[Federal Register: April 10, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 69)]
[Page 17587-17590]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

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Part V

Department of Education


Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI): Program of 
Research on Reading Comprehension; Notices

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[CFDA No. 84.305G]

Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI): Program of 
Research on Reading Comprehension; Notice Inviting Applications for New 
Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 2002

    Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Program of Research on 
Reading Comprehension is to expand scientific knowledge of how students 
develop proficient levels of reading comprehension, how reading 
comprehension can be taught most optimally, and how reading 
comprehension can be assessed in ways that reflect as well as advance 
our current understanding of reading comprehension and its development. 
The overarching goal of this program is to establish a scientific 
foundation for educational practice by supporting research on reading 
comprehension that is likely to produce substantial gains in academic 
    For FY 2002 the competition for new awards focuses on projects 
designed to meet the priority we describe in the Priority section of 
this notice.
    Eligible Applicants: Institutions of higher education, regional 
educational laboratories, public or private organizations, 
institutions, agencies, and individuals, or a consortium thereof.
    Deadline for Receipt of Letter of Intent: April 29, 2002.
    A Letter of Intent is optional, but encouraged, for each 
application. The Letter of Intent should be submitted by e-mail to 
PRRCLettersofIntent@ed.gov. Receipt of the Letter of Intent will be 
acknowledged by e-mail. The Letter of Intent should not exceed one page 
in length and should: include a title and brief description of the 
research project; identify the Principal Investigator(s) and any Co-
Principal Investigator(s); indicate the institutional affiliations of 
the Principal Investigator(s) and Co-Principal Investigator(s); 
indicate the duration of the proposed project; and provide an estimated 
budget request by year, and a total budget request. The Letter of 
Intent is for OERI planning purposes and will not be used in the 
evaluation of the application.
    Applications Available: April 10, 2002.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: 4:30 p.m. Washington DC 
time on May 31, 2002.
    Estimated Available Funds: $4.5 million.
    Estimated Range of Awards: $75,000 to $500,000 (for 12 months). The 
size of the awards will be commensurate with the nature and scope of 
the work proposed.
    Estimated Number of Awards: 10.

    Note: The Department is not bound by any estimates in this 

    Project Period: Up to 36 months.
    Page Limits: The application must include the following sections: 
Application for Federal Assistance (ED 424 Standard Face Sheet), one-
page abstract, research narrative, literature cited, curriculum vitae 
for principal investigators(s) and other key personnel, budget summary 
form (ED 524) with budget narrative, appendix, and statement of 
equitable access (GEPA 427). The research narrative is where you, the 
applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to 
evaluate your application. You must limit the research narrative (text 
plus all figures, charts, tables, and diagrams) to the equivalent of 25 
pages and the appendix to 20 pages, using the following standards:
     A ``page'' is 8.5" x 11", on one side only, with 1" 
margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.
     Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) 
all text in the research narrative, including titles, headings, 
footnotes, quotations, references, and captions, as well as all text in 
charts, tables, figures, and graphs.
     Use a font that is either 12-point or larger or no smaller 
than 10 pitch (characters per inch).

The page limit does not apply to the Application for Federal Assistance 
(ED 424 Standard Face Sheet), the one-page abstract, the budget summary 
form (ED 524) and narrative budget justification, the curriculum vitae, 
and literature cited. Nor does the limit apply to the assurances and 
certifications, which must be submitted before any award is made, but 
do not have to be submitted with the initial application.
    Our reviewers will not read any pages of your application that--
     Exceed the page limit if you apply these standards; or
     Exceed the equivalent of the page limit if you apply other 
    We have found that reviewers are able to conduct the highest 
quality review when applications are concise and easy to read, with 
pages consecutively numbered.
    Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General 
Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 74, 75 (except as 
limited in 34 CFR 700.5), 77, 80, 81, 82, 85, 86 (part 86 applies only 
to Institutions of Higher Education), 97, 98, and 99. (b) The 
regulations in 34 CFR part 700.



