Request for Proposals

The full proposal must be submitted via email by July 22, 2016, 12:00PM ET.

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Frequently Asked Questions


The goal of this Request for Proposals (RFP) is to provide new insights into the contexts, components, outcomes, and potential of student-centered learning approaches in education. That is, we are looking to understand the effectiveness of specific student-centered learning approaches, including the results for different populations of students, the supports that may be needed to ensure realization of positive outcomes, and the circumstances needed to sustain implementation. Rather than controlling for context, we are seeking proposals that examine and track its influences. In the long run, our intention is for this research base to influence educational practice, policy, and public awareness.

For student-centered learning approaches, the ultimate proof of concept depends on the extent to which practitioners are able to understand and implement student-centered techniques in their unique settings so that positive measurable outcomes for all youth are achieved. Various methods of research and development have been developed in recent years to surface the institutional, professional, and cultural factors that shape a particular intervention’s eventual success or failure. By identifying specific reforms known to produce positive outcomes and capturing how those reforms evolve in real-life institutions for different types of learners, we can point the way to realistic and effective implementation at scale. This, at its core, is the purpose of this grant opportunity.

Proposals must therefore exemplify a research and development approach. A number of different methods exist within this growing field. Among those we believe are most aligned with the intentions of this RFP are: “improvement science,” “design-based implementation research,” “rapid-cycle evaluation,” and “improvement research.” While each systematic approach has unique characteristics, all are designed to produce practical, real-world-tested, and research-grounded solutions to meaningful problems as they occur in complex educational environments.

Download the full RFP

Areas of Focus

The overarching objective of the proposed study should be to answer the following questions:

  • What happens when specific student-centered learning approaches are implemented in different contexts?
  • What drives the inevitable variation in educator performance and the expected variety of student outcomes that are associated with that implementation?
  • What works well, for whom, and under what set of conditions?
  • Conversely, what does not work well, for whom does it fall short and by how much, and what conditions influence those negative or more lackluster outcomes?
  • And lastly, how can the information arising from the above inquiries be used to improve student outcomes, particularly for underserved students?


Letter of Intent

To ensure that we have sufficient reviewers on hand to evaluate submitted proposals, we are requiring all applicants to submit by July 8, 2016, a simplified letter of intent (LOI). On that form you will be asked to submit the following:

  • Names of Principal Investigator(s) (PIs) and co-PIs plus institutional affiliations
  • Name of lead organization
  • Topic of study (the phrasing of which can change between the LOI and the final submission date)
  • Expected sample/partners/sites (e.g., region(s), districts, charter management organizations, subpopulations of interest, etc.)

Access the Online Letter of Intent
The letter of intent will be available for submission until July 8, 2016.

Bidder’s Conference

On July 6, 2016, 11:00am – 12:00pm ET, we held an online bidder’s conference designed to give interested and eligible applicants a chance to ask questions regarding the RFP.

Access a recording of the bidder’s conference
View the slide deck
Access archived Frequently Asked Questions

Instructions for Submission

Applicants are asked to respond to each of the RFP Section VI components in a narrative of 15 pages or less, using single-spaced 11 point (or larger) text with standard formatting. Submissions that adhere to this section-by-section structure are preferred, but seamless narratives will also be accepted. Please read RFP Section IX (proposal requirements) carefully before submitting a proposal as it contains important information.

The narrative and all attachments must be submitted via email ( by 12:00 noon ET on July 22, 2016.

Documents to be submitted are as follows:

  1. Narrative
  2. Budget
  3. IRS Tax Status letter
  4. Supporting documents
    1. Budget narrative
    2. Budget, using provided template
    3. Work plan
    4. Information on lead staff (limit of 3 pages per individual)
    5. Letters of Support from all identified partners/sites

All documents should be combined into a single .pdf file in the above order.

Download the full RFP
Download Budget Template
Submit Materials (email link)

Frequently Asked Questions

Please read RFP Section IX (proposal requirements) carefully before submitting a proposal as it contains important information. Questions from prospective grantees will be answered on our RFP FAQ and updated regularly over the course of the submittal period. Additional questions can be submitted to

Access RFP FAQs

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