[Federal Register: August 5, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 150)]
[Notices]              
[Page 47284-47291]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr05au10-56]                                    
                                    

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

[Docket ID ED-OS-2010-0011]
RIN 1894-AA00


Secretary's Priorities for Discretionary Grant Programs

AGENCY: Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of proposed priorities.

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SUMMARY: The Secretary of Education proposes priorities that the
Department of Education (Department) may use for any appropriate
discretionary grant program in fiscal year (FY) 2011 and future years.
We take this action to focus Federal financial assistance on expanding
the number of programs and projects Department-wide that support
activities in areas of greatest educational need. We are establishing
these priorities on a Department-wide basis.

[[Page 47285]]

This action will permit all offices in the Department to use, as
appropriate for particular discretionary grant programs, one or more of
these priorities in any discretionary grant competition. We also
propose definitions of key terms used in these proposed priorities.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before September 7, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal
or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. We will not
accept comments by fax or by e-mail. Please submit your comments only
one time in order to ensure that we do not receive duplicate copies. In
addition, please include the Docket ID and the term ``Department
Priorities'' at the top of your comments.
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov to 
submit your comments electronically. Information
on using Regulations.gov, including instructions for accessing agency
documents, submitting comments, and viewing the docket, is available on
the site under ``How To Use This Site.''
     Postal Mail, Commercial Delivery, or Hand Delivery. If you
mail or deliver your comments about these proposed priorities, address
them to: Office of Innovation and Improvement (Attention: Department
Priorities Comments), U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland
Avenue, SW., room 4W321, Washington, DC 20202.
     Privacy Note: The Department's policy for comments
received from members of the public (including those comments submitted
by mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery) is to make these
submissions available for public viewing in their entirety on the
Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Therefore,
commenters should be careful to include in their comments only
information that they wish to make publicly available on the Internet.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Margo Anderson. Telephone: (202) 205-
3010 or by e-mail: Margo.Anderson@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:
    Invitation to Comment: We invite you to submit comments regarding
this notice. To ensure that your comments have maximum effect in
developing the notice of final priorities, we urge you to identify
clearly the specific proposed priority that each comment addresses.
    We invite you to assist us in complying with the specific
requirements of Executive Order 12866 and its overall requirement of
reducing regulatory burden that might result from these proposed
priorities. Please let us know of any further ways we could reduce
potential costs or increase potential benefits while preserving the
effective and efficient administration of the Department's programs.
    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public
comments about this notice in room 4W335, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW.,
Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.,
Washington, DC time, Monday through Friday of each week except Federal
holidays.
    Assistance to Individuals with Disabilities in Reviewing the
Rulemaking Record: On request, we will provide an appropriate
accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability who
needs assistance to review the comments or other documents in the
public rulemaking record for these proposed priorities. If you want to
schedule an appointment for this type of accommodation or auxiliary
aid, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
CONTACT.

    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1221e-3.

Proposed Priorities

    The Secretary proposes thirteen priorities that the Department may
use, as appropriate, for discretionary grant competitions in FY 2011
and future years. These priorities will allow the Department and, by
extension, program participants to focus limited Federal resources on
areas of greatest educational need. The Secretary recognizes that some
of the priorities will not be appropriate for particular programs.

Background

    The President has set a clear goal for our education system: by
2020, the United States will once again lead the world in the
proportion of citizens holding college degrees or other postsecondary
credentials. To support the national effort to meet this goal, the
Secretary has outlined an ambitious, comprehensive education agenda
that includes early learning programs that help ensure that children
are ready to succeed in school, elementary and secondary schools that
keep every child on track to graduate from high school with the
knowledge and skills needed for success in college and careers, and a
higher education system that gives every individual the opportunity to
attend and graduate from postsecondary programs. To ensure that the
Department's discretionary grant programs effectively spur innovation,
promote the development and implementation of effective and sustainable
practices, and support adoption and implementation of necessary
reforms, the Secretary proposes priorities in three key areas:
advancing key cradle-to-career educational reforms, addressing the
needs of student subgroups, and building capacity for systemic
continuous improvement.

