Had five conversations about i3 in the last 24 hours:

  • Three focused on applicant eligibility.  There is a very high bar for applicants.  Read this section carefully.  It requires a very strong track record of student achievement with a couple exceptions for nonprofits producing results leading to achievement.  Don’t apply unless you have an applicant that fits the bill.  The applicant doesn’t have to be the one sponsoring the intervention (that can be the ‘official partner’) but it does need to be the one with a track record of success.
  • Two were applying for Validation grants based on quasi-experimental studies.  I think it was Jim Shelton that said something like, “Don’t even apply if you don’t know the difference between internal and external validity or are talking to someone that does.”  Validation and Scaling grants will be won 1) on the basis of the quality of the evaluation and 2) the scalability and sustainability of the intervention—impact at scale.
  • Three applicants for Development grants got a reminder of the “unique and not widely adopted” language.  With over 2500 applicants, this will be a very competitive category.  Proposals will need to be innovative interventions based on a sound hypothesis, with a scalable financial model.
  • Two applicants were reminded not to ask for more than needed over five years, it will water down your scalability and make it harder to match (and may improve your chance of winning if you request less than the maximum especially in the larger categories).

We’re helping a couple groups with final review.  Email if you want a couple i3 knowledgeable folks to review your application.

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Tom Vander Ark
Tom Vander Ark is author of Smart Parents, Smart Cities and Getting Smart. He is co-founder of Getting Smart and Learn Capital and serves on the boards of 4.0 Schools, eduInnovation, Digital Learning Institute, Imagination Foundation, Charter Board Partners and Bloomboard. Follow Tom on Twitter, @tvanderark.

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