    Substantial research evidence has accrued concerning early literacy 
skills. Translating this research into practice should produce 
improvement of basic decoding and word recognition skills. According to 
recent reviews, such as the RAND Reading Study Group Report (2001), 
however, relatively little research has been aimed at reading 
comprehension. Comprehension builds on early skills, but involves 
processing of connected discourse and other complex verbal materials 
that are essential for academic success after the early elementary 
years. Indeed, reading achievement, as estimated by State and national 
test scores, typically declines after 4th grade. Research is needed 
that addresses this critical juncture between learning to read and 
reading to learn, including its antecedents in early childhood as well 
as consequences for later development. To that end, the Program of 
Research on Reading Comprehension is designed to expand scientific 
knowledge of how students develop proficient reading comprehension, how 
reading comprehension can best be taught, and how reading comprehension 
can be assessed in ways that reflect as well as advance current 
understanding of comprehension processes. Specifically, an important 
component of the program is to obtain converging evidence on 
development and assessment of comprehension that coheres with 
scientifically supported theories, and that advances such theories by 
subjecting their core predictions to empirical tests. A further purpose 
is to provide a scientific foundation for approaches to comprehension 
instruction that allow students to achieve proficient comprehension 
across a range of texts and subjects.


    This competition focuses on projects designed to meet the priority 
in the notice of final priority for this program, published elsewhere 
in this issue of the Federal Register. The title of this priority is 
Program of Research on Reading Comprehension. For FY 2002 this priority 
is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3) we consider only 
applications that meet the priority.
    Selection Criteria: The Secretary selects the following selection 
criteria in 34 CFR 700.30(e) to evaluate applications for new grants 
under this competition. The proportionate percentage weight for each 
criterion is indicated in parentheses.
    (a) National Significance (.2)

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    (b) Quality of the Project Design (.5)
    (c) Quality and Potential Contributions of Personnel (.2)
    (d) Adequacy of Resources (.1)
    Strong applications for Program of Research on Reading 
Comprehension (PRRC) grants clearly address each of the applicable 
selection criteria. They make a well-reasoned and compelling case for 
the national significance of the problems or issues that will be the 
subject of the proposed research, and present a research design that is 
complete, clearly delineated, and incorporates sound research methods. 
In addition, the personnel descriptions included in strong applications 
make it apparent that the project director, principal investigator, and 
other key personnel possess training and experience commensurate with 
their duties.
    Collaboration: We encourage collaboration in the conduct of 
research. For example, major research universities and institutions may 
collaborate with historically underrepresented institutions, such as 
Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving 
Institutions, and Tribal Colleges and Universities.
    Pre-Application Meeting: April 22, 2002.
    Interested parties are invited to participate in a pre-application 
meeting to discuss the funding priority. In the meeting, participants 
will receive technical assistance and information about the funding 
priority. Participants are also encouraged to use this meeting to 
engage in substantive discussion about prior empirical research and the 
nature of high quality research in this area. You may attend the 
meeting in person at the Department of Education, Office of Educational 
Research and Improvement, 555 New Jersey Avenue, NW., room 101, 
Washington, DC, between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. A summary of the meeting will 
be posted on the Internet at: http://www.ed.gov/offices/OERI.

Assistance to Individuals With Disabilities at the Meeting

    The meeting site is accessible to individuals with disabilities. If 
you will need an auxiliary aid or service to participate in the meeting 
(e.g., interpreting service, assistive listening device, or materials 
in an alternative format), notify the contact person listed under FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT at least two weeks before the scheduled 
meeting date. Although we will attempt to meet a request we receive 
after that date, we may not be able to make available the requested 
auxiliary aid or service because of insufficient time to arrange it.

Application Procedures

    The Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) of 1998, (Pub. L. 
105-277) and the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement 
Act of 1999, (Pub. L. 106-107) encourage us to undertake initiatives to 
improve our grant processes. Enhancing the ability of individuals and 
entities to conduct business with us electronically is a major part of 
our response to these Acts. Therefore, we are taking steps to adopt the 
Internet as our chief means of conducting transactions in order to 
improve services to our customers and to simplify and expedite our 
business processes.
    We are requiring that applications to the FY 2002 Program of 
Research on Reading Comprehension be submitted electronically using e-
Application available through the Education Department's e-GRANTS 
system. The e-GRANTS system is accessible through its portal page at: 
    Applicants who are unable to submit an application through the e-
GRANTS system may apply for a waiver to the electronic submission 
requirement. To apply for a waiver, applicants must explain the 
reason(s) that prevent them from using the Internet to submit their 
applications. The reasons(s) must be outlined in a letter addressed to: 
Anne Sweet or Rita Foy, U.S. Department of Education, 555 New Jersey 
Avenue, NW, room 513, Washington, DC 20208-5573. Please submit your 
letter no later than two weeks before the closing date.
    Any application that receives a waiver to the electronic submission 
requirement will be given the same consideration in the review process 
as an electronic application.

Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking

    Some of the procedures in these instructions for transmitting 
applications differ from those in the Education Department General 
Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) (34 CFR 75.102). Under the 
Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553) the Department generally 
offers interested parties the opportunity to comment on proposed 
regulations. However, these amendments make procedural changes only and 
do not establish new substantive policy. Therefore, under 5 U.S.C. 
553(b)(A), the Secretary has determined that proposed rulemaking is not 

Pilot Project for Electronic Submission of Applications

    In FY 2002, the U.S. Department of Education is continuing to 
expand its pilot project of electronic submission of applications to 
include additional formula grant programs and additional discretionary 
grant competitions. The Program of Research on Reading Comprehension--
CFDA 84.305G is one of the programs included in the pilot project. If 
you are an applicant under the Program of Research on Reading 
Comprehension, you must submit your application to us in electronic 
format or receive a waiver.
    The pilot project involves the use of the Electronic Grant 
Application System (e-APPLICATION, formerly e-GAPS) portion of the 
Grant Administration and Payment System (GAPS). We shall continue to 
evaluate its success and solicit suggestions for improvement.
    Please note the following:
     Do not wait until the deadline date for the transmittal of 
applications to submit your application electronically. If you wait 
until the deadline date to submit your application electronically and 
you are unable to access the e-Application system, you must contact the 
Help Desk by 4:30 p.m. Washington DC time on the deadline date.
     Keep in mind that e-Application is not operational 24 
hours a day every day of the week. Click on Hours of Web Site Operation 
for specific hours of access during the week.
     You will have access to the e-Application Help Desk for 
technical support: 1-888-336-8930 (TTY: 1-866-697-2696, local 202-401-
8363). The Help Desk hours of operation are limited to: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. 
Washington DC time Monday-Friday.
     If you submit your application electronically by the 
transmittal date but also wish to submit a paper copy of your 
application, then you must mail the paper copy of the application on or 
before the deadline date to: U.S. Department of Education, Application 
Control Center, Attention: CFDA # 84.305G, 7th and D Streets, SW., Room 
3633, Regional Office Building 3, Washington, DC 20202-4725.
     You can submit all documents electronically, including the 
Application for Federal Assistance (ED 424 Standard Face Sheet), Budget 
Information--Non-Construction Programs (ED 524), and all necessary 
assurances and certifications.
     Within three working days of submitting your electronic 
application, fax a signed copy of the Application for Federal 
Assistance (ED 424 Standard Face Sheet) to the Application Control 
Center after following these steps:

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    1. Print ED 424 from the e-APPLICATION system.
    2. Make sure that the institution's Authorizing Representative 
signs this form.
    3. Before faxing this form, submit your electronic application via 
the e-APPLICATION system. You will receive an automatic 
acknowledgement, which will include a PR/Award number (an identifying 
number unique to your application).
    4. Place the PR/Award number in the upper right hand corner of ED 
    5. Fax ED 424 to the Application Control Center at (202) 260-1349.
     We may request that you give us original signatures on all 
other forms at a later date.
    You may access the electronic grant application for the PRRC at: 

Department of Education, 555 New Jersey Avenue, NW., room 513, 
Washington, DC 20208-5573. Telephone: (202) 219-0610, or FAX: (202) 
219-2135, or via Internet: PRRCinfo@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may 
call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339.
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the program contact person listed under FOR 
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain a copy of the application 
package in an alternative format by contacting Anne P. Sweet or Rita 
Foy Moss. However, the Department is not able to reproduce in an 
alternative format the standard forms included in the application 

Electronic Access to This Document

    You may view this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe 
Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: 
    To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available 
free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. 
Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in 
the Washington, DC area at (202) 512-1530.

    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO Access at: http://

    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 6031.

    Dated: April 4, 2002.
Grover J. Whitehurst,
Assistant Secretary for Educational Research and Improvement.
[FR Doc. 02-8718 Filed 4-9-02; 8:45 am]