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  • 1. Amendments, General Clarifications, and Questions and Responses for RFP for Training and Support for Implementation of Tier 2 RtI Models January 30, 2009 This document is divided into three sections: Amendments to the RFP, General Clarifications, and Questions and Responses. I. Amendments to RFP On the basis of questions received and further consideration, the following amendments have been made to the RFP: Page January 5, 2009 RFP Text January 30, 2009 Amended RFP Text Cover Responses to Offeror’s questions: January 27, 2009 Responses to Offeror’s questions: January 30, 2009 page Letter of intent deadline: February 3, 2009 Letter of intent deadline: February 10, 2009 Proposal submission deadline: March 20, 2009 Proposal submission deadline: March 25, 2009 5 3. Eighty to 100 minutes of instruction per week to students in Tier 3. Eighty to 150 minutes of instruction per week to students in Tier 2 (e.g., three 30- minute sessions per week, four 25-minute sessions 2 (e.g., four 20-minute sessions per week, three 30-minute sessions per week, or two 45-minute sessions per week). Tier 2 instruction is in per week, four 30-minute sessions per week, or a maximum of five 30- addition to at least 60 minutes of Tier 1 instruction a day. minute sessions per week). Tier 2 instruction is in addition to at least 60 minutes of Tier 1 instruction a day. 6 4. Differentiate the amount of time in Tier 2. Depending on their 4. Differentiate the amount of time in Tier 2. Depending on their reading development, students may require more or less instructional reading development, students may require more or less instructional time on different aspects of reading (e.g., phonemic segmentation, time on different aspects of reading (e.g., phonemic segmentation, letter-sound relations, decoding unfamiliar words, acquiring sight word letter-sound relations, decoding unfamiliar words, acquiring sight word vocabulary, reading connected text, or acquiring word meanings). vocabulary, reading connected text, or acquiring word meanings). Differentiating instructional time can occur by forming groups that Differentiating instructional time can occur by forming groups that differ differ in the time allocated to specific skill, by allocating different in the time allocated to specific skill, by allocating different amounts of amounts of time and practice on specific skills within instructional time and practice on specific skills within instructional groups for groups for individuals, providing some students with either additional individuals, providing some students with either additional lessons or lessons or longer lessons, and/or increasing the amount of time for longer lessons, and/or making the amount of time for Tier 2 instruction Tier 2 instruction (e.g., four or five 30-minute lessons per week longer for some students than for others (e.g., four or five 30-minute instead of the 80-100 minutes of time). lessons per week for some Tier 2 students, and shorter lessons for other Tier 2 students).
  • 2. Evaluation of RtI Strategies Page 2 Vendor RFP—Amendments, General Clarifications, and Questions and Responses January 30, 2009 II. General Clarifications • This is not a grant; it is a fixed price contract. Providers shall provide the products, services, and deliverables according to schedule and comply with all other terms specified in the RFP. • Providers are expected to either: 1. Provide all products and services for an existing model for Tier 2 RtI in reading that has research-based evidence of effectiveness or has been widely used by schools; or 2. Combine components of a Tier 2 RtI model that have research-based evidence of effectiveness or have been widely used by schools, and provide those products and services for that model. • “All products and services” means components of a measurement system that can build on a district’s preexisting benchmark assessments (see pp. 4 and 5 of RFP), the reading interventions to be implemented in Tier 2, and training of the Leadership Team and Delivery Team to implement the RtI model. • Organizations and individuals that cannot offer all products and services are encouraged to form consortia or teams.
