National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)-Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program-Disability Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRPs), 22351-22355 [E8-9108]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 81 / Friday, April 25, 2008 / Notices 3. Reporting: At the end of your project period, you must submit a final performance report, including financial information, as directed by the Secretary. If you receive a multi-year award, you must submit an annual performance report that provides the most current performance and financial expenditure information as directed by the Secretary under 34 CFR 75.118. The Secretary may also require more frequent performance reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c). For specific requirements on reporting, please go to http://www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/ appforms/appforms.html. Note: NIDRR will provide information by letter to grantees on how and when to submit the final performance report. sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES 4. Performance Measures: NIDRR assesses the quality of its funded projects through review of grantee performance and products. Each year, NIDRR examines a portion of its grantees to determine: • The percentage of newly-awarded NIDRR projects that are multi-site, collaborative, controlled studies of interventions and programs. • The number of accomplishments (e.g., new or improved tools, methods, discoveries, standards, interventions, programs, or devices) developed or tested with NIDRR funding that have been judged by expert panels to be of high quality and to advance the field. • The average number of publications per award based on NIDRR-funded research and development activities in refereed journals. • The percentage of new grants that include studies funded by NIDRR that assess the effectiveness of interventions, programs, and devices using rigorous methods. NIDRR uses information submitted by grantees as part of their Annual Performance Reports (APRs) in support of these performance measures. Updates on the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) indicators, revisions, and methods appear on the NIDRR Program Review Web site: http:// www.neweditions.net/pr/commonfiles/ pmconcepts.htm. Grantees should consult this site on a regular basis to obtain details and explanations on how NIDRR programs contribute to the advancement of the Department’s long-term and annual performance goals. VII. Agency Contact FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donna Nangle, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 6029, PCP, Washington, DC VerDate Aug<31>2005 20:20 Apr 24, 2008 Jkt 214001 20202. Telephone: (202) 245–7462 or by e-mail: Donna.Nangle@ed.gov. If you use a TDD, call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1–800– 877–8339. VIII. Other Information Alternative Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document and a copy of the application package in an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) by contacting the Grants and Contracts Services Team, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 5075, PCP, Washington, DC 20202–2550. Telephone: (202) 245– 7363. If you use a TDD, call the FRS, toll-free, at 1–800–877–8339. Electronic Access to This Document: You can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/news/ fedregister. To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1– 888–293–6498; or in the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512–1530. Note: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available on GPO Access at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/ index.html. Dated: April 22, 2008. Tracey R. Justesen, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. [FR Doc. E8–9109 Filed 4–24–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)— Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program— Disability Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRPs) Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), Department of Education. ACTION: Notice of final priority and definitions. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, in conjunction with the Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education and the Assistant PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 22351 Secretary for Postsecondary Education, announces a priority and definitions for a Center on Postsecondary Education for Students With Intellectual Disabilities (Center) under the DRRP program administered by NIDRR. The Assistant Secretary may use this priority and definitions for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2008 and later years. We take this action to focus research attention on areas of national need. We intend this priority and definitions to improve postsecondary education and other outcomes for individuals with intellectual disabilities. DATES: Effective Date: This priority and definitions are effective May 27, 2008. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tracy Justesen, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 5107, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202–2700. Attention Donna Nangle. Telephone: (202) 245– 7462 or by e-mail: donna.nangle@ed.gov. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1–800– 877–8339. Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Program The purpose of the DRRP program is to improve the effectiveness of services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, by developing methods, procedures, and rehabilitation technologies that advance a wide range of independent living and employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities, especially individuals with the most severe disabilities. DRRPs carry out one or more of the following types of activities, as specified and defined in 34 CFR 350.13 through 350.19: Research, training, demonstration, development, dissemination, utilization, and technical assistance. An applicant for assistance under this program must demonstrate in its application how it will address, in whole or in part, the needs of individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds (34 CFR 350.40(a)). The approaches an applicant may take to meet this requirement are found in 34 CFR 350.40(b). In addition, NIDRR intends to require all DRRP applicants to meet the General Disability and Rehabilitation Research E:\FR\FM\25APN1.SGM 25APN1 22352 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 81 / Friday, April 25, 2008 / Notices sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES Projects (DRRP) Requirements priority that it published in a notice of final priorities in the Federal Register on April 28, 2006 (71 FR 25472). Additional information on the DRRP program can be found at: http:// www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/resprogram.html#DRRP. We published a notice of proposed priority and definitions (NPP) for NIDRR’s DRRP program in the Federal Register on December 11, 2007 (72 FR 70316). The NPP included a background statement that described our rationale for the priority and definitions proposed in that notice. There are differences between the NPP and this notice of final priority and definitions (NFP) as discussed in the following section. Analysis of Comments and Changes In response to our invitation in the NPP, 11 parties submitted comments on the proposed priority and definitions. An analysis of the comments and of any changes in the priority and definitions since publication of the NPP follows. Generally, we do not address technical and other minor changes, or suggested changes the law does not authorize us to make under the applicable statutory authority. In addition, we do not address general comments that raised concerns not directly related to the proposed priority or definitions. Comment: One commenter suggested that the Center be designed so that students with intellectual disabilities (ID) or developmental disabilities (DD) are not segregated from other students. Discussion: The Center is designed to conduct research and disseminate information on promising practices in postsecondary education; it will not provide postsecondary education for students with ID or DD. Therefore, because the Center will not provide direct services to students, the recommendation that it be designed so that students with ID or DD are not segregated from other students is inapplicable. