Kimberley Sprague, Ed.M.
The Low-Cost, Short-Duration Evaluation of Special Education Interventions (Low-Cost Evaluation) grant program is designed to support rigorous evaluations of special education interventions (broadly defined as practices, programs, and policies) that state or local education agencies expect to produce meaningful improvements in student education outcomes within a short period (for example, within a single semester or academic year). These evaluations are to be conducted for $250,000 or less and completed within 2 years. The program will be carried out by research institutions and state or local education agencies working together as partners. The evaluations will use randomized controlled trials or regression discontinuity designs to determine the impact of special education interventions on student education outcomes, and will rely on administrative data or other sources of secondary data to provide measures of these student outcomes. Evaluation results are to be disseminated to the education agency and the public before the end of the grant.
Applicants may propose to evaluate interventions for students in prekindergarten through high school. The Institute is interested in interventions that are expected to improve outcomes for students with or at risk for disabilities. The Institute is not specifying categories of interventions beyond that an intervention is implemented by a state or local education agency and of high importance to that agency, and that the intervention can be evaluated in a timely fashion. Note that the costs of interventions and their implementation are to be covered by the state and/or local education agency; they will not be covered by this grant program.
Low-Cost Evaluation projects are to fill a specific niche in the evaluation process and are not applicable to all types of interventions (e.g., multi-year interventions) or situations (e.g., where the necessary data is not available from a secondary source). Through this grant program, the Institute intends to support better education agency decision making on specific interventions and to learn more about the value of this type of evaluation and what it can and cannot accomplish.