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Nov 8 -- The What Works Clearinghouse of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), U.S. Department of Education seeks public input by December 8, 2021 regarding rigorous research on education practices designed to improve postsecondary student success.
A sizable number of students who enter postsecondary education with the intention of earning a certificate or degree never achieve that goal. One out of every five (18.5 percent) first-time postsecondary students who entered college in 2011-12 with the goal of completing a bachelor's degree had not earned a credential of any type (completion) and was no longer enrolled (persistence) by spring 2017. Among students who entered college in 2011-12 and had intended to earn an associate degree, the combined persistence and completion rate was even lower: nearly half (45.7 percent) were no longer enrolled and had no education credential to show for their time, effort, and expense.

There is unlikely to be a “one size fits all” solution to significantly improving postsecondary completion outcomes among the Nation's learners, given their diversity and the diversity of institutions they attend. Instead, a variety of policies, programs, products, and practices will be needed. What should be common across all, however, is that they should be evidence-based.

The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC), a program of the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences, reviews existing education research to provide educators and other key stakeholders information they can use to make evidence-based decisions. Specifically, the WWC reviews causal impact studies; that is, research evaluating the efficacy of interventions—policies, programs, products, or practices—on outcomes of interest.

Since 2012, the WWC has sought to increase the number of causal impact studies it has reviewed that are relevant to postsecondary educators, policymakers, and administrators. To date, this includes more than 930 individual studies. In that same time, the WWC has tripled the number of systematic reviews it conducts of specific branded and non-branded interventions (Intervention Reports) and expanded its portfolio of postsecondary-focused Practice Guides, publications that present specific, evidence-based recommendations for educators to improve their practice.

Despite the growth in its postsecondary-focused resources, the Department believes there may be existing causal impact research specifically relevant to improving postsecondary completion outcomes among the Nation's learners that the WWC has not yet reviewed. As such, we seek public comment to assist us in identifying relevant research. We are particularly interested in research that focuses on policies, programs, products, and practices that improve postsecondary success and can be implemented by postsecondary systems and/or institutions, working either in their own settings or in other settings ( e.g., high schools) in partnership with other education stakeholders ( e.g., local or State educational agencies).

This is a request for information only. This RFI is not a request for proposals (RFP) or a promise to issue an RFP or a notice inviting applications. This RFI does not commit the Department to contract for any supply or service whatsoever. Further, we are not seeking proposals and will not accept unsolicited proposals. The Department will not pay for any information or administrative costs that you may incur in responding to this RFI. The documents and information submitted in response to this RFI will not be returned.

We will review every comment, and, as described above, electronic comments in response to this RFI will be publicly available on the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. Please note that IES will not directly respond to comments.

Solicitation of Comments: We invite stakeholders who are aware of publicly available causal impact research that is specifically relevant to improving postsecondary completion outcomes among the Nation's learners but that the WWC has not yet reviewed to share the following in their comments:

(1) The work's author, title, year of publication, and publisher; and
(2) If available, the work's Digital Object Identifier (DOI), ERIC number, or a URL where the WWC can find a publicly available copy of the work ( e.g., a university website).

FR notice: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/11/08/2021-24382/request-for-information-on-rigorous-research-on-interventions-that-promote-postsecondary-success

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