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter noted that individuals with disabilities often have significant health issues and that success in postsecondary education may be related to their health status. This commenter recommended that the Center involve personnel with expertise in health issues related to individuals with disabilities. Discussion: Nothing in the priority precludes applicants from proposing to involve personnel with expertise in the health of individuals with ID (e.g., these individuals might serve on the Center’s VerDate Aug<31>2005 20:20 Apr 24, 2008 Jkt 214001 advisory committee). However, we do not have a basis for requiring all applicants to do so. Changes: None. Comments: Two commenters asked for a definition of ‘‘longitudinal study’’ and whether the longitudinal study must be limited to an analysis of existing datasets or if the Center could collect its own longitudinal data. In addition, they asked whether applicants could propose to conduct analyses of existing datasets that were not mentioned specifically in the NPP. Discussion: We recognize that, given the level of funding available for the Center, the Center would be unable to conduct a longitudinal study. Therefore, we have revised the priority to require the Center to do one or both of the following: (1) Engage in data collection activities, or (2) conduct secondary analyses of existing national and State longitudinal datasets. The purpose of the data collection activities and secondary data analyses would be to generate knowledge about the extent to which variations in educational, vocational, and independent living outcomes for students with ID are associated with participation in different types of postsecondary education programs. The National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS–2) and the Florida K–20 Data Warehouse are examples of existing data sources that contain relevant data and have not been analyzed fully; applicants may propose to use other extant data sources. We believe that much can be learned from existing data sources without necessarily expending funds on designing surveys or collecting data. Finally, we do not believe it is necessary to define the term ‘‘longitudinal study’’ because the final priority does not require the Center to conduct such a study. Changes: We have removed all references to conducting a longitudinal study from the priority. Instead, we have clarified the language in paragraph (b) to indicate that the Center must (1) engage in data collection activities; or (2) conduct secondary analyses of existing datasets, such as the NLTS–2 and the Florida K–20 Data Warehouse; or both. Comment: One commenter suggested that efforts to collect new longitudinal data or establish baseline data may be more beneficial than analyses of existing data that are intended to generate knowledge about the relationship between postsecondary education and outcomes among individuals with ID. Discussion: The funds available for this priority will likely not permit the Center to collect new longitudinal data PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 or establish baseline data. However, we are convinced that conducting data collection activities, secondary analyses of existing data, or both, will generate new and beneficial knowledge about outcomes associated with postsecondary education programs for individuals with ID. Because this is the case, paragraph (b) of the priority allows applicants to conduct data collection activities, analyze existing datasets, or engage in both activities. Changes: None. Comment: Seven commenters noted that the datasets mentioned under paragraph (b) of the priority (i.e., the NLTS–2 and the Florida K–20 Data Warehouse) have limitations in disability variables and descriptors of postsecondary education programs that could negatively impact the extent to which secondary analyses relating to the population of individuals with ID may be completed. Further, the commenters expressed concern that neither of these datasets contains variables that are necessary to connect the outcomes of students with ID to the different types of postsecondary education programs that serve students with ID. These commenters also noted that neither dataset provides information on dual enrollment programs, and that some variables relating to postsecondary outcomes in the NLTS–2 dataset have zero percent of cases of people with ID. Discussion: With respect to disability variables or identifier codes, while it is true that neither of the datasets mentioned in the priority include the ‘‘intellectual disabilities’’ code, both datasets include related codes that would make it possible to conduct analyses that cover students with ID and that could address important outcomes for this population. For example, although the Florida K–20 Data Warehouse does not include an ‘‘intellectual disabilities’’ code, it contains 22 ‘‘exceptionality’’ codes that include (a) educable mentally handicapped, (b) trainable mentally handicapped, and (c) profoundly mentally handicapped. Using these codes, it would be possible to identify a sample of students with ID by selecting students whose primary disability is educable, trainable, or profoundly mentally handicapped, and to conduct any number of analyses related to the outcomes for this population. Likewise, while the NLTS– 2 does not include an ‘‘intellectual disabilities’’ code, it would be possible to identify a sample of students with ID in the dataset by selecting students whose primary disability is mental retardation or who were identified as E:\FR\FM\25APN1.SGM 25APN1 sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 81 / Friday, April 25, 2008 / Notices having mental retardation on either the parent or teacher interview. With respect to descriptors of postsecondary education, while it is true that neither dataset provides information on dual enrollment programs, we believe that there are many variables or descriptors related to students with ID that are worth exploring. Lastly, the commenters observed that some variables related to postsecondary outcomes in the NLTS–2 dataset show zero percent of cases of individuals with ID. However, the commenters did not identify any specific postsecondary variables or explain the importance of these variables to the work of the Center. The NLTS–2 has five waves of data, and only three of these waves include individuals who are old enough to be included in the postsecondary sample, particularly because many students with ID attend secondary school to the maximum age (21 years old or older). We believe that the number of variables lacking relevant cases should decline as individuals age in the postsecondary category. Changes: None. Comment: Seven commenters noted that the effort to develop and implement postsecondary education programs for individuals with ID is in its early stages. Given this fact, six of these commenters noted that experimental designs would be premature, and one recommended that the Center be allowed to use multiple research methods and data collection designs. Discussion: Paragraph (b) of the priority requires the Center to conduct scientifically based research. The definition of scientifically based research, as the term is used in the priority, includes but is not limited to research that utilizes experimental or quasi-experimental designs. We are interested in rigorous methods of research that produce findings that are useful for the education field and for further research. The peer review process will determine the merits of each proposal. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter asked how ‘‘postsecondary education programs’’ are defined. Discussion: Although the Definitions section of the NPP included a definition of ‘‘postsecondary education programs,’’ upon further review, we believe that this definition is not sufficiently clear because it did not incorporate the language from the background section of the NPP referring to dual enrollment programs for students with ID who are still enrolled in high school and are receiving special education services. To VerDate Aug<31>2005 20:20 Apr 24, 2008 Jkt 214001 clarify what we mean, instead of providing a definition of ‘‘postsecondary education programs,’’ we will provide a more expansive explanation of the term ‘‘postsecondary education programs’’ in the text of the priority. Changes: We have removed the definition of ‘‘postsecondary education programs’’ from the Definitions section of this notice, and revised paragraph (a) of the priority to provide a fuller explanation of what is meant by this term. Comment: Four commenters recommended that the Department’s Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) be included in the list of the Center’s required collaborators in paragraph (h) of the priority. Discussion: As described in the opening paragraph of the priority, OPE is one of the sponsors of this Center. However, many of the activities supported by this Center will focus on technical assistance and research. Because OPE does not fund technical assistance grantees, it would not be appropriate or useful to require the Center to collaborate with OPE for purposes of this priority. Changes: None. Comment: Six commenters suggested that ‘‘employment’’ be added to the list of key outcomes described in the opening sentence of paragraph (b) of this priority. While these commenters noted that vocational outcomes are important, they stated that employment should be highlighted by specifically including it in the list of