Types of Priorities

    When inviting applications for a competition using one or more
priorities, we designate 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: 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)).

Proposed Priorities

I. Advancing Key Cradle-to-Career Educational Reforms

Proposed Priority 1--Improving Early Learning Outcomes

    Background. High-quality early learning programs for high-need
children can help prevent the development of gaps in skills and
achievement, reduce grade retention, and help ensure that high-need
children are successful in school and life.\1\
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--

    \1\ Heckman, JJ and D Masterov. 2004. The Productivity Argument
for Investing in Young Children. Working Paper No. 5, Invest in Kids
Working Group, Washington, DC.
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--

    Statement of Proposed Priority 1. Projects that are designed to
improve school readiness and success for high-need children (as defined
in this notice) from birth through third grade through a focus on one
or more of the following priority areas:

[[Page 47286]]

    (a) Physical well-being and motor development.
    (b) Social-emotional development.
    (c) Language and literacy development.
    (d) Cognition and general knowledge, including early numeracy and
early scientific development.
    (e) Approaches toward learning.\2\
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--

    \2\ These five domains of early learning are adopted from those
identified by the National Education Goals Panel. Sharon Lynn Kagan
et al., Reconsidering Children's Early Development and Learning:
Toward Common Views and Vocabulary (Washington, DC: National
Education Goals Panel, 1995).
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--

Proposed Priority 2--Implementing Internationally Benchmarked, College-
and Career-Ready Elementary and Secondary Academic Standards

    Background. Many States are moving toward the adoption of common,
internationally benchmarked, college- and career-ready academic
standards for elementary and secondary school students. States will
benefit from assistance in transitioning to these new standards,
including assistance in developing and implementing (a) high-quality
instructional materials, (b) assessments aligned with the standards,
(c) teacher and principal preparation and professional development
programs, and (d) other strategies that translate the standards into
classroom practice.
    Statement of Proposed Priority 2. Projects that are designed to
support the implementation of internationally benchmarked, college- and
career-ready academic standards held in common by multiple States,
including projects in one or more of the following priority areas:
    (a) The development or implementation of assessments (e.g.,
summative, formative, interim) aligned with those standards.
    (b) The development or implementation of instructional materials
aligned with those standards.
    (c) The development or implementation of professional development
or preparation programs aligned with those standards.
    (d) Strategies that translate the standards into classroom
practice.

Proposed Priority 3--Improving the Effectiveness and Distribution of
Effective Teachers or Principals

    Background. While educator quality is a critical contributor to
student learning, there is dramatic variation in educator effectiveness
within and across schools, including significant inequity in the
distribution of effective educators between high- and low-poverty
schools. Proposed priority 3 is intended to support projects designed
to increase the number and percentage of effective and highly effective
teachers or principals, or help increase the retention and equitable
distribution of effective and highly effective teachers or principals.
    Statement of Proposed Priority 3. Projects that are designed to
address one or more of the following priority areas:
    (a) Increasing the number or percentage of effective and highly
effective teachers or principals (as defined in this notice) or
reducing the number or percentage of teachers or principals who are
ineffective, particularly in high-poverty schools (as defined in this
notice).
    (b) Increasing the retention and equitable distribution of
effective and highly effective teachers or principals (as defined in
this notice).

Proposed Priority 4--Turning Around Persistently Lowest-Achieving
Schools

    Background. An essential element in strengthening our education
system is dramatic improvement of student performance in each State's
persistently lowest-achieving schools. These schools often require
intensive interventions to improve the school culture and climate,
strengthen the school staff and instructional program, increase student
attendance and enrollment in advanced courses, provide more time for
learning, and ensure that social services and community support are
available for students in order to raise student achievement,
graduation rates, and college enrollment rates. In addition, students
in these schools can benefit from participating in programs that offer
additional services designed to increase student success.
    Statement of Proposed Priority 4. Projects that are designed to
address one or more of the following priority areas:
    (a) Improving student achievement (as defined in this notice) in
persistently lowest-achieving schools (as defined in this notice).
    (b) Increasing graduation rates (as defined in this notice) and
college enrollment rates for students in persistently lowest-achieving
schools (as defined in this notice).
    (c) Providing services to students enrolled in persistently lowest-
achieving schools (as defined in this notice).

