Peer Reviewers Needed to Assess i3 Applications

Last Updated: June 25, 2011

This article appeared in the June 2011 Rural Policy Matters.

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The 2011 federal Investing in Innovation (i3) competitive grant program includes an Absolute Priority for rural education, which means that applicants have the option of focusing on the unique learning challenges of rural schools when choosing which of five priorities to address in their proposals.

The rural education absolute priority increases the likelihood that the i3 program will generate proposals that are generated by and relevant to rural schools. Therefore, it is especially important that the Peer Review process, through which applications are rated, include reviewers who have experience in and extensive knowledge of rural education issues.

To this end the U.S. Department of Education’ Office of Innovation and Improvement is seeking individuals to serve as peer reviewers of i3 applications. The application for peer reviewers is available here.

Who is Eligible to Serve?

Those eligible to serve as Peer Reviewers include Pk–12 teachers and principals; college and university educators, educational evaluators, social entrepreneurs, strategy consultants, grant makers and managers, and others with education expertise.

Peer Reviewer Qualifications

Peer reviewers must have expertise in at least one of the program’s five Absolute Priorities OR in educational evaluation.

  • The Absolute Priorities include:
  • Supporting Effective Teachers and Principals
  • Promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education
  • Implementing Standards and Assessments
  • Turning Around Low Performing Schools
  • Improving Achievement in Rural LEAs

Expertise in educational evaluation includes experience in designing, conducting, and reviewing rigorous educational evaluations in the following areas:

  • Understanding education research and recent findings of the relevant literature
  • Knowledge of education data sources and measures of program implementation and outcomes
  • Expertise with experimental and quasi-experimental research designs
  • Fluency in reviewing organizational and project evaluation plans and evaluation results.

Additionally, the most qualified candidates will also have expertise in one or more of the following attributes or skills: program or organizational innovation, experience disseminating or scaling successful programs, prior experience reviewing or approving grant applications.

Other desired attributes and skills include:

  • Innovation (experience starting, leading, supporting innovative projects/organizations; experience helping to develop business models, scale and sustainability plans, capacity building)
  • Strategy and Growth (grow and replicate programs, knowledge of effective operational and organizational/management infrastructures required to scale projects, building partnerships and engaging diverse groups of stakeholders)
  • Grant Review (reviewing grant applications and making funding recommendations; participating in or managing state, federal, philanthropic grant project reviews; ability to assess effectiveness of leadership teams and key contributors, fluency in reviewing organizational and project budgets and cost measures)

Time Commitments

Peer Reviewers must be available (part-time) for four weeks from mid-August to mid-September to read proposals and participate in teleconference reviews.

Deadline to Apply

Peer review applications must be received by Friday, July 8.

Upon successful and timely completion of all required tasks, reviewers will receive an honorarium.

Download the Peer Review Application at

Find more information about i3 at

Read more from the June 2011 Rural Policy Matters.