outcomes for students with ID. Discussion: We agree that employment is a desired outcome for individuals with ID participating in postsecondary education programs and will add it to the list of outcomes in paragraph (b) of the priority. Changes: We have added employment to the list of outcomes described in paragraph (b) of the priority. Comment: Five commenters noted that legislation is pending in Congress that would authorize demonstration projects and a coordinating center, the primary purpose of which would be training and technical assistance on programs providing postsecondary education for individuals with ID. These commenters noted that the Center should focus primarily on research and dissemination of technical assistance materials. The commenters recommend that the Center remain distinct from the projects pending in Congress. Discussion: We agree that the focus of the Center should be on research and the dissemination of technical PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 22353 assistance materials, and we believe that this purpose is reflected in the priority. Changes: None. Comment: Five commenters recommended that the priority expand the age range of students with ID who will be the focus of the Center’s work to 13 to 26 years. They expressed that students with ID may require additional time to complete a postsecondary education program. These commenters also noted that the definition of students with intellectual disabilities is overly restrictive in terms of the age of onset of a student’s disability and the scope of the disabilities covered. Discussion: We agree that the proposed age range of 16 to 24 years is too restrictive. The age range of students included in the NLTS–2 and the Florida K–20 Education Data Warehouse is comparable to the age range of 13 to 26 years suggested by the commenters. Changing the age range to 13 to 26 years of age in the definition of students with intellectual disabilities would support the Center’s potential use of these two databases as key data sources for its analyses. In addition, using this age range would address the commenters’ concerns that students with ID may require additional time to complete a postsecondary education program. Therefore, we will change the definition of students with intellectual disabilities to cover individuals 13 to 26 years of age. In addition, although some individuals acquire disabilities that result in cognitive limitations after the age of 18, we continue to agree with the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that students with intellectual disabilities are students whose disability occurred before age 18. We do not believe this definition is too restrictive in terms of scope of disabilities covered; we are simply restricting the definition to those individuals who acquired their disability prior to age 18 regardless of the specific disability involved. Changes: We have revised paragraph (a) of the definition of students with intellectual disabilities so that the term includes individuals ages 13 to 26. Comment: Two commenters suggested that universal design for learning be a required element for evaluating promising practices under paragraph (a) of the priority. These commenters proposed a definition of universal design for learning that the Department could use in connection with the proposed priority. Discussion: We consider universal design for learning to be one approach that could be evaluated as a promising E:\FR\FM\25APN1.SGM 25APN1 22354 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 81 / Friday, April 25, 2008 / Notices practice rather than a required element for evaluating promising practices. We, therefore, decline to make the requested changes. Changes: None. sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in which we choose to use this priority and definitions, we invite applications through a notice in the Federal Register. When inviting applications we designate the priority as absolute, competitive preference, or invitational. The effect of each type of priority follows: Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)). Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference priority, we give competitive preference to an application by either (1) awarding additional points, depending on how well or the extent to which the application meets the competitive preference priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets the competitive preference priority over an application of comparable merit that does not meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(ii)). Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are particularly interested in applications that meet the invitational priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the invitational priority a competitive or absolute preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)). This NFP is in concert with President George W. Bush’s New Freedom Initiative (NFI) and NIDRR’s Final LongRange Plan for FY 2005–2009 (Plan). The NFI can be accessed on the Internet at the following site: http:// www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/ newfreedom. The Plan, which was published in the Federal Register on February 15, 2006 (71 FR 8165), can be accessed on the Internet at the following site: http:// www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/ nidrr/policy.html. Through the implementation of the NFI and the Plan, NIDRR seeks to: (1) Improve the quality and utility of disability and rehabilitation research; (2) foster an exchange of expertise, information, and training to facilitate the advancement of knowledge and understanding of the unique needs of traditionally underserved populations; (3) determine best strategies and programs to improve rehabilitation outcomes for underserved populations; (4) identify research gaps; (5) identify mechanisms of integrating research and practice; and, (6) disseminate findings. VerDate Aug<31>2005 20:20 Apr 24, 2008 Jkt 214001 Priority—Center on Postsecondary Education for Students With Intellectual Disabilities The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, the Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education, and the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education jointly announce a priority for a DRRP— the Center on Postsecondary Education for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (Center). In order to meet this priority, the Center must— (a) Identify key characteristics and promising practices of postsecondary education programs at community colleges, vocational-technical schools, and four-year colleges that currently serve students with intellectual disabilities (ID), including specialized programs that are intended to promote independence and improve employment outcomes for students with ID such as dual enrollment programs for students with ID who are still enrolled in high school and receiving special education services. This includes collecting information on— (1) How students with ID are recruited and retained in these programs; (2) The extent to which students with ID are enrolled in academic courses as part of these programs; and (3) The types and extent of accommodations provided to students with ID in order to ensure their active participation in these programs; (b) Conduct scientifically based research (as defined in 20 U.S.C. 7801(37) and included in the Definitions section of this notice) to determine whether variations in educational, vocational, employment, and independent living outcomes for students with ID are associated with participation in different types of postsecondary education programs. To fulfill this requirement, the Center must do one or both of the following: (1) Engage in data collection activities or (2) conduct secondary analyses of existing national and State longitudinal datasets, such as the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS–2) and the Florida K–20 Education Data Warehouse. Note: The NLTS–2 and the Florida K–20 Education Data Warehouse are only examples of existing datasets that may be used for purposes of conducting secondary analysis. Reports of study findings and data tables containing frequency counts for some variables can be accessed at: http:// www.nlts2.org. For information on acquiring restricted-use data sets for NLTS–2, see page: http://www.nlts2.org/data_tables/datatable_ training.html. of this Web site. The Florida K–20 Education Data Warehouse can be PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 accessed at: http:// www.edwapp.doe.state.fl.us/doe/. (c) Compile existing technical assistance materials and develop new materials, as needed, including information on promising practices that can be replicated, for postsecondary education institutions that are developing new programs or expanding existing programs to provide activities for students with ID. Technical assistance materials must be informed by knowledge acquired through the Center’s research program, as the knowledge becomes