Proposed Priority 5--Increasing Postsecondary Success

    Background. Meeting the President's goal of restoring the United
States to first in the world in the percentage of citizens holding
college degrees or other postsecondary credentials will require
significantly increasing the number of high-need students who graduate
from high school prepared to succeed in higher education and careers
and who have access to college or rigorous postsecondary career or
technical training leading to a degree or certificate. It will also
require increasing the rates at which young people and adults enroll
in, persist in, and complete college or other postsecondary training.
This priority is designed to support efforts to reach the President's
goal.
    Statement of Proposed Priority 5. Projects that are designed to
address one or more of the following priority areas:
    (a) Increasing the rates at which high-need students (as defined in
this notice) are academically prepared for and enroll in college or
other postsecondary education and training.
    (b) Increasing the rates at which high-need students (as defined in
this notice) persist in and complete college or other postsecondary
education and training.
    (c) Increasing the rates at which high-need students (as defined in
this notice) enroll in and complete high-quality secondary or
postsecondary career and technical courses or programs of study (as
defined in this notice) designed to lead to a degree, credential, or
certificate.
    (d) Increasing the number of individuals who return to the
educational system to obtain a high school diploma, to obtain needed
basic skills enhancement, or to enter, persist in, and complete college
or rigorous postsecondary career or technical training leading to a
degree, credential, or certificate.
    (e) Increasing the rates at which high-need students (as defined in
this notice) enroll in and complete graduate programs.

II. Addressing Needs of Student Subgroups

Proposed Priority 6--Improving Achievement and High School Graduation
Rates of Rural and High-Need Students

    Background. The Nation suffers from persistent gaps in achievement
and graduation rates between the Nation's high-need students, including
students at risk of educational failure or otherwise in need of special
assistance and support, such as students who are living in poverty, who
are English language learners, who are far below grade level, who have
left school before receiving a regular high school diploma, who are at
risk of not graduating with a diploma on time, who are homeless, who
are in foster care, who have been

[[Page 47287]]

incarcerated, or who have disabilities, and their more advantaged
peers. Accelerating the achievement and graduation rates of these
students, including re-engaging individuals who have dropped out of
school, is essential to improving the life outcomes for these students
and to sustaining our economic and civic future. In addition, students
in rural areas can face specific challenges to learning based on
isolation and lack of local resources.
    Statement of Proposed Priority 6. Projects that are designed to
address one or more of the following priority areas:
    (a) Accelerating learning and helping to improve high school
graduation rates (as defined in this notice) and college enrollment
rates for students in rural communities.
    (b) Accelerating learning and helping to improve high school
graduation rates (as defined in this notice) and college enrollment
rates for high-need students (as defined in this notice).
    (c) Accelerating learning and helping to improve high school
graduation rates (as defined in this notice) and college enrollment in
high-poverty schools (as defined in this notice).

Proposed Priority 7--Promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and
Mathematics (STEM) Education

    Background. Increasing the number of students with interest,
knowledge, and skills in STEM is essential to the success of our
students and the health of our economy. This will require increasing
the proportion of students prepared for careers in STEM who are from
groups traditionally under-represented in these careers, including
minorities, individuals with disabilities, and women. Strategies that
schools and institutions can use to help meet this goal include
offering rigorous and engaging courses of study in STEM subjects;
collaborating with industry experts, museums, universities, research
centers, or other STEM-capable community partners to prepare and assist
teachers in promoting effective and relevant instruction and offering
applied learning opportunities for students; and preparing more
students for advanced study in STEM.
    Statement of Proposed Priority 7. Projects that are designed to
address one or more of the following priority areas:
    (a) Providing students with increased access to rigorous and
engaging courses of study in STEM.
    (b) Increasing the number of students prepared for advanced
postsecondary or graduate study and careers in STEM, with a specific
focus on an increase in the proportion of students so prepared who are
from groups traditionally under-represented in STEM careers, including
minorities, individuals with disabilities, and women.
    (c) Increasing the opportunities for high-quality preparation of,
or professional development for, teachers of STEM subjects.

