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National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR)

Performance Measurement and Accountability at NIDILRR



The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) has been proactive in establishing program performance measures, and developing accountability data systems to manage and track grantee progress. It has worked to ensure the relevance of its research portfolio through its competitive grant awards. NIDILRR research staff spends a significant amount of time each year developing research priorities. The aim is to produce research priorities that reflect and build upon the current state-of-knowledge, and that are relevant to the lives of people with disabilities.

Once applications are competed, each application undergoes a peer review rating process to ensure that only the highest quality work is funded. When the grant is awarded NIDILRR staff develops a working relationship with each grantee to ensure that agreed upon outcomes are produced.

NIDILRR conducts formative reviews with a subset of grantees that may be at risk. These grantees are provided with an opportunity to discuss their proposed research methodology with experts in their field. The experts provide suggestions for improving the grantees research plan.

Each grantee also reports on the purpose, progress and accomplishments of all projects/grants in NIDILRR’s Annual Performance Reporting (APR) system.

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Annual Performance Report and Data System

In 2012-13, NIDILRR worked to make the many tables generated from APR data available to all NIDILRR managers and staff. All of NIDILRR can now log on to the RTI website and generate data tables based on the most recent data. The web-site also contains historical data from 2007-2013.

Through a contract with New Editions, NIDILRR produced its first annual report titled, Summary of 2012 Annual Performance Reports from NIDILRR Grantees (PDF, 423k) (2012 APR Report). This report includes an analysis of the data tables available on the RTI web-site. The report includes information about:

  • The overall funding, expenditures and project information for all grantees
  • Research projects, by domain, research method
  • Development projects by domain, development stage
  • Training programs, by type of audience
  • Model systems
  • Products produced by grantees, Publications, tools, technology, and informational products
  • Data on fellows and graduate students funded by NIDILRR grantees, publications produced, disability status, race/ethnicity
  • Grantee staffing formation

In 2014, New Editions developed the second enhanced trend analyses for 2013 APR Report. The report was also made 508 compliant and is now available to all NIDILRR constituents.

In addition to making grantee annual performance report data more accessible to our customers, NIDILRR’s data group has been working with New Editions to identify new analysis which can be used by program managers to improve grants monitoring. The data group has identified and developed specifications for five new analyses that will be developed in 2014.

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Performance management-GPRA and Long Range Plan Measures

NIDILRR has continued to make progress in meeting GPRA performance targets and moving toward providing more current performance data.

NIDILRR has proposed reducing the number of measures for 2014 and will forward this proposal to our Budget Office.

In FY 2012-2013 NIDILRR developed a set of Long Range Plan (LRP) measures which track the progress being made on the objectives of the new LRP. Questions on the set of LRP measures should be directed to Doris Werwie.

These measures are based upon existing data collections although we have asked Abt. Associates , who are developing a 10-year evaluation plan, to propose additional measures and data collection tools where none currently exist.

The LRP measures will be tracked and reviewed by senior management to determine if progress is being made. A subset of these measures will be reported on NIDILRR’s Web-site and in subsequent LRP’s.

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NIDILRR conducts two broad types of evaluation:

  • Formative
  • Summative

Formative evaluations, or formative reviews, examine the work of grantees as it happens. The overall goal of a formative evaluation is to provide feedback to grantees designed to maximize their ability to produce the promised results described in their funded proposal. For more information on our formative review process, go to NIDILRR’s formative review page.

Summative evaluations usually look at what grantees have accomplished once they have completed their work. For more information on NIDILRR’s summative or external evaluation, go to NIDILRR’s external evaluation page.

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Last Modified: 7/6/2015