The has announced that the Washington, D.C.-based and , an independent research institute headquartered in Menlo Park, California, will collaborate on a multi-year study of the impact the foundation's grants have on students, schools, and the sustainability of education reform efforts.
"We intend for our grants to be the most publicly scrutinized educational initiatives," said Tom Vander Ark, executive director of education for the Gates Foundation. "The data and analysis provided from AIR and SRI's work will ensure that we can provide that kind of transparency."
To date, the foundation has committed $350 million to help support model schools and school districts throughout the country as well as improved professional development opportunities for teachers, principals, and superintendents. The evaluation by AIR and SRI will focus on three areas: the success of efforts of scale; the effect of foundation initiatives on student achievement; and the broader impact of the grants.
"The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is providing a catalyst to address major challenges facing American secondary education today," said Dr. George Bohrnstedt, senior vice president for Research at AIR and principal investigator for the foundation's evaluation. "Results of this evaluation will be instrumental to all of us in the education field."