Contractor: Branch Associates, Decision Information Resources, and Policy Studies Associates
The Comprehensive Technical Assistance Centers is a federally funded program currently authorized under the Educational Technical Assistance Act of 2002. The Department awarded five-year grants in FY 2005 to 21 Comprehensive Technical Assistance Centers with the purpose to provide technical assistance to States to support their implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The FY 2010 appropriation for the Centers was $59.3 million and ranged from $909,357 to $6.4 million per Center.
There are 16 Regional Centers that provide technical assistance to specific states and 5 Content Centers that provide content-area expertise in five topics: assessment and accountability; instruction, teacher quality, innovation and improvement, and high schools. The law authorizing the Comprehensive Centers, the Educational Technical Assistance Act of 2002, mandated that a national evaluation of the program be conducted by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). The evaluation focuses on the following research questions:
The evaluation was designed to be a multi-year study examining the Center program. Data collection recurred annually to gather information on Center performance during the 2006–07, 2007–08 and 2008–09 program years: (1) Center management plans and documentation were collected from each center to describe Center objectives and planned activities; (2) interviews were conducted with staff from each Center to learn about the types of products and services delivered (3) expert panels reviewed a sample of projects undertaken by each Center to assess the quality of the technical assistance provided; (4) a survey of Center project participants obtained client ratings of the relevance and usefulness of the services they received; and (5) a survey of senior SEA officials assessed how the work of the Centers met states' technical assistance needs and priorities. Additionally, a set of case studies were conducted in 2008–09 to examine the extent to which the Centers have helped to build the state's capacity to implement key NCLB provisions.
Cost/Duration: $7,203,836 over 64 months (August 2006 to December 2011)
The interim report from this evaluation, which examined the Centers during the 2006–07 program year, was released July 2010 (see http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20104033/index.asp). The final report covering three of the five program years (2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09) was released in August 2011 (http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20114031/index.asp).