  • 3. Evaluation of RtI Strategies Page 3 Vendor RFP—Amendments, General Clarifications, and Questions and Responses January 30, 2009 III. Questions and Responses Question Response 1. How much responsibility does the grantee have in The RFP is a solicitation for a contract, not a grant. Under a contract, the Offeror determining the specific components of the two types of agrees to follow the requirements specified in the RFP. Tier 2 Intervention? It seems plausible that the intervention content is not determined by the grantee, but instead, the The RFP provides a broad outline of required features of Essential and Enhanced training components are designed based on a prescribed RtI models. Offerors/Providers will fill in the model on the basis of their model given to the grantees. experiences with an existing Tier 2 model that has either been demonstrated to be effective through scientifically based research or through wide and successful use by schools. There are not detailed specifications under this RFP. 2. Input into the study planning process. This relates to a The intent is that the Provider, under a sub-contract to MDRC, will be actively number of questions. Having worked on a number of involved in training and supporting the implementation of the Provider’s own Tier 2 collaborative planning grants or with coordinating centers, RtI model in the schools assigned to them through random assignment. The it is important to know the parameters in project planning planning phase, described on pages 5-6 and 10 of the RFP, is intended for the and management. Is the grantee more of a passive Provider to work with each school’s Leadership Team to prepare the school staff "manager" and how to implement, or are they actively in for implementation of the RtI model for the 2010-11 school year. involved from pre to post study? 3. On pg. 5 of the RFP it states that Essential RTI models We have amended the RFP to permit between 80 and 150 minutes of instruction must have "eighty to 100 minutes of instruction per week per week for each student in Tier 2 in Essential RtI models. As stated in the RFP, to students in Tier 2." Does that mean that 100 minutes Tier 2 instruction is in addition to at least 60 minutes of Tier 1 instruction a day. per week is a MAXIMUM amount of instructional time that will be considered? A small-group intervention that The rationale for classifying a given Tier 2 RtI model as Essential or Enhanced is provides 30 minute sessions 5 days per week would not based solely on the number of minutes per week; it is based on the extent of provide 150 minutes per week. Would a 150-minute per differentiation of instruction to students or groups of students in Tier 2 and the week intervention be considered for an Essential RTI extent of support to schools and teachers to provide such differentiation. model, particularly if it would only be provided for a The intent of the criteria on page 18 of the RFP was for the Tier 2 RtI model to be maximum of 20 weeks, after which students would return delivered within a school year to students who were determined to need more to either Tier 1 or be referred for Tier 3 intervention? intensive reading instruction throughout the school year. It was not intended that a Relatedly, the review criteria on p. 18 state that the student receiving Tier 2 instruction would necessarily be in a year-long program. intervention must be feasible as a "year-long Tier 2
  • 4. Evaluation of RtI Strategies Page 4 Vendor RFP—Amendments, General Clarifications, and Questions and Responses January 30, 2009 Question Response program." Does that mean that the RTI models must be able to provide up to a full year's worth of supplementary instruction? 4. Is the grantee to assume that whatever happens in the RtI a) is a multi-tiered approach to identify children who struggle early in order to core (Tier 1) and Tier 3 to be independent of what the provide increasing levels of intensive instruction to address the child’s needs; and grantee delivers to Tier 2? We worry that an intervention b) requires the decision rules be set for determining the movement of children system may be designed in isolation of other systems and between tiers in order to meet their individual needs. The Offeror’s proposed Tier that this may decrease interest by the school(s) or be 2 RtI model needs to address this inherent interaction between the tiers in their antagonistic. To us, it works best to keep the original intent model. in mind...coordinated, early intervening services. Schools recruited and accepted into the study will have agreed that they are willing to implement any of the Tier 2 RtI models in the study and will comply with their assigned treatment condition and implement their assigned Tier 2 RtI model. 5. Will there be a site review process for "workability?" Again, Schools recruited and accepted into the study will have agreed that they are there is great potential for mismatching interventions, willing to implement any of the Tier 2 RtI models in the study and will comply with educational "philosophies." their assigned treatment condition and implement their assigned Tier 2 RtI model. 6. Will the research schools be required to follow the Schools recruited and accepted into the study will have agreed that they are minimum usage guidelines associated with the willing to implement any of the Tier 2 RtI models in the study and will comply with intervention program (i.e., minimum of 30 minutes per day, their assigned treatment condition and implement their assigned Tier 2 RtI model. 5 days per week)? The Offeror decides, on the basis of their model, how Tier 2 minutes are distributed across days. 7. Page 3. What is the definition of “inconsistency of a Tier 2 In order for schools to be accepted into the study, they need to agree to strategy with any of the possible models?” Further, who implement the Tier 2 RtI model as determined by the schools’ random assignment makes the determination and how is it made? and not be inalterably committed to an RtI model or instructional approach in early reading that would be inconsistent with the features of any of the Tier 2 RtI models described on pages 5-7 of the RFP.
