Grants for Enhanced Assessment Instruments

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Frequently Asked Questions
For Competitions in 2010 and Earlier Years (March 2010)

1. The Application Process

1. What is the purpose of the Enhanced Assessment Grants?

The purpose of these grants is to support state activities designed to improve the quality, validity, and reliability of state academic assessments beyond the requirements for such assessments described in section 1111(b)(3) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended. Enhanced Assessment Grant funds may not be used for the routine printing, administration or scoring of existing state assessments. The grant funds may be used for the development of new assessment products or procedures, such as innovative test format, empirical analysis of variations in test format or procedures, or statistical models useful for combining data from multiple measures, or charting student progress over time.

2. Who may apply for an Enhanced Assessment Grant?

A state educational agency (SEA), as defined in section 9101(41) of the ESEA, or a consortium of such SEAs may apply for an Enhanced Assessment Grant. An SEA, as defined by section 9101(41) of the ESEA, is the agency primarily responsible for the state supervision of public elementary schools and secondary schools and is the entity that has submitted a plan under section 1111(a) of the ESEA to the U.S. Department of Education (ED).

The applicant may work in collaboration with institutions of higher education, other research institutions, or other organizations. (ESEA Sec. 6112(a)(1)) An application from a consortium of SEAs must designate one SEA as the fiscal agent and this SEA must submit the application. The grant will be awarded to the SEA designated as the applicant and fiscal agent. (34 C.F.R § 75.127-75.129)

3. What is the process for obtaining an application form and submitting an application for an Enhanced Assessment Grant? Is use of a standard application form required?

Applications for grants under the Enhanced Assessment Grants Program must be submitted electronically using ED's Electronic Grant Application System (e-Application) accessible through the Department’s e-Grants site at http://e-grants.ed.gov unless the applicant qualifies for an exception to the electronic submission requirement.

All applicants must use the standard application package to apply for an Enhanced Assessment Grant. The application package is available via the Internet at: http://www.ed.gov/programs/eag/applicant.html. As explained further below (in question #4), the application package also may be accessed through e-Application after registering to use the system. It is recommended that you obtain the application package via the Internet. If you are unable to access an application package via the Internet, you may obtain an application package from ED by contacting Collette Roney via mail at: Collette Roney, Enhanced Assessment Grants Program, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 3W210, Washington, DC 20202-6200, by telephone at: (202) 401-5245, or by e-mail: http://e-grants.ed.gov, as explained in more detail below, in order to access the application package on e-Application. If you have not used e-Application in the past, you may want to review the Demo available on the e-Application homepage. Forms in an application package must be completed online and narratives must be uploaded while an applicant is logged into the system. Applicants should allow sufficient time to complete their applications before the closing date. The document e-Application Submission Procedures and Tips for Applicants in the application package provides important submission procedures and further instructions for using e-Application.

If you are a new user, you will need to register to use e-Application. From the e-Grants Portal Page (http://e-grants.ed.gov), click on the "Continue" button and then click the “Register” button on the right side of the next page. Select the e-Application module and click the "Next" button. Please provide the requested information. Your e-Grants password will be sent to the e-mail address you provide. Once you receive the e-mail, enter your username and password and click the login button. If you have not used e-Application in the past, you may want to walk through the Demo available on the e-Application homepage.

If you already have a username and password for e-Grants, use them to login. If you have access to more than one e-Grants module, you will be directed to select the module that you wish to enter. Keep in mind that your existing username and password will be used for all e-Grants modules. In order to update your registration for additional e-Grants modules, click the appropriate tab on the top of the screen and provide the requested information.

We strongly recommend that you do not wait until the last day to submit your application. The time it takes to upload the narratives for your application will vary depending on a number of factors including the size of the files and the speed of your Internet connection. If you try to submit your application after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time on the deadline date, the e-Application system will not accept it.

If you encounter difficulties using e-Application, you may also contact the e-Grants help desk on 1-888-336-8930.

5. Do any special rules apply to applications from a consortium of SEAs as opposed to an application from as single SEA?

If a consortium of SEAs applies for a grant, the members of the consortium must designate one member to apply for the grant. All members of the consortium must enter into an agreement that (1) details the activities that each member of the consortium plans to perform; and (2) binds each member of the consortium to every statement and assurance made by the applicant in its application. (34 C.F.R. § 75.128) Given the nature of Enhanced Assessment Grants, this agreement should address issues of ownership among members of the consortium of any copyrights anticipated under the grant. The SEA designated as the applicant must submit the agreement with its application.

When a grant is made to a consortium of SEAs, the applicant for the consortium is the grantee and is legally responsible for:

  • The use of all grant funds;
  • Ensuring that the project is carried out by the consortium in accordance with Federal requirements; and
  • Ensuring that indirect cost funds are determined as required under 34 C.F.R. § 75.564(e)

Each member of the consortium is legally responsible to:

  • Carry out the activities it agrees to perform; and
  • Use the funds that it receives under the agreement in accordance with Federal regulations that apply to the grant.

34 C.F.R. § 75.129.

6. What information must an applicant provide to ED at the application stage regarding research activities involving human subjects?

On the ED Supplemental Information for SF 424 Form in the application package, every applicant must indicate whether research activities involving human subjects are planned at any time during the project period. If human subjects research activities are planned, the applicant must indicate whether these activities are exempt or covered (nonexempt) and provide detailed information about research activities. Enhanced Assessment Grants that involve nonexempt human subjects research will need to obtain a Federal Wide Assurance (FWA) agreeing to abide by ED’s regulations for protection of human subjects in research and be reviewed by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) before beginning non-exempt activities. ED will make the final determination regarding whether a grant requires IRB review.

