[Federal Register: April 16, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 73)]
[Page 18598-18599]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



[CFDA Nos. 84.305J, 84.305H, and 84.305G]

Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) Research 
Grant Programs; Notice of Application Review Procedures for Certain New 
Awards for Fiscal Year 2002

SUMMARY: This notice establishes procedures that OERI will use to 
review applications for research grants under the Preschool Curriculum 
Evaluation Research Grant Program, the Cognition and Student Learning 
Research Grant Program, and the Reading Comprehension Research Grant 
Program in fiscal year 2002. These procedures modify the procedures 
governing the review of applications in 34 CFR part 700.

Application Review Procedure

    OERI will form a peer review panel that will be composed of 
reviewers who are expert in the substantive area of the competition. 
The panel will be of sufficient size to review carefully all 
applications submitted for the particular competition. All eligible 
applications received for the competition will be provided to all 
members of the panel, either electronically, for those applications 
submitted electronically, or in paper copy. All reviewers will be 
expected to be familiar enough with the applications to participate in 
a discussion of the applications at the review panel meeting.
    A primary, secondary, and tertiary reviewer (lead reviewers) will 
be identified for each eligible application. Each member of the panel 
will serve as a lead reviewer for a number of applications. Prior to 
the panel meeting, panel members will independently review and rate 
those applications for which they are assigned lead reviewer 
responsibilities. For each assigned application, the lead reviewers 
will complete technical review forms, fully documenting their judgments 
regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the application according to 
the published selection criteria and assigning a preliminary rating for 
each criterion.
    The four selection criteria to be used to evaluate applications 
were published in the application notices for the competitions, along 
with the weights assigned to each criterion. The criteria and weights 
are: National Significance (.2), Quality of the Project Design (.5), 
Quality and Potential Contributions of Personnel (.2), and Adequacy of 
Resources (.1).
    In assigning ratings for each criterion, reviewers will use a 
seven-point scale. The scale is anchored on each end, with 7 = 
Excellent and 1 = Poor.
    Prior to the panel meeting, panel members will send to the OERI 
program official their preliminary ratings for each criterion for each 
application for which they are a lead reviewer. Applying the criterion 
weights, OERI staff will calculate the preliminary score of the 
primary, secondary, and tertiary reviewer for each application, as well 
as the average score of the lead reviewers for each application. A 
preliminary rank order will be prepared based on the average lead 
reviewer score for each application. Prior to the opening session of 
the panel meeting, all members of the panel will be provided the 
preliminary rank order, along with the average lead reviewer score and 
the individual scores of the primary, secondary, and tertiary 
reviewers, for each application.
    At the panel meeting, the full panel will convene to discuss the 
strengths and weaknesses of applications. Applications that received 
average lead reviewer scores that place them in the bottom half of all 
applications, as shown on the preliminary rank order, will be deemed 
non-competitive and will not be discussed, unless (a) a member of the 
panel, who believes that a particular application might be competitive, 
requests that the application be discussed by the full panel; (b) the 
OERI program official determines that a larger proportion of 
applications needs to be discussed in order to ensure fair 
consideration among applications with tightly clustered scores; or (c) 
the OERI program official determines that the total number of 
applications received is too small to warrant differential discussion 
of applications, in which case all applications will be discussed. For 
any competition for which the OERI program official determines that the 
total number of applications received is too large for the entire top 
half of applications to be considered competitive, then only the top 
proportion of applications that represents approximately three times 
the estimated number of applications to be funded will be discussed by 
the full panel. For example, if 90 applications are received and 
approximately 10 can be funded, then the top one-third of applications 
will be discussed by the full panel.
    A panel chairperson designated by the OERI program official will 
lead the discussion of applications. For each application, the primary, 
secondary, and tertiary reviewers will each discuss strengths and 
weaknesses of the application and answer any questions posed by other 
panel members.

[[Page 18599]]

    Following the discussion of applications, each member of the panel 
will independently rate each application on each criterion, using the 
seven-point scale. In addition, each reviewer will indicate for each 
application whether the reviewer highly recommends funding, recommends 
funding, or does not recommend funding of the application. Lead 
reviewers will be able to change their preliminary ratings and modify 
their documented technical review forms at this time.
    Following the review panel meeting, the OERI program official and 
OERI staff will apply the published weights to the ratings provided by 
reviewers in order to calculate reviewer scores for each of the 
applications. Then the average score will be calculated for each 
application, and a rank order will be prepared of all applications that 
were scored by the full panel. The rank order will also indicate, for 
each application, the number of reviewers who highly recommended the 
application be funded, the number who recommended that it be funded, 
and the number who recommended that the application not be funded.

Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking

    In accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553), 
it is the practice of the Secretary to offer interested parties the 
opportunity to comment on proposed regulations. However, because this 
notice merely establishes procedural requirements for review of 
applications and does not create substantive policy, the Secretary has 
determined that proposed rulemaking is not required under 5 U.S.C. 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Elizabeth Payer, Office of Educational 
Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education, 555 New Jersey 
Avenue, NW., room 502e, Washington, DC 20208-5645. Telephone: (202) 
219-1310 or via Internet: Elizabeth_Payer@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may 
call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339.
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the program contact person listed under FOR 

Electronic Access to This Document

    You may view this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe 
Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: 
    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://

    Program Authority:  20 U.S.C. 6031(c).

    Dated: April 10, 2002.
Grover J. Whitehurst,
Assistant Secretary for Educational Research and Improvement.
[FR Doc. 02-9235 Filed 4-15-02; 8:45 am]