Proposed Priority 8--Promoting Diversity

    Background. Local educational agencies and postsecondary
institutions have found that providing diverse learning environments
and, in the case of local educational agencies, avoiding the racial
isolation of their student body can provide substantial educational
benefits. These benefits include, among other things, improving
educational outcomes, promoting cross-racial understanding, breaking
down racial stereotypes, and preparing students for an increasingly
diverse workforce and society. By encouraging local educational
agencies and postsecondary institutions to take steps to promote
student body diversity, including racial and ethnic diversity, and, in
the case of local educational agencies, to avoid racial isolation, the
Department can assist these agencies and institutions in better
preparing their students to compete in the global marketplace. Any
steps taken by these agencies and institutions to further these efforts
must be done in accordance with applicable U.S. Supreme Court
precedent.
    Statement of Proposed Priority 8. Projects that are designed to
promote student diversity, including racial and ethnic diversity, or
avoid racial isolation.

Proposed Priority 9--Support for Military Families

    Background. Military deployments following the terrorist attacks of
September 11, 2001, have placed an enormous strain on military families
and their children. Over 80 percent of children of active-duty military
personnel who are in elementary or secondary school attend public
schools in the United States. Through a Memorandum of Understanding,
the Department of Education and the Department of Defense acknowledge
the unique educational needs and challenges faced by the children of
military servicemen and servicewomen. This priority is part of the
Administration's commitment to the families of its servicemen and
servicewomen.
    Statement of Proposed Priority 9. Projects that are designed to
address the needs of military-connected students (as defined in this
notice).

III. Building Capacity for Systemic Continuous Improvement

Proposed Priority 10--Enabling More Data-Based Decision-Making

    Background. Accurate, timely, relevant, and appropriate data are
the key to knowing what is working for students and what is not. Data
can tell us which students are on track to college- and career-
readiness and which need additional support, which instructional
strategies are working, which schools or institutions are doing better
at improving student learning and performance, and which teachers or
faculty excel in increasing student achievement so that they can, for
example, be given the opportunity to coach others or to lead
communities of professional practice. Data and the effective use of
data for informed decision-making are essential to the continuous
improvement of educational results.
    This proposed priority is designed to support projects that provide
educators, as well as families and other key stakeholders, with the
data they need and the capacity and training to use those data to
improve school readiness, respond to the learning and academic needs of
students, increase student achievement (as defined in this notice),
improve educator effectiveness, inform professional development
practices and approaches, understand the culture and climate of their
schools and institutions, and make informed decisions that increase
overall program effectiveness.
    Statement of Proposed Priority 10. Projects that are designed to
collect (or obtain), analyze, and use high-quality and timely data,
especially on program participant outcomes, in accordance with privacy
requirements (as defined in this notice), in one of the following
priority areas:
    (a) Improving instructional practices, policies, and student
outcomes in early learning settings.
    (b) Improving instructional practices, policies and student
outcomes in elementary and secondary schools.
    (c) Improving postsecondary student outcomes relating to
enrollment, persistence, and completion and leading to career success.
    (d) Providing reliable and comprehensive information on the
implementation of Department of Education programs, and participant
outcomes in these programs, especially by developing strategies with
appropriate State agencies to use data from State longitudinal data
systems or by obtaining data from reliable third-party sources.

[[Page 47288]]

Proposed Priority 11--Building Evidence of Effectiveness

    Background. The strongest available empirical evidence should
inform decisions about education practices and policies. Evidence
accumulates through evaluation of practices and of program performance
and, as more robust evidence becomes available, increasingly rigorous
evaluations become appropriate. Random assignment and quasi-
experimental designs are considered the most rigorous evidence of the
impact of a program because these designs are best able to eliminate
plausible competing explanations for observed results. The Department's
notice of final priority on scientifically based evaluation methods,
published on January 25, 2005 in the Federal Register,\3\ has made it
possible for the Department to expand the number of programs and
projects Department-wide that are evaluated using experimental and
quasi-experimental designs. This priority remains in effect; however,
recognizing that using such research designs is not always feasible and
that, in some cases, other designs are more appropriate to the question
being asked, priority 11 would support rigorous evaluation studies
consistent with the principles of scientific research in order to
enable better understanding of the relationship between intervention,
implementation, and student outcomes.
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--

