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Funding Opportunities | Education Research Grant Programs

Program Announcement: Evaluation of State and Local Education Programs and Policies CFDA 84.305H

Program Officer:
Dr. Allen Ruby
National Center for Education Research
Telephone: (202) 245-8145

Dr. Jacquelyn Buckley
National Center for Special Education Research
Telephone: (202) 245-6607

The Evaluation of State and Local Education Programs and Policies (State/Local Evaluation) topic supports the evaluation of fully-developed programs and policies implemented by state and local education agencies to determine whether they produce a beneficial impact on student education outcomes relative to a counterfactual when they are implemented under routine conditions in authentic education settings. These evaluations are to determine both the overall impact of the programs/policies and the impact across a variety of conditions.

The Institute supports the evaluation of programs and policies that substantially modify or differ from existing practices. The modest changes in programs/policies that States and districts make on an ongoing basis, such as small changes in daily schedules or minor adjustments to teacher certification systems, are not the targets of this research program. Ongoing projects are evaluating State and local programs/policies that include: expansion of preschool, technology-based formative testing, rigorous curriculum requirements, high-stakes testing, professional development programs, and grade retention policies.

Through the State/Local Evaluation topic, the Institute seeks to establish long-term partnerships between research institutions and education agencies that will focus their research efforts on programs/policies of high relevance to policymakers and practitioners. The Institute expects the education agencies to identify research questions of high importance to their work, help shape the evaluation to meet their conditions, and have direct access to the results. These education agencies may lack the funds and/or the research capacity to evaluate such programs/policies, yet such evaluations are necessary to distinguish those programs/policies producing the expected outcomes from those that do not, to identify the particular groups (e.g., types of students, teachers, or schools) for which programs/policies work, and to determine which aspects of programs/policies need to be modified. The results of such evaluations are of value not only to the education agency directly involved, but also to other states and districts that may be using or considering the use of similar programs/policies.

Projects under the State/Local Evaluation topic will result in the following:

  • Evidence regarding the impact of a fully-developed program/policy, implemented by a state or local education agency, on relevant student academic outcomes relative to a comparison condition using a rigorous research design that meets the Institute's What Works Clearinghouse evidence standards (with or without reservations) ( The impacts include both overall impacts and impacts under a variety of conditions.

  • Conclusions on and revisions to the theory of change that guides the program or policy and a discussion of the broader contributions to the theoretical and practical understanding of education processes and procedures.

  • Information needed for future research on the program or policy.
    • If a beneficial impact is found, the identification of the organizational supports, tools, and procedures needed for sufficient implementation of the core components of the program or policy.

    • If no beneficial impact is found, a determination of whether and how to revise the program or policy and/or its implementation.

  • Information about the financial costs of the program/policy.