available; (d) Partner with existing training and technical assistance providers for the purpose of disseminating technical assistance materials to postsecondary education programs interested in developing new programs or expanding existing programs for students with ID. To the extent possible, technical assistance and other informational materials should be disseminated to interested students with ID and their families; (e) Provide technical assistance information and materials to appropriate NIDRR research and dissemination centers, including the National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research and the Research Utilization Support and Help (RUSH) Project at the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, and the Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information and Exchange at the State University of New York at Buffalo; (f) Establish an advisory committee of researchers, vocational rehabilitation providers, transition planners, secondary and postsecondary educators, individuals with ID, and parents of individuals with ID to provide the Center, on an ongoing basis, with guidance on the Center’s research and technical assistance activities; (g) Conduct a formative evaluation of the Center’s activities, using clear performance objectives to ensure continuous improvement in the operation of the Center, including objective measures of progress in implementing the project and ensuring the quality of research and technical assistance; and (h) To the extent possible, consult with the sponsors of activities that are similar or related to the Center’s activities, especially, existing training and technical assistance resources that have been established by relevant offices within the U.S. Department of Education, including the Rehabilitation Services Administration’s Rehabilitation Continuing Education Programs; the Office of Special Education Programs’ E:\FR\FM\25APN1.SGM 25APN1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 81 / Friday, April 25, 2008 / Notices sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES Technical Assistance and Dissemination Network and Technical Assistance Communities of Practice; the Office of Vocational and Adult Education’s National Research Center for Career and Technical Education; and the NIDRR network of knowledge translation grantees. This consultation must be designed to avoid duplication of efforts and to facilitate the exchange of information, pool resources, and improve the overall effectiveness of the Center’s activities. Definitions The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, the Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education, and the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education jointly establish the following definitions for the purpose of the Center on Postsecondary Education for Students With Intellectual Disabilities priority: (1) Adaptive skill areas, as used in the definition of students with intellectual disabilities, means the basic skills needed for everyday life, such as communication, self-care, home living, social skills, leisure, health and safety, self-direction, functional academics (reading, writing, basic math), and work. (2) Scientifically based research has the meaning given the term in 20 U.S.C. 7801(37): Research that involves the application of rigorous, systematic, and objective procedures to obtain reliable and valid knowledge relevant to education activities and programs. It includes research that— (a) Employs systematic, empirical methods that draw on observation or experiment; (b) Involves rigorous data analyses that are adequate to test the stated hypotheses and justify the general conclusions drawn; (c) Relies on measurements or observational methods that provide reliable and valid data across evaluators and observers, across multiple measurements and observations, and across studies by the same or different investigators; (d) Is evaluated using experimental or quasi-experimental designs in which individual entities, programs, or activities are assigned to different conditions and with appropriate controls to evaluate the effects of the condition of interest, with a preference for random-assignment experiments, or other designs to the extent that those designs contain within-condition or across-condition controls; (e) Ensures that experimental studies are presented in sufficient detail and clarity to allow for replication or, at a VerDate Aug<31>2005 20:20 Apr 24, 2008 Jkt 214001 minimum, offer the opportunity to build systematically on their findings; and (f) Has been accepted by a peerreviewed journal or approved by a panel of independent experts through a comparably rigorous, objective, and scientific review. (3) Students with intellectual disabilities means— (a) Individuals ages 13 through 26 whose intellectual functioning levels require significant changes in instructional methods and modifications to the curriculum in order to participate in postsecondary education programs; (b) Individuals who have significant limitations in adaptive skill areas as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills; and (c) Individuals whose disabilities originated before the age of 18. Executive Order 12866 This NFP has been reviewed in accordance with Executive Order 12866. Under the terms of the order, we have assessed the potential costs and benefits of this regulatory action. The potential costs associated with this NFP are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have determined as necessary for administering this program effectively and efficiently. In assessing the potential costs and benefits—both quantitative and qualitative—of this NFP, we have determined that the benefits of the final priority and definitions justify the costs. Summary of Potential Costs and Benefits The benefits of the DRRP programs have been well established over the years in that other DRRP projects have been completed successfully. The priority and definitions announced in this notice will generate new knowledge through research, dissemination, utilization, and technical assistance. Another benefit of the final priority and definitions is that establishing a new DRRP will support the President’s NFI and improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. The new DRRP will generate, disseminate, and promote the use of new information that will improve the options for individuals with intellectual disabilities to achieve improved education, employment, and independent living outcomes. Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350. Electronic Access to This Document You may view this document, as well as all other Department of Education documents published in the Federal PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 22355 Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/ news/fedregister/index.html. To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1– 888–293–6498; or in the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512–1530. Note: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available on GPO Access at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/ index.html. (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers 84.133A Disability Rehabilitation Research Projects) Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(a). Dated: April 22, 2008. Tracy R. Justesen, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. [FR Doc. E8–9108 Filed 4–24–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records—Adult English as a Second Language (ESL) Literacy Impact Study Institute of Education Sciences, Department of Education. ACTION: Notice of a new system of records. AGENCY: SUMMARY: In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (Privacy Act), the Department of Education (Department) publishes this notice of a new system of records entitled ‘‘Adult English as a Second Language (ESL) Literacy Impact Study’’ (18–13–19). The National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance at the Department’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) commissioned this evaluation. It will be conducted under a contract that IES awarded in September 2004. The study will address the following questions: (1) How effective is instruction based on a literacy workbook in improving the English reading and speaking skills of low-literate adult ESL learners? (2) Is instruction based upon the workbook more effective for certain groups of students (e.g., native Spanish speakers)? (3) How well do instructors implement the instruction based upon the workbook? E:\FR\FM\25APN1.SGM 25APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 81 (Friday, April 25, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 22351-22355]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-9108]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research 
(NIDRR)--Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers 
Program--Disability Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRPs)