    \3\ 70 FR 3586 (Jan. 25, 2005).
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--

    Statement of Proposed Priority 11. Projects that propose evaluation
plans that are likely to produce valid and reliable evidence in one or
more of the following priority areas:
    (a) Improving project design and implementation or designing more
effective future projects to improve outcomes.
    (b) Identifying and improving practices, strategies, and policies
that may contribute to improving outcomes.
    Under this priority, at a minimum, the outcome of interest is to be
measured multiple times before and after the treatment for project
participants and, where feasible, for a comparison group of non-
participants.

Proposed Priority 12--Supporting Programs, Practices, or Strategies for
Which There is Strong or Moderate Evidence of Effectiveness

    Background. Using good evidence to inform decision-making and
building better evidence over time are crucial components of continuous
program improvement. This proposed priority is designed to support
projects that use the best available evidence in designing and
implementing programs and strategies.
    Statement of Proposed Priority 12. Projects that are supported by
strong or moderate evidence (as defined in this notice). A project that
is supported by strong evidence (as defined in this notice) will
receive more points than a project that is supported by moderate
evidence (as defined in this notice).

Proposed Priority 13--Improving Productivity

    Background. High-performing organizations consistently seek to
improve the effectiveness of their processes and staff to achieve the
best possible results in the most efficient manner. One tool for
improving productivity is to redesign processes and structures to take
advantage of the power of technology to improve learning outcomes while
making more efficient use of time, money, and staff. In times of tight
budgets, closely examining spending and reallocating resources toward
more efficient and more cost-effective strategies are even more
essential.
    Statement of Proposed Priority 13. Projects that are designed to
significantly increase efficiency in the use of time, staff, money, or
other resources. Such projects may include innovative and sustainable
uses of technology, modification of school schedules, use of open
educational resources (as defined in this notice), or other strategies
that improve results and increase productivity.

Proposed Definitions

    Background: We propose definitions for several important terms
associated with these priorities.
    Proposed Definitions: The Secretary proposes the following
definitions for the Department priorities.
    Carefully matched comparison group design means a type of quasi-
experimental study (as defined in this notice) that attempts to
approximate an experimental study (as defined in this notice). More
specifically, it is a design in which project participants are matched
with non-participants based on key characteristics that are thought to
be related to the outcome. These characteristics include, but are not
limited to:
    (1) Prior test scores and other measures of academic achievement
(preferably, the same measures that the study will use to evaluate
outcomes for the two groups);
    (2) Demographic characteristics, such as age, disability, gender,
English proficiency, ethnicity, poverty level, parents' educational
attainment, and single- or two-parent family background;
    (3) The time period in which the two groups are studied (e.g., the
two groups are children entering kindergarten in the same year as
opposed to sequential years); and
    (4) Methods used to collect outcome data (e.g., the same test of
reading skills administered in the same way to both groups).
    Effective principal means a school principal whose students,
overall and for each subgroup, achieve acceptable rates (e.g., at least
one grade level in an academic year) of student growth (as defined in
this notice). A method for determining if a principal is effective must
include multiple measures, and effectiveness must be evaluated, in
significant part, on the basis of student growth (as defined in this
notice). Supplemental measures may include, for example, high school
graduation rates (as defined in this notice) and college enrollment
rates, as well as evidence of providing supportive teaching and
learning conditions, strong instructional leadership, and positive
family and community engagement.
    Effective teacher means a teacher whose students achieve acceptable
rates (e.g., at least one grade level in an academic year) of student
growth (as defined in this notice). A method for determining if a
teacher is effective must include multiple measures, and effectiveness
must be evaluated, in significant part, on the basis of student growth
(as defined in this notice). Supplemental measures may include, for
example, multiple observation-based assessments of teacher performance.
    Experimental study means a study that employs random assignment of,
for example, students, teachers, classrooms, schools, or districts to
participate in a project being evaluated (treatment group) or not to
participate in the project (control group). The effect of the project
is the average difference in outcomes between the treatment and control
groups.
    Graduation rate means a four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate
consistent with 34 CFR 200.19(b)(1) and may also include an extended-
year adjusted cohort graduation rate consistent with 34 CFR
200.19(b)(1)(v) if the State in which the proposed project is
implemented has been approved by the Secretary to use such a rate under
Title I of the ESEA.
    Highly effective principal means a principal whose students,
overall and for each subgroup, achieve high rates (e.g., one and one-
half grade levels in an academic year) of student growth (as defined in
this notice). A method for