  • 5. Evaluation of RtI Strategies Page 5 Vendor RFP—Amendments, General Clarifications, and Questions and Responses January 30, 2009 Question Response 8. Does the 20 children per classroom (C.1. Statement of The 20 children per classroom refers to the total class enrollment. Each school Work, page 9) refer to the total class enrollment, of which recruited for the study will have, on average, three 1st grade classrooms and three some portion would require Tier 2 intervention, or does it 2nd grade classrooms, each with a minimum of 20 students per classroom. refer to the number of students for whom the intervention should be planned? 9. Page 5. Group size depends in part on “group size An Offeror’s proposed Tier 2 RtI model can include a 1:1 student/teacher ratio. If required for effective delivery of the Tier 2 instructional the Offeror has met the six criteria under the Essential RtI model, and also program.” Does this mean that one child may constitute a proposes to further differentiate instruction for students by meeting the child’s small group if the child’s instructional needs require a 1:1 instructional needs in a 1:1 student/teacher ratio, then the Offeror’s model student/teacher ratio? Further, does the flexibility in small corresponds to an Enhanced RtI Model. group size apply to Essential RtI models as well as enhanced RtI models? 10. Page 6/7. Would “delivering instruction in smaller groups On pages 6/7 of the RFP, examples are used to illustrate the fact that to allow for more learning opportunities for students differentiated instruction is the key difference between Essential RtI models and needing more intensive intervention” include a 1:1 Enhanced RtI models and to illustrate ways in which such differentiation might be student/teacher ratio? accomplished. The Offeror will need to provide the rationale, evidence, and approach for delivering instruction in a 1:1 format to reach that goal. 11. Page 2. Tier 3 includes more “individualized interventions It is incumbent upon the Offeror to provide a rationale and approach for any to address each struggling student’s unique needs…” Is individualized instruction in Tier 2 under either the Essential or the Enhanced RtI individualized intervention exclusive to Tier 3, or may Tier model, consistent with the parameters of each model as outlined in the RFP. 2 interventions also individualize interventions based on a child’s instructional needs? 12. The RFP mentions “small group instruction” as part of the No, including “small group instruction” as a feature of the Tier 2 RtI models does RtI models. Does this specific mention rule out a software not rule out a software approach to potentially individualize instruction, provided approach that would potentially individualize instruction for that the model also includes a staff person in the lab or classroom to keep children every child? on tasks, organize time, answer questions, etc.