Additional information about human research subjects and the need for IRB approval is available on ED’s protection of human subjects website at: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocfo/humansub.html. Applicants with questions about these requirements also may contact ED’s Protection of Human Subject Coordinator, Jeffery.Rodamar@ed.gov.

7. May an SEA participate in more than one grant consortium?

Yes, an SEA may participate in more than one grant, either as the designated applicant or as a member of a consortium of SEAs.

8. May an individual SEA receive more than one grant?

The conditions of the grant do not preclude an SEA from receiving multiple grants. In awarding grants, however, ED will consider the capacity of a single SEA to complete multiple projects simultaneously.

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2. Managing the Grant

9. When will grant funds be distributed?

Fiscal year (FY) 2009 funds will be awarded through a competition conducted in 2010. The estimated date of the award of Enhanced Assessment Grant funds from the competition conducted in 2010 is August 2010.

10. When may work begin on these enhanced assessment projects?

Work may begin as soon as the grantee receives notification of the grant award from from ED.

11. How long do SEAs have to spend the grant funds?

The project period ends 24 months from the first day of the award period. This means that all work described in the grant application, including dissemination activities, must be completed by that time.

The funding period also ends 24 months from the first day of the award period. This means that all funds must be obligated and liquidated within 90 days following that date.

12. What regulations apply to Enhanced Assessment Grants projects?

The following regulations apply to Enhanced Assessment Grants: (a) the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 74, 75, 77, 80, 81, 82, 84, 85, 86, 97, 98, and 99; and (b) the notice of final requirements published in the Federal Register on May 22, 2002 (67 FR 35967). EDGAR is available on ED’s website at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/fund/reg/edgarReg/edgar.html. The Federal Register notice is also available at http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/finrule/2002-2/052202a.html.

13. Does the grantee have to file reports on progress, or will ED monitor progress of the project?

Each SEA receiving an Enhanced Assessment Grant must submit an annual performance report to the Secretary describing its activities, and the result of those activities, under the grant (ESEA section 6112(c)), as well as current performance and financial expenditure information in accordance with 34 C.F.R. § 75.118. At the end of the project period, grantees must submit a final performance report to the Secretary, including financial information as directed by the Secretary. Performance reports are submitted using ED's Grant Performance Report form, ED 524-B. ED 524-B Form, Parts 1-3, is available at:
http://www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html. In addition, ED staff will annually monitor grantees using the ED Student Achievement and School Accountability Programs Monitoring Plan for the Enhanced Assessment Grants Program. ED staff also will contact the grantee periodically for informal updates until the project is completed.

14. Will additional financial support be available in the form of grant renewal or continuation from funds allocated for this program for the next fiscal year?

No. Applicants should view this as a one-time grant. If funds are appropriated by Congress in the future, a separate grant competition will be held.

15. May a grantee award a subgrant to another agency, organization, or institution to carry out grant-related activities?

No. A grantee has no authority to award a subgrant under an Enhanced Assessment Grant. A grantee may, however, may enter into a contract or cooperative agreement with an appropriate entity to carry out grant-related activities.

16. What are a grantee’s responsibilities when the grantee enters into a contract or cooperative agreement to carry out grant-related activities?

A grantee that enters into a contract or cooperative agreement to carry out grant-related activities must have a contract administration system to ensure that contractors perform in accordance with the terms, conditions, and specifications of their contracts or purchase orders. The grantee should have in place a plan for monitoring contractor performance to ensure that it meets all applicable requirements.

17. Who owns the copyright to any products/materials developed under an Enhanced Assessment Grant?

ED reserves a royalty-free, nonexclusive, and irrevocable license to reproduce, publish or otherwise use, and to authorize others to use, for Federal Government purposes: (a) The copyright in any work developed under an Enhanced Assessment Grant; and (b) Any rights of copyright to which a grantee or a contractor purchases ownership with grant support. (34 C.F.R. § 80.34)
ED has no intent at this time to exercise its license with respect to any products that may be produced as a result of this competition. If a grantee produces a product but fails to make it reasonably available to interested entities, ED may exercise its license at a future date if doing so would further the interests of the Federal Government with regard to that product. Except when ED exercises such license with respect to any products that may be produced as a result of this competition, the assignment of ownership rights under the agreement among consortium members described in question #5 above applies.

18. The grant award criteria include points for “an effective plan for dissemination of results.” Does this mean that the grantee must actually distribute a product or can dissemination take the form of information posted on a website?

All grant applications that include plans for dissemination should include a description of the materials to be disseminated and the medium that will be used for dissemination. The "product" to be disseminated may take several forms, such as a complete test, a test framework or blueprint, a procedures manual, or results of data analysis. Distribution may be accomplished electronically, by mail, or in the form of an academic publication or a conference presentation.

19. May funds be used to pay for state memberships in consortia projects, including travel and administration costs?

The grant will be made to a state or consortium of states for the purpose of completing the activities described in the proposal. If the participants need to travel to a planning meeting, grant funds may be used to cover the cost of travel or other administrative costs that are directly related to grant activities.

20. Who can I contact for clarification or additional information?


For clarification or additional information, please contact:

Collette Roney
Enhanced Assessment Grants Program
Student Achievement and School Accountability Programs
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
U.S. Department of Education
202-401-5245
collette.roney@ed.gov

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Last Modified: 04/19/2011