AGENCY: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services 
(OSERS), Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of final priority and definitions.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services, in conjunction with the Assistant Secretary 
for Vocational and Adult Education and the Assistant Secretary for 
Postsecondary Education, announces a priority and definitions for a 
Center on Postsecondary Education for Students With Intellectual 
Disabilities (Center) under the DRRP program administered by NIDRR. The 
Assistant Secretary may use this priority and definitions for 
competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2008 and later years. We take this 
action to focus research attention on areas of national need. We intend 
this priority and definitions to improve postsecondary education and 
other outcomes for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

DATES: Effective Date: This priority and definitions are effective May 
27, 2008.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tracy Justesen, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 5107, Potomac Center Plaza, 
Washington, DC 20202-2700. Attention Donna Nangle. Telephone: (202) 
245-7462 or by e-mail: donna.nangle@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the 
Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339.
    Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an 
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Program

    The purpose of the DRRP program is to improve the effectiveness of 
services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 
by developing methods, procedures, and rehabilitation technologies that 
advance a wide range of independent living and employment outcomes for 
individuals with disabilities, especially individuals with the most 
severe disabilities. DRRPs carry out one or more of the following types 
of activities, as specified and defined in 34 CFR 350.13 through 
350.19: Research, training, demonstration, development, dissemination, 
utilization, and technical assistance. An applicant for assistance 
under this program must demonstrate in its application how it will 
address, in whole or in part, the needs of individuals with 
disabilities from minority backgrounds (34 CFR 350.40(a)). The 
approaches an applicant may take to meet this requirement are found in 
34 CFR 350.40(b). In addition, NIDRR intends to require all DRRP 
applicants to meet the General Disability and Rehabilitation Research