  • 6. Evaluation of RtI Strategies Page 6 Vendor RFP—Amendments, General Clarifications, and Questions and Responses January 30, 2009 Question Response 13. Who determines shifts from Tier 1 to 2 to 3 and perhaps The Provider and the school’s Leadership Team will work together to set the decision different levels of the Tier 2 intervention? Is shift determined rules for moving children between tiers, subject to district policies common to all by rules the Provider provides, by the school, or by some schools within a given district (see responses to questions 14 and 15). combination of both? If the Provider is involved, should those rules be part of the proposal? Yes, the Offerors must specify in their proposal: a) the process to be used with the Leadership Team for establishing the decisions rules for moving between tiers. 14. On page 10 there is mention that Providers are expected to Benchmarking is an approach for identifying whether children are meeting specific integrate the school’s benchmarking system for all first and reading goals by using specific short, one-minute measures. Most district second graders into the structure of the Tier 2 RtI model. superintendents report that they have a benchmarking system in place. Offerors will What does "integrate" mean? propose Tier 2 RtI models that take advantage of this existing set of benchmarks as a means of identifying children who may be at risk for learning to read and marking their progress. The Offeror may also propose additional strategies for identifying and marking progress of at-risk students. 15. How will initial placement criteria for Tier 2 be rationalized In recruiting districts and schools for the project, the team will seek sites in which all or standardized since the variable is the given district schools within a given district are using the same benchmark test. Assuming this is benchmark system? possible, if schools within a given district are similar in student achievement levels, a district may encourage schools to use similar decision rules (cutoff points) for referral from Tier 1 to Tier 2. We will determine during site recruitment whether a common decision rule is likely. Given this uncertainty, the Tier 2 RtI model proposed by the Offeror should be able to accommodate differences across districts and schools in both benchmarking tests and decision rules. The Offeror may also propose strategies for identifying and marking progress of at-risk students. 16. RFP section A.5 states, “Regardless of whether an See responses to questions 13-15. Essential RtI or Enhanced RtI model is proposed, the model must be flexible enough to be used with the schools’ core reading program and benchmark student assessments as defined in advance by each participating school district.” Using the district’s existing benchmark, does the above statement assume that the existing benchmark data can
  • 7. Evaluation of RtI Strategies Page 7 Vendor RFP—Amendments, General Clarifications, and Questions and Responses January 30, 2009 Question Response identify students at risk for reading difficulty, or will selected vendors have to perform statistical analysis for the district to create the definition of at risk for the district? 17. Who does the initial assessment analysis: Provider or The school will conduct the benchmark assessments, consistent with district policy. evaluator? The Offeror’s proposal should describe a process for working with schools to use district benchmarks together with the Offeror’s Tier 2 model to make decisions for moving students between tiers. 18. Will the evaluation team ensure a valid and consistent The Offeror should propose how to use existing district benchmark tests plus assessment system is used in the research schools to components of its own measurement system to set decision rules and criteria for designate students into tiers? moving students between tiers. The Evaluation Study Team will not alter the benchmark assessment system already in place in research schools, but will consider the validity and reliability of this system when selecting sites for the study. Designation of students into tiers will depend on both the district’s benchmark assessment system and the Offeror’s own Tier 2 model. 19. Page 8. The RFP does not define these terms, and further, The intention was to state that each study school will have in place a core reading appears to use them interchangeably. A "basal" is program in use for general education (Tier 1) rather than to require that schools use commonly defined specifically as a reading series that is a basal reading series. That is, schools may have in place, prior to random published by a major publisher, with children taught to read assignment, a basal reading program and/or a core reading program within and using text that is developed by the publisher, as opposed to across the grades. teachers using children's literature ("trade books") to teach reading. By contrast, a "core reading program" could be a reading program that uses trade books rather than a published reading series. Will the Evaluation Study Team consider schools that do NOT use a basal series, as commonly defined, such as schools that, for their core reading program, teach reading using (leveled) trade books/children's literature as reading materials? 20. Page 8. What is the rationale for requiring schools to have a According to the definition of RtI in the RFP (page 1), RtI is a multi-tiered approach. basal reading program in place? Tier 1, as defined on page 2 of the RFP, is the “core general education curriculum as
