A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

PART C--NATIONAL RESEARCH INSTITUTES

SEC. 931. ESTABLISHMENT WITHIN THE OFFICE OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH AND IMPROVEMENT.

(a) ESTABLISHMENT OF INSTITUTES.--In order to fulfill the research and development purposes of the Office, and to carry out a program of high-quality and rigorously evaluated research and development that is capable of improving Federal, State, Indian tribal, and local education policies and practices, there are established within the Office the following Institutes:
(1) The National Institute on Student Achievement, Curriculum, and Assessment.
(2) The National Institute on the Education of At-Risk Students.
(3) The National Institute on Educational Governance, Finance, Policy-Making, and Management.
(4) The National Institute on Early Childhood Development and Education.
(5) The National Institute on Postsecondary Education, Libraries, and Lifelong Education.
(b) DIRECTORS.--
(1) IN GENERAL.--Each Institute established by subsection (a) shall be headed by a Director who shall be appointed by the Assistant Secretary from among individuals who have significant experience and expertise in the disciplines relevant to the purposes of such Institute. The Assistant Secretary shall give due consideration to recommendations made by the Board of individuals qualified to fill the position.
(2) REPORTING.--Each Director shall report directly to the Assistant Secretary regarding the activities of the Institute and shall work with the other directors to promote research synthesis across the Institutes.
(c) AUTHORITIES AND DUTIES.--
(1) IN GENERAL.--The Assistant Secretary is authorized to conduct research, development, demonstration, and evaluation activities to carry out the purposes for which such Institute was established--
(A) directly;
(B) through grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements with institutions of higher education, regional educational laboratories, public and private organizations, institutions, agencies, and individuals, or a consortium thereof, which may include--
(i) grants to support research and development centers which are--
(I) awarded competitively for a period of 5 years and which may be renewed for an additional 5 years;
(II) of sufficient size, scope, and quality, and funded at not less than $1,500,000 annually in order to support a full range of basic research, applied research and dissemination activities, which may also include development activities; and
(III) established by institutions of higher education, by institutions of higher education in consortium with public agencies or private nonprofit organizations, or by interstate agencies established by compact which operate subsidiary bodies established to conduct postsecondary educational research and development;
(ii) meritorious unsolicited proposals for educational research and related activities;
(iii) proposals that are specifically invited or requested by the Assistant Secretary, on a competitive basis; and
(iv) dissertation grants, awarded for a period of not more than 2 years and in a total amount not to exceed $20,000 to graduate students in the sciences, humanities, and the arts to support research by such scholars in the field of education;
(C) through the provision of technical assistance;
(D) through the award of fellowships to support graduate study in educational research by qualified African-American, Hispanic, American Indian and Alaska Native, and other individuals from groups which have been traditionally underrepresented in the field of educational research which shall--
(i) be awarded on the basis of merit for a period of 3 years; and
(ii) provide stipends to each fellow in an amount which shall be set at a level of support comparable to that provided by the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships, except that such amounts shall be adjusted as necessary so as not to exceed each fellow's demonstrated level of need; and
(E) through the award of fellowships in the Office for scholars, researchers, policymakers, education practitioners, librarians, and statisticians engaged in the use, collection, and dissemination of information about education and educational research which--
(i) shall be awarded following the biennial publication in the Federal Register of proposed research priorities and a period of 60 days for public comments and suggestions with respect to such priorities;
(ii) shall be awarded competitively following the publication of a notice in the Federal Register inviting the submission of applications; and
(iii) may include such stipends and allowances, including travel and subsistence expenses provided under title 5, United States Code, as the Assistant Secretary considers appropriate.
(2) SCOPE AND FOCUS OF ACTIVITIES.--In carrying out the purposes for which each Institute is established, the Assistant Secretary shall--
(A) maintain an appropriate balance between applied and basic research;
(B) significantly expand the role of field-initiated research in meeting the education research and development needs of the United States by reserving not less than 20 percent of the amounts available to each Institute in fiscal years 1996 and 1997 and 25 percent in fiscal years 1998 and 1999 to support field- initiated research;
(C) provide for and maintain a stable foundation of long-term research and development on core issues and concerns conducted through university-based research and development centers by reserving not less than one-third of the amounts available to each Institute in any fiscal year to support such research and development centers;
(D) support and provide research information that leads to policy formation by State legislatures, State and local boards of education, schools funded by the Bureau, and other policy and governing bodies, to assist such entities in identifying and developing effective policies to promote student achievement and school improvement;
(E) promote research that is related to the core content areas;
(F) plan and coordinate syntheses that provide research knowledge related to each level of the education system (from preschool to postsecondary education) to increase understanding of student performance across different educational levels;
(G) conduct and support research in early childhood, elementary and secondary, vocational, adult and postsecondary education (including the professional development of teachers) to the extent that such research is related to the purposes for which such Institute has been established;
(H) conduct sustained research and development on improving the educational achievement of poor and minority individuals as an integral part of its work; and
(I) coordinate the Institute's activities with the activities of the regional educational laboratories and with other educational service organizations in designing the Institute's research agenda and projects in order to increase the responsiveness of such Institute to the needs of teachers and the educational field and to bring research findings directly into schools to ensure greatest access at the local level to the latest research developments.