[[Page 22352]]

Projects (DRRP) Requirements priority that it published in a notice of 
final priorities in the Federal Register on April 28, 2006 (71 FR 
25472).
    Additional information on the DRRP program can be found at: http://
www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/res-program.html#DRRP.
    We published a notice of proposed priority and definitions (NPP) 
for NIDRR's DRRP program in the Federal Register on December 11, 2007 
(72 FR 70316). The NPP included a background statement that described 
our rationale for the priority and definitions proposed in that notice.
    There are differences between the NPP and this notice of final 
priority and definitions (NFP) as discussed in the following section.

Analysis of Comments and Changes

    In response to our invitation in the NPP, 11 parties submitted 
comments on the proposed priority and definitions. An analysis of the 
comments and of any changes in the priority and definitions since 
publication of the NPP follows.
    Generally, we do not address technical and other minor changes, or 
suggested changes the law does not authorize us to make under the 
applicable statutory authority. In addition, we do not address general 
comments that raised concerns not directly related to the proposed 
priority or definitions.
    Comment: One commenter suggested that the Center be designed so 
that students with intellectual disabilities (ID) or developmental 
disabilities (DD) are not segregated from other students.
    Discussion: The Center is designed to conduct research and 
disseminate information on promising practices in postsecondary 
education; it will not provide postsecondary education for students 
with ID or DD. Therefore, because the Center will not provide direct 
services to students, the recommendation that it be designed so that 
students with ID or DD are not segregated from other students is 
inapplicable.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter noted that individuals with disabilities 
often have significant health issues and that success in postsecondary 
education may be related to their health status. This commenter 
recommended that the Center involve personnel with expertise in health 
issues related to individuals with disabilities.
    Discussion: Nothing in the priority precludes applicants from 
proposing to involve personnel with expertise in the health of 
individuals with ID (e.g., these individuals might serve on the 
Center's advisory committee). However, we do not have a basis for 
requiring all applicants to do so.
    Changes: None.
    Comments: Two commenters asked for a definition of ``longitudinal 
study'' and whether the longitudinal study must be limited to an 
analysis of existing datasets or if the Center could collect its own 
longitudinal data. In addition, they asked whether applicants could 
propose to conduct analyses of existing datasets that were not 
mentioned specifically in the NPP.
    Discussion: We recognize that, given the level of funding available 
for the Center, the Center would be unable to conduct a longitudinal 
study. Therefore, we have revised the priority to require the Center to 
do one or both of the following: (1) Engage in data collection 
activities, or (2) conduct secondary analyses of existing national and 
State longitudinal datasets. The purpose of the data collection 
activities and secondary data analyses would be to generate knowledge 
about the extent to which variations in educational, vocational, and 
independent living outcomes for students with ID are associated with 
participation in different types of postsecondary education programs. 
The National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS-2) and the Florida 
K-20 Data Warehouse are examples of existing data sources that contain 
relevant data and have not been analyzed fully; applicants may propose 
to use other extant data sources. We believe that much can be learned 
from existing data sources without necessarily expending funds on 
designing surveys or collecting data. Finally, we do not believe it is 
necessary to define the term ``longitudinal study'' because the final 
priority does not require the Center to conduct such a study.
    Changes: We have removed all references to conducting a 
longitudinal study from the priority. Instead, we have clarified the 
language in paragraph (b) to indicate that the Center must (1) engage 
in data collection activities; or (2) conduct secondary analyses of 
existing datasets, such as the NLTS-2 and the Florida K-20 Data 
Warehouse; or both.
    Comment: One commenter suggested that efforts to collect new 
longitudinal data or establish baseline data may be more beneficial 
than analyses of existing data that are intended to generate knowledge 
about the relationship between postsecondary education and outcomes 
among individuals with ID.
    Discussion: The funds available for this priority will likely not 
permit the Center to collect new longitudinal data or establish 
baseline data. However, we are convinced that conducting data 
collection activities, secondary analyses of existing data, or both, 
will generate new and beneficial knowledge about outcomes associated 
with postsecondary education programs for individuals with ID. Because 
this is the case, paragraph (b) of the priority allows applicants to 
conduct data collection activities, analyze existing datasets, or 
engage in both activities.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Seven commenters noted that the datasets mentioned under 
paragraph (b) of the priority (i.e., the NLTS-2 and the Florida K-20 
Data Warehouse) have limitations in disability variables and 
descriptors of postsecondary education programs that could negatively 
impact the extent to which secondary analyses relating to the 
population of individuals with ID may be completed. Further, the 
commenters expressed concern that neither of these datasets contains 
variables that are necessary to connect the outcomes of students with 
ID to the different types of postsecondary education programs that 
serve students with ID. These commenters also noted that neither 
dataset provides information on dual enrollment programs, and that some 
variables relating to postsecondary outcomes in the NLTS-2 dataset have 
zero percent of cases of people with ID.
    Discussion: With respect to disability variables or identifier 
codes, while it is true that neither of the datasets mentioned in the 
priority include the ``intellectual disabilities'' code, both datasets 
include related codes that would make it possible to conduct analyses 
that cover students with ID and that could address important outcomes 
for this population. For example, although the Florida K-20 Data 
Warehouse does not include an ``intellectual disabilities'' code, it 
contains 22 ``exceptionality'' codes that include (a) educable mentally 
handicapped, (b) trainable mentally handicapped, and (c) profoundly 
mentally handicapped. Using these codes, it would be possible to 
identify a sample of students with ID by selecting students whose 
primary disability is educable, trainable, or profoundly mentally 
handicapped, and to conduct any number of analyses related to the 
outcomes for this population. Likewise, while the NLTS-2 does not 
include an ``intellectual disabilities'' code, it would be possible to 
identify a sample of students with ID in the dataset by selecting 
students whose primary disability is mental retardation or who were 
identified as

[[Page 22353]]

having mental retardation on either the parent or teacher interview.
    With respect to descriptors of postsecondary education, while it is 
true that neither dataset provides information on dual enrollment 
programs, we believe that there are many variables or descriptors 
related to students with ID that are worth exploring.
    Lastly, the commenters observed that some variables related to 
postsecondary outcomes in the NLTS-2 dataset show zero percent of cases 
of individuals with ID. However, the commenters did not identify any 
specific postsecondary variables or explain the importance of these 
variables to the work of the Center. The NLTS-2 has five waves of data, 
and only three of these waves include individuals who are old enough to 
be included in the postsecondary sample, particularly because many 
students with ID attend secondary school to the maximum age (21 years 
old or older). We believe that the number of variables lacking relevant 
cases should decline as individuals age in the postsecondary category.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Seven commenters noted that the effort to develop and 
implement postsecondary education programs for individuals with ID is 
in its early stages. Given this fact, six of these commenters noted 
that experimental designs would be premature, and one recommended that 
the Center be allowed to use multiple research methods and data 
collection designs.
    Discussion: Paragraph (b) of the priority requires the Center to 
conduct scientifically based research. The definition of scientifically 
based research, as the term is used in the priority, includes but is 
not limited to research that utilizes experimental or quasi-
experimental designs. We are interested in rigorous methods of research 
that produce findings that are useful for the education field and for 
further research. The peer review process will determine the merits of 
each proposal.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter asked how ``postsecondary education 
programs'' are defined.
    Discussion: Although the Definitions section of the NPP included a 
definition of ``postsecondary education programs,'' upon further 
review, we believe that this definition is not sufficiently clear 
because it did not incorporate the language from the background section 
of the NPP referring to dual enrollment programs for students with ID 
who are still enrolled in high school and are receiving special 
education services. To clarify what we mean, instead of providing a 
definition of ``postsecondary education programs,'' we will provide a 
more expansive explanation of the term ``postsecondary education 
programs'' in the text of the priority.
    Changes: We have removed the definition of ``postsecondary 
education programs'' from the Definitions section of this notice, and 
revised paragraph (a) of the priority to provide a fuller explanation 
of what is meant by this term.
    Comment: Four commenters recommended that the Department's Office 
of Postsecondary Education (OPE) be included in the list of the 
Center's required collaborators in paragraph (h) of the priority.
    Discussion: As described in the opening paragraph of the priority, 
OPE is one of the sponsors of this Center. However, many of the 
activities supported by this Center will focus on technical assistance 
and research. Because OPE does not fund technical assistance grantees, 
it would not be appropriate or useful to require the Center to 
collaborate with OPE for purposes of this priority.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Six commenters suggested that ``employment'' be added to 
the list of key outcomes described in the opening sentence of paragraph 
(b) of this priority. While these commenters noted that vocational 
outcomes are important, they stated that employment should be 
highlighted by specifically including it in the list of outcomes for 
students with ID.
    Discussion: We agree that employment is a desired outcome for 
individuals with ID participating in postsecondary education programs 
and will add it to the list of outcomes in paragraph (b) of the 
priority.
    Changes: We have added employment to the list of outcomes described 
in paragraph (b) of the priority.
    Comment: Five commenters noted that legislation is pending in 
Congress that would authorize demonstration projects and a coordinating 
center, the primary purpose of which would be training and technical 
assistance on programs providing postsecondary education for 
individuals with ID. These commenters noted that the Center should 
focus primarily on research and dissemination of technical assistance 
materials. The commenters recommend that the Center remain distinct 
from the projects pending in Congress.
    Discussion: We agree that the focus of the Center should be on 
research and the dissemination of technical assistance materials, and 
we believe that this purpose is reflected in the priority.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Five commenters recommended that the priority expand the 
age range of students with ID who will be the focus of the Center's 
work to 13 to 26 years. They expressed that students with ID may 
require additional time to complete a postsecondary education program. 
These commenters also noted that the definition of students with 
intellectual disabilities is overly restrictive in terms of the age of 
onset of a student's disability and the scope of the disabilities 
covered.
    Discussion: We agree that the proposed age range of 16 to 24 years 
is too restrictive. The age range of students included in the NLTS-2 
and the Florida K-20 Education Data Warehouse is comparable to the age 
range of 13 to 26 years suggested by the commenters. Changing the age 
range to 13 to 26 years of age in the definition of students with 
intellectual disabilities would support the Center's potential use of 
these two databases as key data sources for its analyses. In addition, 
using this age range would address the commenters' concerns that 
students with ID may require additional time to complete a 
postsecondary education program. Therefore, we will change the 
definition of students with intellectual disabilities to cover 
individuals 13 to 26 years of age. In addition, although some 
individuals acquire disabilities that result in cognitive limitations 
after the age of 18, we continue to agree with the American Association 
of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and the Equal Employment 
Opportunity Commission that students with intellectual disabilities are 
students whose disability occurred before age 18. We do not believe 
this definition is too restrictive in terms of scope of disabilities 
covered; we are simply restricting the definition to those individuals 
who acquired their disability prior to age 18 regardless of the 
specific disability involved.
    Changes: We have revised paragraph (a) of the definition of 
students with intellectual disabilities so that the term includes 
individuals ages 13 to 26.
    Comment: Two commenters suggested that universal design for 
learning be a required element for evaluating promising practices under 
paragraph (a) of the priority. These commenters proposed a definition 
of universal design for learning that the Department could use in 
connection with the proposed priority.
    Discussion: We consider universal design for learning to be one 
approach that could be evaluated as a promising