[[Page 47289]]

determining if a principal is highly effective must include multiple
measures, provided that principal effectiveness is evaluated, in
significant part, on the basis of student growth (as defined in this
notice). Supplemental measures may include, for example, high school
graduation rates (as defined in this notice); college enrollment rates;
evidence of providing supportive teaching and learning conditions,
strong instructional leadership, and positive family and community
engagement; or evidence of attracting, developing, and retaining high
numbers of effective teachers.
    Highly effective teacher means a teacher whose students achieve
high rates (e.g., one and one-half grade levels in an academic year) of
student growth (as defined in this notice). A method of determining if
a teacher is highly effective must include multiple measures, provided
that teacher effectiveness is evaluated, in significant part, on the
basis of student growth (as defined in this notice). Supplemental
measures may include, for example, multiple observation-based
assessments of teacher performance or evidence of leadership roles
(which may include mentoring or leading professional learning
communities) that increase the effectiveness of other teachers in the
school or LEA.
    High-need children and high-need students means children and
students at risk of educational failure or otherwise in need of special
assistance and support, such as children and students who are living in
poverty, who are English language learners, who are far below grade
level, who have left school before receiving a regular high school
diploma, who are at risk of not graduating with a diploma on time, who
are homeless, who are in foster care, who have been incarcerated, or
who have disabilities.
    High-poverty school means a school in which at least 50 percent of
students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches under the
Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act or in which at least 50
percent of students are from low-income families as determined using
one of the criteria specified under section 1113(a)(5) of the
Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended. For middle
and high schools, eligibility may be calculated on the basis of
comparable data from feeder schools. Eligibility as a high-poverty
school under this definition is determined on the basis of the most
currently available data.
    Interrupted time series design \4\ means a type of quasi-
experimental study (as defined in this notice) in which the outcome of
interest is measured multiple times before and after the treatment for
program participants only. If the program had an impact, the outcomes
after treatment will have a different slope or level from those before
treatment. That is, the series should show an ``interruption'' of the
prior situation at the time when the program was implemented. Adding a
comparison group time series, such as schools not participating in the
program or schools participating in the program in a different
geographic area, substantially increases the reliability of the
findings.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------=
--

    \4\ A single subject or single case design is an adaptation of
an interrupted time series design that relies on the comparison of
treatment effects on a single subject or group of single subjects.
There is little confidence that findings based on this design would
be the same for other members of the population. In some single
subject designs, treatment reversal or multiple baseline designs are
used to increase internal validity. In a treatment reversal design,
after a pretreatment or baseline outcome measurement is compared
with a post treatment measure, the treatment would then be stopped
for a period of time; a second baseline measure of the outcome would
be taken, followed by a second application of the treatment or a
different treatment. A multiple baseline design addresses concerns
about the effects of normal development, timing of the treatment,
and amount of the treatment with treatment-reversal designs by using
a varying time schedule for introduction of the treatment and/or
treatments of different lengths or intensity.
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--

