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Federal Efforts Towards Investing in Innovation through the i3 Fund: A Summary of Grantmaking and Evidence-Building

Finding and expanding the use of innovative educational strategies that work is important to help improve student learning and close equity gaps nationwide. The Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) was a key U.S. Department of Education (Department) program explicitly focused on these goals. Between 2010 and 2016, i3 invested $1.4 billion in 172 five-year grants to universities, school districts, and private non-profit organizations. The i3 Fund intentionally awarded different types of grants to either develop and test new, innovative but as-yet unproven strategies or to learn more about the circumstances under which previously tested strategies are effective. Grantees were required to fund independent evaluations that would meet high standards for quality. The Department reviewed 148 i3 evaluations, completed at or after the conclusion of the grants, to understand the key components of the grantees' educational strategies, assess the quality of the grantees' evaluations, and summarize what the evaluations found.

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