  • 8. Evaluation of RtI Strategies Page 8 Vendor RFP—Amendments, General Clarifications, and Questions and Responses January 30, 2009 Question Response defined by each school district” that each child is provided. Study schools must have a Tier 1 curriculum that is consistent across classrooms and provides the uniformity of goals in reading that students must reach. The reason for this requirement is that when children have been nonresponsive to Tier 1, it is evidence of the need for Tier 2 or Tier 3 instruction. 21. Page 9/11. What is the justification for the size of The RFP’s assumptions for the average size of the Delivery Teams are as follows: 3 Leadership Teams and Delivery Teams at each school? first grade teachers, 3 second grade teachers, 1 reading specialist, and 1 special education teacher. Leadership teams are assumed to include 2 Delivery Team Members, a school administrator, and a final member to be identified by the school. 22. Page 9/11. Is the Delivery Team in each school included in The RFP assumes that 8 of the 10 staff members to be trained in each school will be the number of teachers or other staff trained at each of the Delivery Team members. The other 2 staff to be trained will be the Leadership Team 24 or 50 schools (10 on average, p. 11) or is the Delivery members who are not also Delivery Team members. Team in addition to teachers and staff trained? 23. Page 8. What parameters, if any, are on the staff selected Although the RFP includes assumptions about the composition of the Delivery Team for this task? Can they be general education teachers, and the Leadership Team, it is the Providers who will set broad parameters for who special education teachers, others? should implement their model. These parameters need to be flexible to account for the range of staff compositions in study schools. Given the real circumstances faced by schools, Providers will need to work with schools to determine the specific membership of the Delivery Teams. Offerors’ proposals should describe the broad parameters and the anticipated subsequent process for working with schools. 24. Can the intervention be provided to the 2nd grade teachers Offerors should propose whether their training plans could include any during the 2010/2011 school year? implementation of Tier 2 strategies for second grade in 2010-11, including their rationale for such an approach. During best and finals, we will discuss with the Offerors this component of their approach. 25. Is the professional development limited to 5 days? No; professional development may exceed 5 days for each teacher. However, we assume that local districts will fund 5 days of time for professional development and that MDRC will need to compensate districts for any teacher time exceeding 5 days The Offeror should specify the extent to which professional development time
  • 9. Evaluation of RtI Strategies Page 9 Vendor RFP—Amendments, General Clarifications, and Questions and Responses January 30, 2009 Question Response beyond the 5 days per teacher will be required for successful implementation of its Tier 2 RtI model. The costs of compensating districts for this time will be a consideration when evaluating the Offeror’s capacity to provide training (see. Criterion III, p. 19 of the RFP). 26. Is there a required or suggested number of days that should No; however, we have assumed that districts will fund 5 days of professional be included for initial and follow-up training of the RtI development for each teacher and that any time exceeding that will be funded by Leadership & Delivery Teams? MDRC. 27. Page 19/20. What is the definition of “cost effectiveness of This is a fixed-price contract with a set amount to be paid to the Provider for each training and support” of a Tier 2 strategy? Further, who school, depending on whether the Tier 2 RtI model is essential or enhanced, makes the determination and how is it made? regardless of the amount of training called for by Providers. Offerors must establish in their proposals that they will provide sufficient training and support to maximize the probability of faithful implementation of their model. If an Offeror anticipates that the fixed price-per-school is not sufficient to fund all of the training and support necessary, the Offeror may propose a cost-sharing arrangement. On the basis of their expertise, reviewers of the proposals will determine whether proposed training is sufficient. 28. Page 8. Must the five days of professional development be The training can be delivered throughout the evaluation period. However, the delivered at the beginning of the evaluation, or can it be Leadership Team must receive sufficient training from January through June 2010 so delivered throughout the evaluation period? Is five days an that the Delivery Team is ready for training before the 2010-11 school year, and the absolute limit on professional development? Is there a Delivery Team must receive sufficient training before each school year so that it can defined or expected amount of days for follow-up training faithfully implement the model. Additional training and/or support may and should be for the delivery team members ("additional support for delivered over the course of implementation of the model. implementation during the school year")? 29. Is the implemented technical system required to interface No, the technical system is not required to interface via technology. If the Offeror’s via technology to the district’s benchmark results? approach includes this feature, however, then the Offeror should describe this feature and how it contributes to implementation of its Tier 2 RtI model.