[[Page 22354]]

practice rather than a required element for evaluating promising 
practices. We, therefore, decline to make the requested changes.
    Changes: None.

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use this priority and definitions, we invite 
applications through a notice in the Federal Register. When inviting 
applications we designate the priority as absolute, competitive 
preference, or invitational. The effect of each type of priority 
follows:

    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only 
applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).
    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference 
priority, we give competitive preference to an application by either 
(1) awarding additional points, depending on how well or the extent to 
which the application meets the competitive preference priority (34 CFR 
75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets the 
competitive preference priority over an application of comparable merit 
that does not meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(ii)).
    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are 
particularly interested in applications that meet the invitational 
priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the 
invitational priority a competitive or absolute preference over other 
applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).
    This NFP is in concert with President George W. Bush's New Freedom 
Initiative (NFI) and NIDRR's Final Long-Range Plan for FY 2005-2009 
(Plan). The NFI can be accessed on the Internet at the following site: 
http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/newfreedom.
    The Plan, which was published in the Federal Register on February 
15, 2006 (71 FR 8165), can be accessed on the Internet at the following 
site: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/nidrr/policy.html.
    Through the implementation of the NFI and the Plan, NIDRR seeks to: 
(1) Improve the quality and utility of disability and rehabilitation 
research; (2) foster an exchange of expertise, information, and 
training to facilitate the advancement of knowledge and understanding 
of the unique needs of traditionally underserved populations; (3) 
determine best strategies and programs to improve rehabilitation 
outcomes for underserved populations; (4) identify research gaps; (5) 
identify mechanisms of integrating research and practice; and, (6) 
disseminate findings.

Priority--Center on Postsecondary Education for Students With 
Intellectual Disabilities

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services, the Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education, 
and the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education jointly 
announce a priority for a DRRP--the Center on Postsecondary Education 
for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (Center). In order to meet 
this priority, the Center must--
    (a) Identify key characteristics and promising practices of 
postsecondary education programs at community colleges, vocational-
technical schools, and four-year colleges that currently serve students 
with intellectual disabilities (ID), including specialized programs 
that are intended to promote independence and improve employment 
outcomes for students with ID such as dual enrollment programs for 
students with ID who are still enrolled in high school and receiving 
special education services. This includes collecting information on--
    (1) How students with ID are recruited and retained in these 
programs;
    (2) The extent to which students with ID are enrolled in academic 
courses as part of these programs; and
    (3) The types and extent of accommodations provided to students 
with ID in order to ensure their active participation in these 
programs;
    (b) Conduct scientifically based research (as defined in 20 U.S.C. 
7801(37) and included in the Definitions section of this notice) to 
determine whether variations in educational, vocational, employment, 
and independent living outcomes for students with ID are associated 
with participation in different types of postsecondary education 
programs. To fulfill this requirement, the Center must do one or both 
of the following: (1) Engage in data collection activities or (2) 
conduct secondary analyses of existing national and State longitudinal 
datasets, such as the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS-2) 
and the Florida K-20 Education Data Warehouse.


    Note: The NLTS-2 and the Florida K-20 Education Data Warehouse 
are only examples of existing datasets that may be used for purposes 
of conducting secondary analysis. Reports of study findings and data 
tables containing frequency counts for some variables can be 
accessed at: http://www.nlts2.org. For information on acquiring 
restricted-use data sets for NLTS-2, see page: http://www.nlts2.org/
data_tables/datatable_training.html. of this Web site. The Florida 
K-20 Education Data Warehouse can be accessed at: http://
www.edwapp.doe.state.fl.us/doe/.