(3) REQUIREMENTS REGARDING FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE.--No grant, contract, or cooperative agreement may be made under this title unless--
(A) sufficient notice of the availability of, and opportunity to compete for, assistance has first been provided to potential applicants through notice published in the Federal Register or other appropriate means;
(B) such grant, contract, or agreement has been evaluated through peer review in accordance with the standards developed pursuant to section 912(i);
(C) such grant, contract, or agreement will be evaluated in accordance with the standards developed pursuant to section 912 (i);
(D) in the case of a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement which exceeds $500,000 for a single fiscal year or $1,000,000 for more than one fiscal year, the Secretary has complied with the requirements of paragraph (4); and
(E) in the case of a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement to support a research and development center, all applications for such assistance have been evaluated by independent experts according to standards and criteria which include--
(i) whether applicants have assembled a group of high quality researchers sufficient to achieve the mission of the center;
(ii) whether the proposed organizational structure and arrangements will facilitate achievement of the mission of the center;
(iii) whether there is a substantial staff commitment to the work of the center;
(iv) whether the directors and support staff will devote a majority of their time to the activities of the center;
(v) review of the contributions of primary researchers (other than researchers at the proposed center) to evaluate the appropriateness of such primary researcher's experiences and expertise in the context of the proposed center activities, and the adequacy of such primary researcher's time commitment to achievement of the mission of the center; and
(vi) the manner in which the results of education research will be disseminated for further use, including how the center will work with the Office of Reform Assistance and Dissemination.
(4) BOARD REVIEW OF CERTAIN PROPOSED GRANT AND CONTRACT ACTIONS.--The Assistant Secretary may not solicit any contract bid or issue a request for proposals or applications for any grant or cooperative agreement the amount of which exceeds $500,000 in any single fiscal year or which exceeds an aggregate amount of $1,000,000 for more than one fiscal year unless the Board has had an opportunity to review such proposed grant, contract, or cooperative agreement and to provide written comments to the Assistant Secretary with respect to whether--
(A) the purposes and scope of the proposed action are consistent with the Research Priorities Plan; and
(B) the methodology and approach of the proposed action are sound and adequate to achieve the objectives of such grant, contract, or cooperative agreement.
(5) HISTORICALLY UNDERUTILIZED RESEARCHERS AND INSTITUTIONS.--The Assistant Secretary shall establish and maintain initiatives and programs to increase the participation in the activities of each Institute of groups of researchers and institutions that have been historically underutilized in Federal educational research activities, including--
(A) researchers who are women, African-American, Hispanic, American Indian and Alaska Native, or other ethnic minorities;
(B) promising young or new researchers in the field, such as postdoctoral students and recently appointed assistant or associate professors;
(C) Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribally Controlled Community Colleges, and other institutions of higher education with large numbers of minority students;
(D) institutions of higher education located in rural areas; and
(E) institutions and researchers located in States and regions of the United States which have historically received the least Federal support for educational research and development.
(6) ADDITIONAL AUTHORITIES.--The Assistant Secretary--
(A) may obtain (in accordance with section 3109 of title 5 but without regard to the limitation in such section on the period of service) the services of experts or consultants with scientific or professional qualifications in the disciplines relevant to the purposes of such Institute;
(B) may use, with their consent, the services, equipment, personnel, information, and facilities of other Federal, State, or local public agencies, with or without reimbursement therefore; and
(C) may accept voluntary and uncompensated services.
(d) NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT, CURRICULUM, AND ASSESSMENT.--
(1) FINDINGS.--The Congress finds as follows:
(A) The current achievement levels of students in the United States are far below those that might indicate competency in challenging subject matter in core content areas.
(B) During the last 20 years, relatively little changed in how students were taught. Despite much research suggesting better alternatives, classrooms continue to be dominated by textbooks, teacher lectures, short- answer activity sheets, and unequal patterns of student attention.
(C) Despite progress in narrowing the gaps, the differences in performance between Caucasian students and their minority counterparts remain unacceptably large. While progress has been made in reducing the gender gap in mathematics, such gap still remains at higher levels of problem solving. Too little progress has been made in reducing gender performance gaps favoring males in science and females in writing.