  • 10. Evaluation of RtI Strategies Page 10 Vendor RFP—Amendments, General Clarifications, and Questions and Responses January 30, 2009 Question Response 30. On page 12 of the RFP, it states that The Provider shall The Provider should plan on two visits to each school that include, at a minimum, conduct a minimum of two direct observations a year. Is this observations of teachers’ implementation of Tier 2 interventions. per classroom, per school, or per district? Also, are the locations of the observations at the Provider’s discretion? 31. Page 12. Are the two direct observations per year of each See response to question 30. teacher, each school, each district or some other unit? 32. The organization provides academic intervention and The Offeror should address the criteria on pages 18-19 of the RFP for submitting empowerment services in reading and math. How have their application. The Offeror’s approach should focus only on reading. educational organizations that you have funded in the past fared with this type of dual mission? 33. Is one of the two tier 2 options to use the intervention Offerors must demonstrate in their proposals that their proposed Tier 2 RtI model component(s) that come with SBR programs? (under either the Essential or Enhanced condition) or its components have scientific evidence of effectiveness or have been widely and successfully used by schools. 34. As educational software publishers we are continually Yes, software applications to delivering either an Essential or Enhanced Tier 2 RtI updating and modifying our programs with new releases as model will be considered. Offerors are required in their proposal to provide either often as two times per year. In most cases these releases evidence from experimental or quasi-experimental research on the effectiveness of are seamless online updates of our applications and their model and/or evidence of widespread and successful use by schools. A model materials and are not major redesigns of pedagogy or the may include software and subsequent updates, as well as components purchased features and functionality of the programs. In the event we from other publishers, but documentation of effectiveness and/or widespread and were selected for participation in the study would these successful use should be provided for each component of the model. periodic updates be allowed? We are also concerned that the use of technology is not carefully defined in the RFP leaving us to wonder if the need to combine technical programs with paper based assessments and materials is consistent with the goals of the impact study. Were we to apply and be selected we would build a proposal that combined our materials with that of other publishers (with or without their consent). Can we include assessment and instructional elements from other publishers as part of our
  • 11. Evaluation of RtI Strategies Page 11 Vendor RFP—Amendments, General Clarifications, and Questions and Responses January 30, 2009 Question Response RTI model? 35. Will there be a commitment to not only assessing fidelity, An assessment of fidelity of implementation, as well as of other measures of but also to examine its effects on outcomes in the data. implementation, will be used descriptively to answer the question, “How well was the treatment delivered?” In addition, the study team will explore ways to assess the relationship between implementation quality (including fidelity) and the program’s impact on student outcomes. However, the study is not designed to support causal inferences regarding the relationships between implementation quality and impacts, and such findings will be presented as associations rather than as the effect of implementation quality on impacts. 36. Will an “intent to treat” methodology be used in this study? Yes. All primary impacts in this study will be “intent to treat” impact estimates. In other words, we will estimate the effect of a school being assigned to treatment A versus to treatment B. We focus on this type of impact estimates because assigning schools to a treatment condition—as opposed to compelling schools to implement and sustain a treatment condition—is the policy decision that is most relevant, and compelling schools to implement a treatment is not feasible. Further, there is a cleaner statistical interpretation of the “intent to treat” estimates because this preserves comparisons of groups of schools that were created through random assignment. We will explore ways to report the range of possible effects from each treatment condition and describe how these vary with fidelity of implementation. 37. Will the published results call-out individual vendors by Since questions 37 through 41 raise related issues, we will address them together. In name and evaluate each vendor approach against other IES projects of this type, the organization or organizations providing services are vendor solutions or will the results aggregate all vendors by typically named in the report. Implementation findings are typically linked to specific category? service providers, and this includes a description of specific ways each provider implemented the treatment and characterizations of the fidelity of implementation of 38. Will vendor names contributing to this study be mentioned the treatment by each provider. in publically available results? Impact findings are not always linked to specific providers. Impacts will be reported