    (c) Compile existing technical assistance materials and develop new 
materials, as needed, including information on promising practices that 
can be replicated, for postsecondary education institutions that are 
developing new programs or expanding existing programs to provide 
activities for students with ID. Technical assistance materials must be 
informed by knowledge acquired through the Center's research program, 
as the knowledge becomes available;
    (d) Partner with existing training and technical assistance 
providers for the purpose of disseminating technical assistance 
materials to postsecondary education programs interested in developing 
new programs or expanding existing programs for students with ID. To 
the extent possible, technical assistance and other informational 
materials should be disseminated to interested students with ID and 
their families;
    (e) Provide technical assistance information and materials to 
appropriate NIDRR research and dissemination centers, including the 
National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research and the 
Research Utilization Support and Help (RUSH) Project at the Southwest 
Educational Development Laboratory, and the Center for International 
Rehabilitation Research Information and Exchange at the State 
University of New York at Buffalo;
    (f) Establish an advisory committee of researchers, vocational 
rehabilitation providers, transition planners, secondary and 
postsecondary educators, individuals with ID, and parents of 
individuals with ID to provide the Center, on an ongoing basis, with 
guidance on the Center's research and technical assistance activities;
    (g) Conduct a formative evaluation of the Center's activities, 
using clear performance objectives to ensure continuous improvement in 
the operation of the Center, including objective measures of progress 
in implementing the project and ensuring the quality of research and 
technical assistance; and
    (h) To the extent possible, consult with the sponsors of activities 
that are similar or related to the Center's activities, especially, 
existing training and technical assistance resources that have been 
established by relevant offices within the U.S. Department of 
Education, including the Rehabilitation Services Administration's 
Rehabilitation Continuing Education Programs; the Office of Special 
Education Programs'

[[Page 22355]]

Technical Assistance and Dissemination Network and Technical Assistance 
Communities of Practice; the Office of Vocational and Adult Education's 
National Research Center for Career and Technical Education; and the 
NIDRR network of knowledge translation grantees. This consultation must 
be designed to avoid duplication of efforts and to facilitate the 
exchange of information, pool resources, and improve the overall 
effectiveness of the Center's activities.

Definitions

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services, the Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education, 
and the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education jointly 
establish the following definitions for the purpose of the Center on 
Postsecondary Education for Students With Intellectual Disabilities 
priority:
    (1) Adaptive skill areas, as used in the definition of students 
with intellectual disabilities, means the basic skills needed for 
everyday life, such as communication, self-care, home living, social 
skills, leisure, health and safety, self-direction, functional 
academics (reading, writing, basic math), and work.
    (2) Scientifically based research has the meaning given the term in 
20 U.S.C. 7801(37): Research that involves the application of rigorous, 
systematic, and objective procedures to obtain reliable and valid 
knowledge relevant to education activities and programs. It includes 
research that--
    (a) Employs systematic, empirical methods that draw on observation 
or experiment;
    (b) Involves rigorous data analyses that are adequate to test the 
stated hypotheses and justify the general conclusions drawn;
    (c) Relies on measurements or observational methods that provide 
reliable and valid data across evaluators and observers, across 
multiple measurements and observations, and across studies by the same 
or different investigators;
    (d) Is evaluated using experimental or quasi-experimental designs 
in which individual entities, programs, or activities are assigned to 
different conditions and with appropriate controls to evaluate the 
effects of the condition of interest, with a preference for random-
assignment experiments, or other designs to the extent that those 
designs contain within-condition or across-condition controls;
    (e) Ensures that experimental studies are presented in sufficient 
detail and clarity to allow for replication or, at a minimum, offer the 
opportunity to build systematically on their findings; and
    (f) Has been accepted by a peer-reviewed journal or approved by a 
panel of independent experts through a comparably rigorous, objective, 
and scientific review.
    (3) Students with intellectual disabilities means--
    (a) Individuals ages 13 through 26 whose intellectual functioning 
levels require significant changes in instructional methods and 
modifications to the curriculum in order to participate in 
postsecondary education programs;
    (b) Individuals who have significant limitations in adaptive skill 
areas as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive 
skills; and
    (c) Individuals whose disabilities originated before the age of 18.

Executive Order 12866

    This NFP has been reviewed in accordance with Executive Order 
12866. Under the terms of the order, we have assessed the potential 
costs and benefits of this regulatory action.
    The potential costs associated with this NFP are those resulting 
from statutory requirements and those we have determined as necessary 
for administering this program effectively and efficiently.
    In assessing the potential costs and benefits--both quantitative 
and qualitative--of this NFP, we have determined that the benefits of 
the final priority and definitions justify the costs.

Summary of Potential Costs and Benefits

    The benefits of the DRRP programs have been well established over 
the years in that other DRRP projects have been completed successfully. 
The priority and definitions announced in this notice will generate new 
knowledge through research, dissemination, utilization, and technical 
assistance.
    Another benefit of the final priority and definitions is that 
establishing a new DRRP will support the President's NFI and improve 
the lives of individuals with disabilities. The new DRRP will generate, 
disseminate, and promote the use of new information that will improve 
the options for individuals with intellectual disabilities to achieve 
improved education, employment, and independent living outcomes.
    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350.

Electronic Access to This Document

    You may view this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe 
Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: 
http://www.ed.gov/news/fedregister/index.html.
    To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available 
free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. 
Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in 
the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512-1530.


    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO Access at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/
nara/index.html.

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers 84.133A Disability 
Rehabilitation Research Projects)

    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(a).

    Dated: April 22, 2008.
Tracy R. Justesen,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
 [FR Doc. E8-9108 Filed 4-24-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P