    Military-connected student means a student in pre-kindergarten
through grade 12 who has a parent or guardian on active duty in the
uniformed services, as defined by 37 U.S.C. 101, in the Army, Navy, Air
Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Guard, or the reserve
component of any of the aforementioned services.
    Moderate evidence means evidence from previous studies whose
designs can support causal conclusions (i.e., studies with high
internal validity) but have limited generalizability (i.e., moderate
external validity), or studies with high external validity but moderate
internal validity. The following would constitute moderate evidence:
    (1) At least one well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in
this notice) experimental or quasi-experimental study (as defined in
this notice) supporting the effectiveness of the practice, strategy, or
program, with small sample sizes or other conditions of implementation
or analysis that limit generalizability;
    (2) At least one well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in
this notice) experimental or quasi-experimental study (as defined in
this notice) that does not demonstrate equivalence between the
intervention and comparison groups at program entry but that has no
other major flaws related to internal validity; or
    (3) Correlational research with strong statistical controls for
selection bias and for discerning the influence of internal factors.
    Open educational resources (OER) means teaching, learning, and
research resources that reside in the public domain or have been
released under an intellectual property license that permits their free
use or repurposing by others.
    Persistently lowest-achieving schools means, as determined by the
State: (i) Any Title I school in improvement, corrective action, or
restructuring that (a) is among the lowest-achieving five percent of
Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring or
the lowest-achieving five Title I schools in improvement, corrective
action, or restructuring in the State, whichever number of schools is
greater; or (b) is a high school that has had a graduation rate as
defined in 34 CFR 200.19(b) that is less than 60 percent over a number
of years; and (ii) any secondary school that is eligible for, but does
not receive, Title I funds that: (a) Is among the lowest-achieving five
percent of secondary schools or the lowest-achieving five secondary
schools in the State that are eligible for, but do not receive, Title I
funds, whichever number of schools is greater; or (b) is a high school
that has had a graduation rate as defined in 34 CFR 200.19(b) that is
less than 60 percent over a number of years.
    To identify the persistently lowest-achieving schools, a State must
take into account both: (i) The academic achievement of the ``all
students'' group in a school in terms of proficiency on the State's
assessments under section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA in reading/language
arts and mathematics combined; and (ii) the school's lack of progress
on those assessments over a number of years in the ``all students''
group.
    Privacy requirements means the requirements of the Family
Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. 1232g, and its
implementing regulations in 34 CFR part 99, the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C.
552a, as well as all applicable Federal, State and local requirements
regarding privacy.
    Program of study means a career and technical education program of
study, which may be offered as an option to students (and their parents
as appropriate) when planning for and completing future coursework,
that--

[[Page 47290]]

    (a) Incorporates secondary education and postsecondary education;
    (b) Includes coherent and rigorous content aligned with challenging
academic standards and relevant career and technical content in a
coordinated, non-duplicative progression of courses that align
secondary education with postsecondary education to adequately prepare
students to succeed in postsecondary education;
    (c) May include the opportunity for secondary education students to
participate in dual or concurrent enrollment programs or other ways to
acquire postsecondary education credits; and
    (d) Leads to an industry-recognized credential or certificate at
the postsecondary level, or an associate or baccalaureate degree.
    Quasi-experimental study means an evaluation design that attempts
to approximate an experimental design (as defined in this notice) and
can support causal conclusions (i.e., minimizes threats to internal
validity, such as selection bias, or allows them to be modeled). Well-
designed and well-implemented quasi-experimental studies include
carefully matched comparison group designs (as defined in this notice),
interrupted time series designs (as defined in this notice), or
regression discontinuity designs (as defined in this notice).
    Regression discontinuity design study means, in part, a quasi-
experimental study (as defined in this notice) design that closely
approximates an experimental study (as defined in this notice). In a
regression discontinuity design, participants are assigned to a
treatment or comparison group based on a numerical rating or score of a
variable unrelated to the treatment such as the rating of an
application for funding. Another example would be assignment of
eligible students, teachers, classrooms, or schools above a certain
score (``cut score'') to the treatment group and assignment of those
below the score to the comparison group.
    Strong evidence means evidence from previous studies whose designs
can support causal conclusions (i.e., studies with high internal
validity), and studies that in total include enough of the range of
participants and settings to support scaling up to the State, regional,
or national level (i.e., studies with high external validity). The
following are examples of strong evidence:
    (1) More than one well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in
this notice) experimental study (as defined in this notice) or well-
designed and well-implemented (as defined in this notice) quasi-
experimental study (as defined in this notice) that supports the
effectiveness of the practice, strategy, or program; or
    (2) One large, well-designed and well-implemented (as defined in
this notice) randomized controlled, multisite trial that supports the
effectiveness of the practice, strategy, or program.
    Student achievement means--
    (a) For tested grades and subjects: (1) A student's score on the
State's assessments under the ESEA; and, as appropriate, (2) other
measures of student learning, such as those described in paragraph (b)
of this definition, provided they are rigorous and comparable across
schools.
    (b) For non-tested grades and subjects: Alternative measures of
student learning and performance, such as student scores on pre-tests
and end-of-course tests; student performance on English language
proficiency assessments; and other measures of student achievement that
are rigorous and comparable across schools.
    Student growth means the change in student achievement (as defined
in this notice) for an individual student between two or more points in
time. A State may also include other measures that are rigorous and
comparable across classrooms.
    Well-designed and well-implemented means, with respect to an
experimental or quasi-experimental study (as defined in this notice),
that the study meets the What Works Clearinghouse evidence standards,
with or without reservations (see 
http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/references/idocviewer/doc.aspx?docid=3D19%26tocid=3D1 
and in particular the description of ``Reasons for Not Meeting Standards'' at 
http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/references/idocviewer/Doc.aspx?docId=3D19%26tocId=3D4%23reasons).

