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The National Evaluation of Investing in Innovation (I3)


  • i3 provides grants for educational innovations.
  • The government needs evidence about the grants to inform decision-making.
  • Abt provides technical assistance for evaluations and summarizes the findings.
The Challenge

Investing in Innovation (i3) is a signature U.S. Department of Education-funded competitive grant program to fund school districts and nonprofit organizations to improve student outcomes. The i3 program has awarded more than $1.3 billion to 172 grantees to scale-up, validate, or develop evidence-based education programs. In addition, each i3 grantee must fund an independent evaluation to document the implementation and outcomes of the projects. 

The Approach

The goals of the i3 Technical Assistance and Evaluation Project are to: 

  • Ensure the government’s investment in educational interventions through i3 generates high-quality evidence to inform educational policy decisions 
  • Boost the field’s capacity to design and conduct scientifically rigorous education research. 

Abt and its partners — Chesapeake Research Associates, ANALYTICA, Century Analytics, Measured Decisions Inc., and Westat — provided technical assistance to the evaluators of the i3-funded programs to ensure well-designed and well-implemented evaluations. 

The Results

Along with the technical assistance on evaluations, Abt summarized the evaluations’ strength of evidence and findings and established standards to determine which programs, practices, and approaches held the most promise for reshaping the nation’s schools. The evaluation findings will inform future grant decisions and policy.