[Federal Register: December 13, 1996 (Volume 61, Number 241)]
[Page 65931-65933]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

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Part XI

Department of Education


Educational Research and Development Centers Program; Proposed Priority 
for Fiscal Year 1997; Notice

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Educational Research and Development Centers Program

AGENCY: Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of proposed priority for FY 1997.


SUMMARY: The Secretary proposes a priority under the Educational 
Research and Development Centers Program. The Secretary takes this 
action to support research on early reading. The priority is intended 
to produce research findings that will affect changes in early reading 
instruction and related practices.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before January 27, 1997.

ADDRESSES: All comments concerning this proposed priority should be 
addressed to Anne P. Sweet, U.S. Department of Education, 555 New 
Jersey Avenue, NW., room 513A, Washington, DC 20208-5573. Comments can 
be faxed to Dr. Sweet at (202) 219-2135 or e-mailed through the 
internet to (anne__sweet@ed.gov).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Anne P. Sweet, telephone: (202) 219-
2079. Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf 
(TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-
877-8339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern time, Monday through 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Office of Educational Research and 
Improvement, authorized under Title IX of Public Law 103-227, (20 
U.S.C. section 6001 et seq.) supports educational research and 
development activities. The National Institute on Student Achievement, 
Curriculum, and Assessment and The National Institute on Early 
Childhood Development and Education are two of five research institutes 
that carry out coordinated and comprehensive programs of research, 
development, evaluation, and dissemination activities designed to 
provide research-based leadership for the improvement of education.
    As National Institutes, The National Institute on Student 
Achievement, Curriculum, and Assessment and The National Institute on 
Early Childhood Development and Education support a range of research, 
development, and dissemination activities. They support long-term 
activities focused on core issues in education carried out by national 
research and development centers, as well as field-initiated studies 
carried out by individual investigators. The proposed priority for 
research on improving children's early reading is for a research and 
development center to be supported jointly by the Student Achievement 
and the Early Childhood Institutes.
    The Secretary believes that improving reading achievement in this 
country and increasing the capacity of the nation's education system to 
provide all members of society with equal opportunities to attain a 
high level of literacy depend on knowledge generated by an enduring 
program of education research and development. Knowledge gained from 
education research and development can help guide the national 
investment in education and support local and State reform efforts. 
Because they carry out sustained, long-term research and development, 
Centers are a primary mechanism for pursuing new knowledge about 
education. Center awards are made to institutions of higher education, 
institutions of higher education in consort with public agencies or 
non-profit organizations, and interstate agencies established by 
compact that operate subsidiary bodies to conduct postsecondary 
education research and development.
    The Secretary invites comments on the priority described in this 
notice. Prior to this announcement and in conjunction with planning for 
Educational Research and Development Center competitions in fiscal year 
1996, OERI engaged in a series of meetings, regional hearings, and 
Federal Register notices that solicited advice from parents, teachers, 
administrators, policy-makers, business people, researchers, and others 
to identify the most needed research and development activities. 
Following these activities and subsequent research priorities planning 
meetings in which OERI engaged, OERI prepared this notice of proposed 
priority. The proposed priority will be reviewed by OERI's National 
Research Policy and Priorities Board, whose mandate includes the 
development of a Research Priorities Plan. The final research and 
development center priority will be published following the Board's 
review and the public comment period.

Proposed Priority: Research to Improve Children's Early Reading

    Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3) the Secretary will give an absolute 
preference to applications that meet the following priority. The 
Secretary intends to fund only one application that meets the priority 
listed below. Funding this priority will depend on the availability of 
funds, the nature of the final priority, and the quality of 
applications received. The Secretary proposes to support a national 
research and development center on research to improve children's early 
reading. This center must--
    (a) Conduct a coherent, sustained program of research and 
development in early reading, using a well-conceptualized and 
theoretically sound framework;
    (b) Contribute to the development and advancement of theory and 
practice in early reading;
    (c) Conduct scientifically rigorous studies capable of generating 
findings that contribute substantially to understanding in the field;
    (d) Conduct work of sufficient size, scope, and duration to produce 
definitive guidance for instructional improvement;
    (e) Address issues of both equity and excellence in early reading 
education for all children;
    (f) Conduct the following research and development activities--(1) 
Research on early reading acquisition;
    (2) Multidisciplinary research, including as appropriate 
neuroscience, cognitive and developmental psychology, and the relevant 
social sciences, on the relations among the development of oral 
language, reading, and writing fluency for all children, including 
those who are from linguistically and culturally diverse populations;
    (3) Research that applies a variety of theoretical perspectives and 
methodologies to describe and to assess the efficacy of current 
practices in early reading instruction and to provide a knowledge base 
to make early reading instruction more effective;
    (4) Research on theory-based diagnostic and assessment tools for 
early reading;
    (5) Research on social, motivational, and affective factors that 
play a part in early reading acquisition; and
    (6) Research on the relationships among early reading, writing, and 
content knowledge acquisition; and
    (g) Document, report, and disseminate information about its 
research findings and other accomplishments in ways that will 
facilitate effective use of that information for teachers and other 
early childhood professionals, families, and community members, as 

Post-Award Requirements

    The Secretary established the following post-award requirements 
consistent with the Educational Research, Development, Dissemination 
and Improvement Act of 1994. A grantee receiving a center award must--
    (a) Provide OERI with information about center projects and 
products and other appropriate research information so that OERI can 
monitor center

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progress and maintain its inventory of funded research projects. This 
information must be provided through media that include an electronic 
    (b) Conduct and evaluate research projects in conformity with the 
highest professional standards of research practice;
    (c) Reserve five percent of each budget period's funds to support 
activities that fall within the center's priority area, are designed 
and mutually agreed to by the center and OERI, and enhance OERI's 
ability to carry out its mission. Such activities may include 
developing research agendas, conducting research projects collaborating 
with other federally-supported entities, and engaging in research 
agenda setting and dissemination activities; and
    (d) At the end of the award period, synthesize the findings and 
advances in knowledge that resulted from the Center's program of work 
and describe the potential impact on the improvement of American 
education, including any observable impact to date.

    Note: This notice of proposed priority does not solicit 
applications. A notice inviting applications under this competition 
will be published in the Federal Register concurrent with or 
following publication of the notice of final priority.

Invitation to Comment

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments and 
recommendations regarding this proposed priority. Comments will be 
available for public inspection, during and after the comment period, 
in Room 513A, 555 New Jersey Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C., between 
the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday of each 
week except Federal holidays.

    Program Authority: P.L. 103-227, Title IX (20 U.S.C. 6031)

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number (84.305R) Educational 
Research and Development Centers Program)

    Dated: December 10, 1996.
Sharon P. Robinson,
Assistant Secretary for Educational Research and Improvement.
[FR Doc. 96-31666 Filed 12-12-96; 8:45 am]