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Soliciting Reviewers for the FY 2012 TIF Grant Competition

April 2012

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is seeking expert reviewers for the Fiscal Year 2012 competition for the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) program.  TIF is a $299 million grant program that provides financial support to develop and implement sustainable performance-based compensation systems for teachers, principals, and other personnel in high-need schools in order to increase educator effectiveness and student achievement in those schools.  More information about TIF is available at

The Invitation

Reviewers will work individually and on a panel with other reviewers to independently evaluate and score TIF applications based on the criteria established by ED. 

The review process will include an on-site training on Friday, August 3th in Washington, DC.  The reviewers will independently read, score, and comment on applications over the weekend.   On Monday August 6th reviewers will discuss preliminary scores and comments with their panel members.  The purpose of the on-site review is to:  (1) ensure that all members of the panel share a common understanding of the content of the applications and selection criteria; (2) discuss areas in which reviewers differ in their scoring; and (3) allow reviewers to finalize their scores based upon these discussions.  The purpose is not for panel members to reach consensus, but rather for each reviewer to use the conversation to inform their independent expert judgment in scoring applications.  Reviewers will receive an honorarium of $1,500 for participating in the TIF application review process.

Required Expertise

In order to serve as an expert reviewer of applications in this competition, individuals must possess certain backgrounds/experiences, as well as have Internet access and strong computer skills.

To qualify, reviewers must have expertise in effective high-quality evaluation systems for educators (either teacher and/or principal). 

 Additionally, reviewers must also have specific expertise in one or more of the following areas: 

  • Human capital decision making;
  • Teacher quality;
  • Data management and analysis;
  • Performance-based compensation;
  • Educational policy;
  • Science, technology, engineering or mathematics education;
  • Teaching/school leadership; and/or
  • Program evaluation.

Reviewer Commitments

If you are interested in being considered as a reviewer, please determine if you are able to commit to these important requirements:

  • AvailabilityReviewers must be available to travel to Washington, DC from August 3-9, to read applications, take part in an on-site panel discussions and submit final comments/scores.   Reviewers must also be available to participate in webinar training prior to the review week.  The webinar is planned for Monday, July 30th at 2:00 p.m. EST.
  • Quality of Review – Each reviewer must commit to providing detailed, objective, constructive, and timely written reviews for each assigned application.  These reviews will be used to recommend applications for funding.  They will also be shared with each applicant following the reviews.
  • Reviewer Training – All reviewers agree to receive and study review-training materials.  In addition, reviewers must participate in a webinar training planned for Monday, July 30th at 2:00 p.m. EST and a mandatory on-site reviewer orientation on August 3, 2012
  • Computer Literacy – The reviews will be completed electronically; therefore, reviewers must have sufficient word processing skills to enable the timely completion of assigned applications.
  • Absence of Conflict of Interest - Reviewers may not have any actual or apparent conflicts of interest. To determine whether a conflict of interest may exist, ask yourself:
    • Do you plan to assist in the preparation of a Teacher Incentive Fund grant application, or provide consultations services to an applicant?
    • Do you or your spouse have a personal financial interest in any of the proposed projects – e.g.; will you serve as project director, principal investigator, or consultant in a proposed project that is in review for possible TIF funding?

Reviewers will receive an honorarium for their time and effort, contingent upon satisfactory completion of the above requirements and consistent with the required schedule.

To Apply as a Reviewer

If you are interested, available, and can commit yourself to serving as an expert reviewer in the application review phase of the August 2012 TIF grant competition, please complete and e-mail a copy of your current résumé (5 page limit) along with a completed TIF Peer Review Checklist (document link below) to the TIF Program at by Friday, June 8, 2012. Your e-mail must contain the following for consideration:

  • Current résumé (no more than 5 pages). Please include in your resume a brief list of career highlights or bullet points outlining your specific expertise as it relates to the “Required Expertise” detailed above.  Please do not exceed the five-page limit for resumes.

  • TIF Peer Reviewer Checklist download files (MS Word) (109KB)

Note:  When you submit the TIF Peer Reviewer Checklist, please save it in MS Word only and title the document as follows: lastnamefirstname_reviewerchecklist.

Program Information: For more information about the TIF Program, go to

Next, Important Steps

Once you submit the above two documents, your name will then be added to TIF Program office’s list of experts available and interested in reviewing applications in the TIF 2012 grant competition.

Program staff will analyze the list to ensure the cadre of reviewers selected represents an appropriate mix of perspectives and expertise and will contribute accordingly to the highly rigorous, TIF review process. 

You will be notified by email no later than July 2, 2012, to confirm your participation, if ED panels you as a reviewer for this competition.  If for some reason, after you submit your application, you are not interested or available to serve as a reviewer, or you have a conflict of interest that prevents you from helping in this competition, please advise us so we can remove you from the list of possible reviewers for this grant competition. 

This invitation will be placed on several of the Department’s LISTSERVS.  We ask that you please recommend other experts in the above fields that may be interested in participating in this peer review.

If you have any questions please contact Karissa Schafer or Shannon Mitchell. Ms. Schafer’s contact information is or 202-453-5665; Ms. Mitchell can be reached at or 202-205-5158.

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Last Modified: 06/11/2012