  • 12. Evaluation of RtI Strategies Page 12 Vendor RFP—Amendments, General Clarifications, and Questions and Responses January 30, 2009 Question Response for each RtI model received by a group of 50 schools. If a single provider serves all 39. Will the publically available results list the vendor names in 50 schools, the impact estimate for that group of schools will correspond to a specific each category? provider’s RtI model However, if two providers each serve 25 schools within a 50- school treatment group, impacts will be reported for the group of 50 schools and may 40. Will the publically available results call-out specific vendor or may not be reported for the 25 schools receiving training from each provider. names and the features and functionality of each vendor’s solution? 41. Please describe any additional details (not addressed in questions “a” through “d” above) explaining how vendor names will be mentioned and related to the publically available results of this study. 42. If the implementation of the intervention by any research In this type of IES project, implementation research will examine the fidelity of school is poor, will this be noted in the final report? implementation of the treatment in study schools. However, we will not name individual schools participating in the study, so findings about weak implementation will not be linked to a specific school. Typically, reports have grouped schools into categories representing different levels of implementation strength and fidelity and have discussed the proportion of study schools experiencing relevant implementation issues. 43. Is the cost per school fixed regardless of site locations? Site recruitment will begin this spring, so the actual sites are not known at this time. Travel could vary considerably depending upon site. How We recognize that travel costs could vary depending on the location of the sites. As will it be determined which sites are assigned to which mentioned in the RFP, Providers should be prepared to train 25 to 50 schools in 10 grantees? to 15 districts spread across 5 to 6 states. We expect schools in the study to be in various regions of the country. If more than one organization is picked to deliver an RtI treatment (with each providing services to 25 schools), we will seek to cluster districts and schools regionally for Providers. We anticipate that with either 25 or 50 schools per Provider, cost differences related to individual schools will average out. 44. What is the geographic area for the schools that would be See response to question 43. included in the program?
  • 13. Evaluation of RtI Strategies Page 13 Vendor RFP—Amendments, General Clarifications, and Questions and Responses January 30, 2009 Question Response 45. Is the budget ultimately calculated based on the number of The budget is calculated on the basis of the number of schools a Provider is serving, schools in the study? And if schools drop or do not fulfill and in site selection the evaluation study team will work to assure that selected their obligations? districts and schools are committed to participating. Providers are expected work to help districts and schools continue throughout the study. If schools or districts drop out of the study, it will pose a serious risk to the analysis. If schools or districts do drop out, the study team and IES will seek an equitable adjustment of funding. 46. Other agencies provide a $ amount for direct costs. Indirect The budget is based on the amount listed per school, either $22,500 per Essential costs are flexible based on the institution with a soft cap. Is RtI school or $45,000 per Enhanced RtI school. This includes all costs, both direct there ultimately a total $$ amount. and indirect. 47. Responsibilities of costs and personnel for data analysis? Data analysis to be used for the implementation of the RtI models (e.g., for assigning Our team or yours? students to tiers) is the responsibility of the Providers and the districts and schools. Data analysis related to the evaluation is the responsibility of the study team of MDRC, SRI International, and Survey Research Management. 48. Out of the allocation per site, it seems actual program Yes, any materials needed to implement the RtI Tier 2 services that schools would materials must be purchased (tier 2 curriculum materials). not ordinarily provide themselves must be purchased and supplied by the Provider. Is that correct? 49. Also do the assessments get purchased through these Yes, assessments beyond the basic benchmark tests used for all students may be same funds, and may these include additional diagnostic purchased and supplied by the Providers through these same funds. tests? 50. Page 9. What is the level of flexibility for Providers with We expect that within a Provider’s roster of districts and schools, there will be regard to allocation of funds and resources? With large, differences in needs and costs of operation. Service Providers will be paid based on small, rural and urban districts represented in the sample, the “per school” allocation for the RtI treatment, but the study team will not require will the allocation of funds and resources reflect the that the same amount be expended in each school. The goal is for the Provider to characteristics and needs of each school and district or will work with schools to put in place similar RtI services in all its schools, and this may it be the same for each district? require somewhat different spending patterns across schools.