(2) PURPOSE.--The purpose of the National Institute on Student Achievement, Curriculum, and Assessment is to carry out a coordinated and comprehensive program of research and development to provide research- based leadership to the United States as it seeks to improve student achievement in core content areas and the integration of such areas. Such program shall--
(A) identify, develop, and evaluate innovative and exemplary methods to improve student knowledge at all levels in the core content areas, such as--
(i) student learning and assessment in various subject matters;
(ii) the effects of organizational patterns on the delivery of instruction, including issues of grouping and tracking, ungraded classrooms, and on the effects of various pedagogies, including the issues of technology in education;
(iii) standards for what students should know and be able to do, particularly standards of desired performance set to internationally competitive levels;
(iv) methods to improve the process of reading, the craft of writing, the growth of reasoning skills, and the development of information-finding skills;
(v) enabling students to develop higher order thinking skills;
(vi) methods to teach effectively all students in mixed-ability classrooms;
(vii) curriculum, instruction, and assessment, in vocational education and school-to-work transition;
(viii) the impact and effectiveness of Federal, State, and local efforts to provide gender-fair educational opportunities to elementary and secondary students;
(ix) programs, policies, and approaches which promote gender equity in elementary and secondary education;
(x) improving the working conditions of teachers and other educational practitioners, which may include such topics as--
(I) teacher isolation;
(II) professional resources available to teachers;
(III) continuing educational and professional opportunities available to teachers;
(IV) physical facilities and equipment, such as office space, telephone, computer access, and fax machines and television cable access available to teachers in the work environment;
(V) opportunities for teachers to share information and resources with other teachers and education professionals;
(VI) opportunities for advanced learning experience; and
(VII) the reduction of stress in the teaching profession;
(xi) curriculum development designed to meet challenging standards, including State efforts to develop such curriculum;
(xii) the need for, and methods of delivering, teacher education, development, and inservice training;
(xiii) educational methods and activities to reduce and prevent violence in schools;
(xiv) the use of technology in learning, teaching and testing; and
(xv) other topics relevant to the mission of the institute;
(B) conduct basic and applied research in the areas of human learning, cognition, and performance, including research and development on the education contexts which promote excellence in learning and instruction, and motivational issues related to learning;
(C) identify, develop, and evaluate programs designed to enhance academic achievement and narrow racial and gender performance gaps in a variety of subject areas, including research and development on methods of involving parents in their children's education and ways to involve business, industry and other community partners in promoting excellence in schools; and
(D) include a comprehensive, coordinated program of research and development in the area of assessment which--
(i) addresses issues such as--
(I) the validity, reliability, generalizability, costs, relative merits, and most appropriate uses of various approaches and methods of assessing student learning and achievement;
(II) methods and approaches to assessing student opportunities to learn (including the quality of instruction and the availability of resources necessary to support learning) and evaluating the quality of school environment;
(III) the impact of high-stakes uses of assessment on student performance and motivation, narrowing of curriculum, teaching practices, and test integrity;
(IV) the impact of various methods of assessment on children of different races, ethnicities, gender, socioeconomic status, and English language proficiencies, and children with other special needs;
(V) standards of performance, quality, and validity for various methods of assessment and the means by which such standards should be developed;
(VI) current and emerging testing practices of State and local education agencies within the United States, as well as other nations;
(VII) the diverse effects, both intended and unintended, of assessments as actually used in the schools, including effects on curriculum and instruction, effects on equity in the allocation of resources and opportunities, effects on equity of outcomes, effects on other procedures and standards for judging students and practitioners and possible inflation of test scores;
(VIII) identifying and evaluating how students with limited-English proficiency and students with disabilities are included and accommodated in the various assessment programs of State and local education agencies;
(IX) the feasibility and validity of comparing or equating the results of different assessments;
(X) test security, accountability, validity, reliability, and objectivity;
(XI) relevant teacher training and instruction in giving a test, scoring a test, and in the use of test results to improve student achievement;
(XII) developing, identifying, or evaluating new educational assessments, including performance-based and portfolio assessments which demonstrate skill and a command of knowledge; and
(XIII) other topics relevant to the purposes of the Institute; and
(ii) may reflect recommendations made by the National Education Goals Panel.
(e) NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON THE EDUCATION OF AT-RISK STUDENTS.--
(1) FINDINGS.--The Congress finds as follows:
(A) The rate of decline in our urban schools is escalating at a rapid pace. Student performance in most inner city schools grows worse each year. At least half of all students entering ninth grade fail to graduate 4 years later and many more students from high-poverty backgrounds leave school with skills that are inadequate for today's workplace. Student performance in many inner city neighborhoods grows worse each year. At least half of all students entering ninth grade fail to graduate in 4 years. In 1992, the average National Assessment of Educational Progress reading score of Caucasian 17 year-olds was approximately 25 points higher than that of African-American 17 year-olds and 20 points higher than that of Hispanic 17 year-olds.