Final Priorities and Definitions

    We will announce the final priorities and definitions in a notice
in the Federal Register. We will determine the final priorities and
definitions after considering responses to this notice and other
information available to the Department. This notice does not preclude
us from proposing additional priorities and definitions, subject to
meeting applicable rulemaking requirements.

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

    Reminder of Accountability Requirements: We remind potential
applicants that in reviewing applications in any discretionary grant
competition, under 34 CFR 75.217(d)(3), the Secretary may consider the
past performance of the applicant in carrying out a previous award,
such as the applicant's use of funds and its compliance with grant
conditions. The Secretary may also consider whether the applicant
failed to submit a performance report or submitted a report of
unacceptable quality.
    Under 34 CFR 74.14 and 80.12, the Secretary may impose special
conditions on a grant if the applicant or grantee is not financially
stable; has a history of unsatisfactory performance; has a financial or
other management system that does not meet the standards in 34 CFR part
74 or 80, as applicable; has not fulfilled the conditions of a prior
grant; or is otherwise not responsible.
    In making a continuation award, the Secretary may consider, under
34 CFR 75.253, the extent to which a grantee has made ``substantial
progress toward meeting the objectives in its approved application.''
This consideration includes the review of a grantee's progress in
meeting the targets and projected outcomes in its approved application,
and whether the grantee has expended funds in a manner that is
consistent with its approved application and budget. In making a
competitive grant award, the Secretary also requires various assurances
and, in making a continuation award, considers whether the grantee is
operating in compliance with its current assurances, including those
under applicable Federal civil rights laws and the regulations in 34
CFR parts 100 through 110 that prohibit discrimination in programs or
activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department
of Education.

Executive Order 12866

    Under Executive Order 12866, the Secretary must determine whether a
regulatory action is ``significant'' and therefore subject to the
requirements of the Executive order and subject to review by the Office
of Management and Budget. Section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 defines
a ``significant regulatory action'' as an action likely to result in a
rule that may (1) have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million
or more, or adversely affect a sector of the economy, productivity,
competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State,
local or Tribal governments or communities in a material way (also
referred to as an ``economically significant'' rule); (2) create
serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or
planned by another agency; (3)

[[Page 47291]]

materially alter the budgetary impacts of entitlement grants, user
fees, or local programs or the rights and obligations of recipients
thereof; or (4) raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal
mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in
the Executive order. The Secretary has determined that this regulatory
action is significant under section 3(f) of the Executive order.
    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 proposed regulatory action.
    The potential costs associated with this proposed regulatory action
are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have
determined as necessary for administering the Department's
discretionary grant programs effectively and efficiently.
    In assessing the potential costs and benefits--both quantitative
and qualitative--of this proposed regulatory action, we have determined
that the benefits of the proposed priorities and definitions justify
the costs.
    Intergovernmental Review: Some of the programs affected by these
proposed priorities are 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.
    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.

    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.


    Dated: July 15, 2010.
Arne Duncan,
Secretary of Education.
[FR Doc. 2010-19296 Filed 8-4-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P