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Call for Proposals: Developer Competition for Impact Evaluation of Academic Language Interventions
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4/1/2016 to 5/31/2016
When: Friday, April 1, 2016
Where: United States

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MDRC, Abt Associates, and the Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) at Florida State University will soon invite developers of academic language interventions to submit proposals to participate in a national, large-scale impact evaluation that is being conducted by the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE) within the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), U.S. Department of Education. Academic language generally refers to linguistic features that are prevalent in academic discourse across school content areas and are infrequent in colloquial conversations. Specifically for this project, academic language is defined as knowledge and understanding of words and discourse found in text that forms the basis for the language of schooling. The focus of the evaluation will be academic language interventions that target elementary and/or middle schools, with a specific focus on English Learners (ELs) and disadvantaged native English speakers in need of stronger academic language skills.

The competition referenced in this announcement will invite developers (including researchers, publishers, and other organizations involved in the development of academic language interventions) to apply to provide training and implementation support for their academic language interventions. MDRC and its partners represent the impact evaluation team and are responsible for the design and execution of this multisite impact evaluation. If you have a program designed to improve academic language for ELs and disadvantaged native English speakers in late elementary or early middle grades, participation in this study will produce evidence of your program’s impact.

Candidate developers must have experience providing training and implementation support activities to educators and the capacity to provide this training and support on a large-scale. Proposals will be evaluated on the quality and clarity of the intervention’s logic model, readiness of training and support activities and materials, associated evidence of efficacy, and staff experience and capacity. Up to four intervention developers will be selected to present in Washington, DC, and further discuss their proposals. Subsequently, MDRC and the impact evaluation team, in consultation with IES and an expert review panel, will select up to three developers who will subcontract with MDRC to provide training and support for the implementation of their academic language interventions.

For the impact evaluation, MDRC and its partners will recruit and randomly assign approximately 80 schools, or specific grade levels within schools, across eight or more school districts to either receive the intervention (program group) or serve as part of the control group. Developers will provide training on their academic language intervention to program group teachers during the summer of 2017 and support implementation throughout the 2017-2018 school year. Developers must have the capacity to train and support approximately 100 teachers in 25 or more schools across eight or more school districts. Control group teachers will receive supports normally provided by their district. Over the course of the year, MDRC and its partners will collect data including: direct assessments of students’ academic language proficiency (proximal and distal), assessments of program implementation fidelity, information about the training provided to teachers, classroom observations to document the contrast between treatment and control group teachers and classrooms, and administrative records to document student English proficiency and progress. MDRC and its partners will estimate the impact of the implemented interventions on the academic language proficiency of each group of students: ELs and native English speakers.

The RFP will be released on MDRC’s website in mid-April. The RFP will be widely advertised on various websites, such as the NCEE website among others. To receive an email when the RFP is released, please contact Dr. Donald Compton at

Key Dates

Anticipated RFP ReleaseDate


Non-binding Letter of Intent toBid

End of April2016



Presentations byFinalists

Late June2016

Award of DeveloperSubcontracts








Inquiries: Donald Compton,, and William Corrin,

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