(B) Rural schools enroll a disproportionately large share of the poor and at-risk students of the United States and yet often lack the means to address effectively the needs of these children. Intensive efforts should be made to overcome the problems of geographic isolation, declining population, inadequate financial resources and other impediments to the educational success of children residing in rural areas.
(C) By the year 2000, an estimated 3,400,000 school age children with limited-English proficiency will be entering the school system. The Federal Government should develop effective policies and programs to address the educational needs of this growing population of children who are at increased risk of educational failure.
(D) An educational emergency exists in those urban and rural areas where there are large concentrations of children who live in poverty. The numbers of disadvantaged children will substantially increase by the year 2020, when the number of impoverished children alone will be 16,500,000, a 33 percent increase over the 12,400,000 children in poverty in 1987.
(E) American Indian and Alaska Native students have high dropout, illiteracy and poverty rates, and experience cultural, linguistic, social and geographic isolation. The estimated 400,000 Indian and Alaska Native student population from over 500 Indian and Alaska Native tribes, is small and scattered throughout remote reservations and villages in 32 States, and in off-reservation rural and urban communities where Indians constitute but a small percentage of public school student bodies. To meaningfully address the special educational needs of this historically under-served population, the existing research and development system should be opened to Indian and Alaska Native people to identify needs and design ways to address such needs.
(F) Minority scholars as well as institutions and groups that have been historically committed to the improvement of the education of at-risk students need to be more fully mobilized in the effort to develop a new generation of programs, models, practices, and schools capable of responding to the urgent needs of students who are educationally at-risk.
(2) PURPOSE.--It shall be the purpose of the Institute on the Education of At-Risk Students to carry out a coordinated and comprehensive program of research and development to provide nonpartisan, research- based leadership to the United States as it seeks to improve educational opportunities for at-risk students. Such program shall--
(A) undertake research necessary to provide a sound basis from which to identify, develop, evaluate, and assist others to replicate and adapt interventions, programs, and models which promote greater achievement and educational success by at-risk students, such as--
(i) methods of instruction and educational practices (including community services) which improve the achievement and retention of at-risk students;
(ii) the quality of educational opportunities afforded at-risk students, particularly the quality of educational opportunities afforded such students in highly concentrated urban areas and sparsely populated rural areas;
(iii) methods for overcoming the barriers to learning that may impede student achievement;
(iv) innovative teacher training and professional development methods to help at-risk students meet challenging standards;
(v) methods to improve the quality of the education of American Indian and Alaska Native students not only in schools funded by the Bureau, but also in public elementary and secondary schools located on or near Indian reservations, including--
(I) research on mechanisms to facilitate the establishment of tribal departments of education that assume responsibility for all education programs of State educational agencies operating on an Indian reservation and all education programs funded by the Bureau on an Indian reservation;
(II) research on the development of culturally appropriate curriculum for American Indian and Alaska Native students, including American Indian and Alaska Native culture, language, geography, history and social studies, and graduation requirements related to such curriculum;
(III) research on methods for recruiting, training and retraining qualified teachers from American Indian and Alaska Native communities, including research to promote flexibility in the criteria for certification of such teachers;
(IV) research on techniques for improving the educational achievement of American Indian and Alaska Native students, including methodologies to reduce dropout rates and increase graduation by such students; and
(V) research concerning the performance by American Indian and Alaska Native students of limited-English proficiency on standardized achievement tests, and related factors;
(vi) means by which parents and community resources and institutions (including cultural institutions) can be utilized to support and improve the achievement of at-risk students;
(vii) the training of teachers and other educational professionals and paraprofessionals to work more effectively with at-risk students;
(viii) the most effective uses of technology in the education of at-risk students;
(ix) programs designed to promote gender equity in schools that serve at-risk students;
(x) improving the ability of classroom teachers and schools to assist new and diverse populations of students in successfully assimilating into the classroom environment;
(xi) methods of assessing the achievement of students which are sensitive to cultural differences, provide multiple methods of assessing student learning, support student acquisition of higher order capabilities, and enable identification of the effects of inequalities in the resources available to support the learning of children throughout the United States; and
(xii) other topics relevant to the purpose of the Institute; and
(B) maximize the participation of those schools and institutions of higher education that serve the greatest number of at-risk students in inner city and rural areas, and on Indian reservations, including model collaborative programs between schools and school systems, institutions of higher education, cultural institutions, and community organizations.
(3) CONSULTATION WITH INDIAN AND ALASKA NATIVE EDUCATORS.--All research and development activities supported by the Institute which relate to the education of Indian and Alaska Native students shall be developed in close consultation with Indian and Alaska Native researchers and educators, Tribally Controlled Community Colleges, tribal departments of education, and others with expertise in the needs of Indian and Native Alaska students.

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PART B--NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH POLICY AND PRIORITIES BOARD Table of Contents PART C--NATIONAL RESEARCH INSTITUTES (cont.)