School & District Management

Ed. Dept. Offers Research Grants; Seeking ‘Critical Mass’ of Studies

By Debra Viadero — January 08, 2003 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The Department of Education is looking for researchers to apply for more than $90 million in new grants to support studies on reading comprehension, preschool curricula, learning and cognition, and strategies for moving proven programs into classrooms on a wide scale.

Details on any of the research grants are available from the Institute of Education Sciences.

“The concept here is to focus money around needed areas to get some critical mass of research so that, after a period of five years, we can look back and come to some conclusions about what are effective educational practices with a solid, scientific basis of research,” said Valerie S. Reyna, a senior scientist and adviser to the director of the department’s recently formed Institute of Education Sciences.

The institute, which replaces the department’s office of educational research and improvement, is overseeing or co-directing the new grants.

The largest pot of money, $48 million, will support a fifth round of grants for the Interagency Education Research Initiative, a cross-disciplinary, cross- agency effort to support studies in reading, mathematics, and science. The Education Department runs that program with the National Science Foundation and the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

According to the formal application request for the programs, which institute officials posted online Dec. 16, the grants for this round will focus on strategies for taking proven programs and successfully scaling them up so they have more impact on schools.

Beginning around August, the agencies plan to award a variety of grants through the cross-disciplinary program. To find out more, researchers can attend a “preapplication” meeting at the institute on Jan. 21.

In comparison, the preschool-grant program is aimed at systematically testing whether established programs for enhancing preschoolers’ school readiness work.

“There are curricula that have proliferated in that area in response to a perceived need. However, there was a gap in knowledge about the effectiveness of those curricula,” Ms. Reyna said. The institute expects to dole out 15 or more preschool-research awards, each one worth at least $350,000 in the first year.

The projects that get the funding will have to employ random- assignment research methods to gauge whether the programs they are testing get better results than more typical preschool classrooms. All the projects will use common yardsticks for measuring effectiveness so that the programs can be compared across studies. The application deadline for the preschool program is March 14.


For the grant program supporting research on student cognition and learning, which is also in its second round of funding, the methodological criteria are less rigid. Under that initiative, the institute plans to award 12 three-year grants—each one averaging about $250,000 a year—for studies that bring groundbreaking findings emerging from laboratory-based studies in cognitive science to bear on classroom learning. That application deadline is March 21.

The grants awarded through the year-old reading comprehension program will support research on helping children overcome learning hurdles that can set in as they move from learning to read to reading to learn.

Funding for that program, which also has a March 21 application deadline, will support up to 20 three-year grants of $250,000 to $350,000 each annually.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Mathematics Webinar
Pave the Path to Excellence in Math
Empower your students' math journey with Sue O'Connell, author of “Math in Practice” and “Navigating Numeracy.”
Content provided by hand2mind
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Recruitment & Retention Webinar
Combatting Teacher Shortages: Strategies for Classroom Balance and Learning Success
Learn from leaders in education as they share insights and strategies to support teachers and students.
Content provided by DreamBox Learning
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum Reading Instruction and AI: New Strategies for the Big Education Challenges of Our Time
Join the conversation as experts in the field explore these instructional pain points and offer game-changing guidance for K-12 leaders and educators.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management What's Stopping Later School Start Times That Support Teen Sleep? Bus Schedules, for One
See practical strategies for districts looking to move start times to accommodate teen sleep schedules.
5 min read
Crossing guard Pamela Lane waves at a school bus passing her intersection as she crosses students going to Bluford Elementary School on Sept. 5, 2023, in Philadelphia.
Crossing guard Pamela Lane waves at a school bus passing her intersection near Bluford Elementary School on Sept. 5, 2023, in Philadelphia.
Alejandro A. Alvarez/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP
School & District Management Opinion 'I Used to Think School Systems Were Broken': Educators Reflect
Changing your mind or evolving your thinking is not easy. Hear how these education leaders did just that.
1 min read
Used to Think
Hear how these Harvard education graduate students evolved their thinking around both their practice and work as systems leaders.
School & District Management Opinion I Teach Educators How to Change Their Minds. Here’s How
Four important lessons for how educators—school and district leaders, especially—can create opportunities for growth.
Jennifer Perry Cheatham, Erica Lim & Carmen Williams
5 min read
Video stills
The students from the Leaders of Learning class taught by Jennifer Perry Cheatham at the Harvard Graduate School of Education last year.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week
School & District Management Opinion The 4 Gifts Principals Should Give Teachers This Year (Hint: Not Another School Mug)
Instead of a staff pizza party or a school-branded mug, give them meaningful gifts that really nourish their craft.
4 min read
A Large yellow bow across the foreground of a  photo illustration group of teachers line up happily closely together along a wall
Vanessa Solis/Education Week via Canva