AERA Provides Comments on IES RFI on Proposed “From Seedlings to Scale” Program
AERA Provides Comments on IES RFI on Proposed “From Seedlings to Scale” Program

November 2023

On November 13, AERA submitted comments in response to a request for information (RFI) from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) on a proposed program, From Seedlings to Scale (S2S). This program would be supported through a new Accelerate, Transform, and Scale initiative as part of a directive to IES in the 2023 fiscal year omnibus appropriations bill to support a new funding opportunity for quick-turnaround, high-reward, scalable solutions intended to significantly improve outcomes for students.

From Seedlings to Scale would serve as a three-phase strategy to bring transformative ideas to scale, including product development. The RFI sought input into proposed aspects of the program, topic areas and program design, with specific questions on proposals for both aspects within the RFI for public input.

AERA’s comments focused on broader recommendations to center equity throughout the program topics and design phrases; make fair, open, transparent research practices a required cross-cutting topic to be addressed, in alignment with IES Standards for Excellence in Education Research (SEER) principles; ensure that projects that receive funding are grounded in an evidence base; and include education researchers with appropriate and relevant expertise on project teams.

The comments also encouraged IES to convene a technical working group (TWG) to inform IES scale-up activities.

“TWG participants should be inclusive of education researchers who have been both successful and have faced challenges in bringing evidence-based breakthrough solutions to scale,” wrote AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine. “The latter group would be especially important to highlight lessons learned in the scaling and commercialization process that can inform the S2S [Seedlings to Scale] program and contribute to the success of program grantees.”

IES Director Mark Schneider highlighted the S2S program in a July 2023 blog post that discussed his plans for an “Advanced Research Projects Agency” for education, the National Center for Advanced Development in Education.