75 students in the grades that will be 
served by the supplemental literacy intervention during the 2007-08 and 
2008-09 school years (or the two most recent years for which data are 
available) whose reading skills were two or more years below grade 
level.
    Outcome reading assessment means an assessment that is--
    (a) Valid, reliable, and nationally normed;
    (b) Closely aligned with the literacy skills targeted by the 
supplemental literacy intervention; and
    (c) Used for the purpose of--
    (1) Measuring student reading achievement; and
    (2) Evaluating the effectiveness of the supplemental literacy 
intervention.
    Screening reading assessment means an assessment that is--
    (a) Valid, reliable, and based on scientifically based reading 
research; and
    (b) A brief procedure designed as a first step in identifying 
children who may be at high risk for delayed development or academic 
failure and in need of further diagnosis of their need for special 
services or additional literacy instruction.
    Struggling readers means readers who--
    (a) Have only partial mastery of the prerequisite knowledge and 
skills that are fundamental for reading at grade level; and
    (b) Are reading two or more grades below grade level when measured 
on an initial screening reading assessment.

Selection Criteria

    The Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education 
establishes the following selection criteria for evaluating an 
application under this program. We may apply one or more of these 
criteria in any year in which this program is in effect. In the notice 
inviting applications or the application package or both we will 
announce the maximum possible points assigned to each criterion.
    (a) Significance.
    (1) The potential contribution of the project to the development 
and advancement of theory, research, and practices in the field of 
adolescent literacy, including--
    (i) In the case of a supplemental literacy intervention that has 
not been evaluated through a large-scale experimental evaluation, the 
extent to which other empirical evidence (such as smaller-scale 
experimental or quasi-experimental studies of the effects of the 
intervention on student achievement) demonstrates that the intervention 
is likely to be effective in improving the reading skills of struggling 
readers; or
    (ii) In the case of a supplemental literacy intervention that has 
been evaluated by one or more large-scale experimental evaluations, the 
extent to which those evaluations provide evidence that demonstrates 
that the intervention is likely to be effective in improving the 
reading skills of struggling readers and that the proposed evaluation 
would increase substantially knowledge in the field of adolescent 
literacy, such as by studying the effectiveness of the intervention 
among a different population than studied in previous experimental 
evaluations or by using an improved evaluation design (such as one that 
has a marked increase in statistical power).
    (2) The extent to which the proposed supplemental literacy 
intervention can be replicated in a variety of settings without 
significant modifications.
    (b) Project Design.
    (1) The extent to which the supplemental literacy intervention uses 
a research-based literacy model that is flexible enough to meet the 
varied needs of struggling readers, is intense enough to accelerate the 
development of literacy skills, and includes, at a minimum, the 
following practices:
    (i) Explicit vocabulary instruction;
    (ii) Direct and explicit comprehension strategy instruction;
    (iii) Opportunities for extended discussion of text meaning and 
interpretation;
    (iv) Instruction in reading foundational skills, such as decoding 
and fluency (for students who need to be taught these skills);
    (v) Course content designed to improve student motivation and 
engagement in literacy learning; and
    (vi) Instruction in writing.
    (2) The extent to which the professional development model proposed 
for the project has sufficient intensity (in terms of the number of 
hours or days).
    (3) The extent to which the provider of the professional 
development identified in the application has the appropriate 
experience and knowledge to provide high-quality professional 
development.
    (4) The extent to which the proposed project uses nationally 
normed, valid, and reliable screening reading assessments for screening 
struggling readers, diagnostic reading assessments for identifying 
individual student needs, and outcome assessments for evaluating the 
effectiveness of the supplemental literacy intervention.
    (c) Project Evaluation.
    (1) The extent to which the evaluation plan includes data from the 
reading/English language arts assessment used by the State to measure 
adequate yearly progress under part A of title I of the ESEA and from a 
second, evaluator-administered, nationally normed, reliable, and valid 
measure of student reading achievement that is closely aligned with the 
goals of the intervention.
    (2) The extent to which the evaluation plan describes an objective 
and appropriate method for the independent evaluator to conduct random 
assignment of students to treatment and control conditions; rigorous 
and appropriate methods for monitoring the integrity of random 
assignment and for minimizing crossover and contamination between the 
treatment and control groups; and rigorous and appropriate methods for 
monitoring, documenting, and, where possible, minimizing, student 
attrition from the sample.
    (3) The extent to which the evaluation plan includes a clear, well-
documented, and rigorous method for measuring the fidelity of 
implementation of the critical features of the intervention.
    (4) The extent to which the evaluation plan describes rigorous 
statistical procedures for the analysis of the data that will be 
collected, including:
    (i) A clear discussion of the relationship between hypotheses, 
measures, and independent and dependent variables.
    (ii) Appropriate statistical techniques for taking into account the 
clustering of students within schools.
    (iii) The use of data on students' achievement in prior years as a 
covariate to improve statistical precision.
    (iv) In the case of qualitative data analyses, the use of 
appropriate and rigorous methods to index, summarize, and interpret 
data.
    (5) The extent to which the independent evaluator identified in the 
application has experience in conducting scientifically based reading 
research and in designing and conducting experimental evaluations.

[[Page 27897]]

    (6) The extent to which the proposed budget allocates sufficient 
funds to carry out a high-quality evaluation of the proposed project.
    This notice does not preclude us from proposing additional 
priorities, requirements, definitions, or selection criteria, subject 
to meeting applicable rulemaking requirements.

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

    Executive Order 12866: This notice has been reviewed in accordance 
with Executive Order 12866. Under the terms of the order, we have 
assessed the potential costs and benefits of this final regulatory 
action.
    The potential costs associated with this final regulatory action 
are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have 
determined as necessary for administering this program effectively and 
efficiently.
    In assessing the potential costs and benefits--both quantitative 
and qualitative--of this final regulatory action, we have determined 
that the benefits of the final priorities, requirements, definitions, 
and selection criteria justify the costs.
    We have determined, also, that this final regulatory action does 
not unduly interfere with State, local, and Tribal governments in the 
exercise of their governmental functions.
    We summarized the costs and benefits of this regulatory action in 
the notice of proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and 
selection criteria.
    Intergovernmental Review: This program is subject to Executive 
Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. One of the 
objectives of the Executive Order is to foster an intergovernmental 
partnership and a strengthened federalism. The Executive Order relies 
on processes developed by State and local governments for coordination 
and review of proposed Federal financial assistance.
    This document provides early notification of our specific plans and 
actions for this program.
    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, 
audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to the program contact 
person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Electronic Access to This Document: You can view this document, as 
well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal 
Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the 
Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/news/fedregister.
    To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available 
free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. 
Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in 
the Washington, DC area at (202) 512-1530.

    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO Access at: 
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.html.

    Delegation of Authority: The Secretary of Education has delegated 
authority to Joseph C. Conaty, Director, Academic Improvement and 
Teacher Quality Programs for the Office of Elementary and Secondary 
Education, to perform the functions of the Assistant Secretary for 
Elementary and Secondary Education.

    Dated: June 5, 2009.
Joseph P. Conaty,
Director, Academic Improvement and Teacher Quality Programs.
[FR Doc. E9-13754 Filed 6-10-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4000-01-P