  • 14. Evaluation of RtI Strategies Page 14 Vendor RFP—Amendments, General Clarifications, and Questions and Responses January 30, 2009 Question Response 51. Page 14. Tens sets of all training, assessment and The goal of submitting the materials is to give reviewers a way to understand the instructional materials can be impracticable due to cost and approach and materials needed to implement the proposed model. If the Offeror sheer volume. Will examples, excerpts, syllabi and other believes this can be accomplished through a sample from a large set of material, this representative samples from the full set of materials be is acceptable. sufficient to satisfy this requirement? 52. Who is developing responses to questions submitted about The evaluation study team in coordination with IES. the RFP? 53. Will the awards be for multiple vendors contracts in both Through this solicitation, we anticipate making as few as three awards (i.e., an award categories or will you select up to 4 finalists for final award for each treatment condition for services provided to 50 schools each) or as many as of 1 contract in each category? That is, more than one six awards (i.e., an award for each treatment condition for services provided to 25 recipient (2-4) in both the “$25K” schools and in the “$50K” schools each). The budget is based on the amount listed per school, either $22,500 schools? per essential RtI school or $45,000 per enhanced RtI school, regardless of whether the Provider is delivering services to 25 or 50 schools. 54. Page 1. What constitutes "research-based interventions"? The RFP does not require a theoretical base for the Tier 2 RtI model, but instead What theoretical bases are included? Will interventions requires that Offerors submit empirical support or evidence of successful widespread highly rated by the What Works Clearinghouse of the U.S. use in schools for their approach (p.18). Research-based interventions are those that Department of Education be included? have been validated for their effectiveness through experimental or quasi- experimental designs. Offerors will need to summarize the evidence in support of their model in responding to this criterion and can refer reviewers to technical reports. 55. On pg 12 there is mention of “three treatment groups The focus of the evaluation is on informing district and school choices regarding how corresponding with different Tier 2 RtI models.” Does this to implement RtI in Tier 2, as opposed to whether to implement RtI at all. The mean two essential models and one enhanced model? anticipated design is a three-treatment design with no control group. Two of the Also, does this mean that there will not be a control group in treatment groups would implement Essential RtI models, and one treatment group the evaluation design? would implement an Enhanced RtI model.
  • 15. Evaluation of RtI Strategies Page 15 Vendor RFP—Amendments, General Clarifications, and Questions and Responses January 30, 2009 Question Response 56. Page 8. Further, there is no "no-treatment control group" in See response to question 55. the evaluation RFP. Why is this? Doesn't this limit the study's ability to analyze whether any or all of the 3 models being implemented are better than having no model at all? 57. What are the criteria for the tier 1 programs and what are See pages 7 and 8 of the RFP (“Selected Providers” and “Districts and Schools”). the criteria for acceptable tier 2 programs? Schools are required to have in place a core reading program that includes phonemic awareness, systematic explicit phonics, fluency, vocabulary and text comprehension instruction for Tier 1, as well as a system of benchmark assessments in grade 1 and 2 reading. For students in Tier 2, Providers are either to work with schools’ preexisting supplementary reading products and benchmark assessments or be prepared to provide additional supplementary reading products and additional assessments that address each of the essential reading skills in grades 1 and 2 for students receiving Tier 2 instruction. The materials and products Offerors propose must be either supported by evidence of effectiveness or in widespread use. 58. Do you encourage organizations to partner in applying for As noted on page 1 of the RFP, “Provider” refers to either a single organization or a the grant? consortium or organizations. Offerors will need to ascertain their respective strengths and weaknesses in addressing the requirements of the RFP and determine if their approach requires additional organizations to address any weakness in order to address all the required components. Depending on organizational capacity, partnerships could strengthen a bid.