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

Biennial Evaluation Report - FY 93-94

Chapter 613

Educational Improvement Partnerships--National Programs National Diffusion Network

(CFDA NO. 84.073)

I. Program Profile

Legislation: Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, Title I, Section 1562 (20 U.S.C. 2962) as amended by the Augustus F. Hawkins-Robert T. Stafford Elementary and Secondary School Improvement Amendments of 1988 (P.L.100-297) (expires September 30, 1999).

Purpose: To promote national dissemination and use by public and nonpublic educational institutions of effective education practices, products, programs, and processes developed by local school districts, colleges and universities, and other public or private nonprofit organizations, agencies, or institutions.

Funding History

Fiscal Year Appropriation Fiscal Year Appropriation
1974 $ 9,100,000 1987 $ 10,700,000
1975 8,400,000 1988 10,244,000
1980 10,000,000 1989 11,066,000
1981 8,750,000 1990 12,837,000
1982 8,800,000 1991 14,150,812
1983 10,000,000 1992 14,700,000
1984 10,000,000 1993 14,582,400
1985 10,700,000 1994 14,582,400
1986 10,237,927

II. Program Information and Analysis

Population Targeting

The National Diffusion Network (NDN) is designed to serve all schools in the Nation. NDN programs have been adopted by schools of every type--rural, urban, and suburban--and for many target populations, including students with disabilities, students who are economically disadvantaged, students with limited English proficiency, migrant students, and functionally illiterate adults (III.1).

During the 1992-93 school year, 35,601 schools adopted NDN programs, 141,534 people were trained, and approximately 6.3 million students participated in programs (III.1). In the same year, NDN received 44 applications for new Developer Demonstrator awards and funded 26. Seven new State Facilitator applications were received and five were funded. In addition, an application for a new Dissemination Process Project, with an emphasis on family literacy, was funded.


The NDN currently funds Developer Demonstrator and Dissemination Process projects in reading, writing, health, history and civics, math, the humanities, science, special education, gifted and talented education, adult literacy, and projects to improve teaching and the quality of instruction. Developer Demonstrator projects are exemplary education programs, often developed by local schools and universities that receive funding to provide information and materials about the program and training materials to help others install the programs. Training and follow-up technical assistance are provided for education service providers seeking to adopt the programs. Dissemination Process projects are large-scale programs run by national organizations that provide instructional materials, services, and information about specific content areas, bodies of research, or fields of professional development.

A growing number of projects focus on readiness to learn in school and on high school completion. There are also a few programs that address discipline and drug-free schools. All projects disseminated by NDN have been evaluated locally and approved by the U.S. Department of Education's Program Effectiveness Panel. In addition, all States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Palau have a State Facilitator project that links the education programs included in the NDN with the local schools interested in adopting them. The Private School Facilitator project serves the Nation's private schools in the same way.

Program Administration

Grants for Developer Demonstrators, Dissemination Processes, and State Facilitators are awarded competitively and may last as long as 4 years, depending on performance and availability of funds. Contracts are also awarded competitively to (1) provide technical assistance to NDN grantees and to identify and assess promising practices; and (2) to support the Program Effectiveness Panel, which verifies the effectiveness of programs participating in the NDN (III.1).

Management Improvement Strategies

The National Diffusion Network is placing priority on dissemination funding for programs that directly address the National Education Goals, particularly the core subject areas of Goal 3. There also is a priority for comprehensive reform strategies for schools that serve high concentrations of at-risk students. At the same time, State Facilitators are being encouraged to place greater emphasis on supporting systemic school improvement efforts rather than simply focus on the number of program adoptions. Working collaboratively, Developer-Demonstrators and State Facilitators are refocusing their energies on the quality of program installations, with greater attention to ongoing follow-up assistance after training. For example, State Facilitators and some Developer Demonstrators form networks of program practitioners who exchange information and solve problems together on an ongoing basis.

Coordination between NDN and Department-funded programs is also underway:

To promote a more systemic approach to school reform, a number of NDN programs have joined with others that have compatible philosophies or strategies. In Wyoming, for example, the State Facilitator project places an emphasis on whole-school change and "bundles" programs. In large districts within the State, for example, school staff were trained in the compatible NDN programs that focused on early childhood/teen parenting, special education and Chapter 1 support, thinking skills and creativity, comprehensive health services and reading/literacy projects.

All NDN Developer Demonstrator projects are required to collect impact data from a representative sample of adoption sites. An analysis of these data normally indicate the adoption site participants do as well, or better than, the original development site participants. Submissions for revalidation of programs also bear this out.

III. Sources of Information

  1. Program files.

IV. Planned Studies


V. Contacts for Further Information

Program Operations:
Elizabeth Farquhar, (202) 219-2134
Program Studies:
Joanne Bogart, (202) 401-1958

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