Request for Proposal: Data Sourcing Partner

Request for Proposal: Data Sourcing Partner is now closed


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s K-12 Education strategy is driven by the guiding principle that all students – but especially Black, Latino, and low-income students– must have access to a great public education that prepares them for adulthood. Our goal is to significantly increase the number of Black, Latino, and low-income students who earn a high school diploma, enroll in a postsecondary institution, and are on track in their first year to obtain a credential with labor-market value.

School-level improvement is a critical component driving towards this goal. Over the next five years, the Gates Foundation will fund and evaluate models of Networks for School Improvement (NSI) to codify approaches that are most successful in helping schools to improve student outcomes across a range of critical milestones. Please refer to the published information on the Networks for School Improvement RFP for further information on the foundation’s NSI strategy, timelines, and goals.

A Network for School Improvement is a group of secondary schools working with an intermediary to solve common problems that schools face. The intermediary will work collaboratively with their schools to use data to identify a problem and root cause(s), select a strategy to address the problem, set a target for improvement, and iterate to make the approach more effective. An NSI’s aim will be to improve selected outcomes that are predictive of high school graduation and postsecondary success.

As the strategy plays out in classrooms across the country, we hope that over the next five years we prove and codify continuous improvement models that are effective and scalable.


We seek a Data Sourcing Partner (DSP) to work with the foundation, the Networks for School Improvement, and the summative and formative evaluation partners to support data collection and delivery. Key proof-points of the effectiveness of this strategy rely on timely, accurate, and comprehensive data collection to track and modify models and prove they are effectively improving the academic outcomes for kids. Therefore, the DSP is a critical component of the support and learning processes for this work.

The primary objective of the DSP is to ensure that the foundation, NSIs, and NSI evaluators receive what we refer to as Big 3 data from each intermediary on a timely basis. Big 3 data are critical in codifying models for the NSIs and understanding whether schools in the NSIs are improving in the ways we anticipate.

Big 3 data will consist of:

  1. aggregate student outcome data, as measured by select indicators, for each participating school;
  2. survey measurement of school climate and systems for each participating school;
  3. survey measurement of NSI implementation and health.

No personally identifiable data will be collected by the Data Sourcing Partner. Big 3 data will be reported by select demographics, and secured to ensure data privacy; any student information sent to the foundation will be aggregated by school. These data will be collected annually and we anticipate the first delivery will be following the end of the 2018-19 school year.

A second objective of the DSP is to provide technical assistance to NSIs. The intermediaries will collect additional indicator data (beyond Big 3 data) depending on their aim or measurement plan. The scope of DSP technical assistance for these data will be limited to data sharing agreement best practices, collection, integration, cleaning, and submission for each NSI.

The DSP must have significant experience and a proven track record in (1) project management, data collection, and data integration, and (2) providing technical assistance to other organizations and individuals in effective, secure, and efficient data collection and data integration. This solicitation process will result in a contract to be structured with a set of success milestones for each year and service, an initial service year, and four option years. The options are at the discretion of the foundation.

The DSP should expect to work with 6-8 Type 1 intermediaries and 15-20 Type 2 intermediaries the first year, ramping up as funding is awarded to additional organizations over the next 4 years. We estimate to roughly double the Type 1 intermediaries year-on-year, but will rationalize the pace of expansion depending on data analysis and practical implementation realities. Each intermediary will likely support between five and twenty schools.

The complexity of data collection and integration per NSI will be variable as intermediaries will differ in their overall data capacity to support the schools in their NSIs. We anticipate that these variances in data capacity will manifest in: (1) the number of data systems required to source the data, (2) the data security requirements of each school’s system, (3) data sharing agreement protocols, and (4) internal technical skills at the intermediary and school level. It’s also possible that schools in NSIs will not be located in the same geographic region, requiring the DSP to coordinate with the district(s) across regions and states. The DSP will need to be nimble, flexible, and prepared to manage data sourcing given these variables.

Note that the DSP must act in accordance to all applicable laws. The foundation adheres to the Bill & Melinda Gates Data Stewardship Principles and as part of this engagement, the DSP will be prohibited from sharing student personally identifiable information with the Foundation in violation of those principles.

View Data Flow Diagram

Anticipated Outcomes

The required outcomes of this project are that:

  • The intermediaries and schools are positioned to manage and sustain high-quality data systems to aid continuous improvement;
  • The data collection and integration process for intermediaries, their schools, and their districts are easy, unobtrusive, and sustainable;
  • Across all schools and intermediaries, the DSP identifies gaps in technical or operational capacity;
  • The DSP provides support to improve the technical and operational capacity at schools and with intermediaries, as needed;
  • The DSP creates documentation of technical and functional requirements, lessons learned, best practices, and the model for data collection in NSIs;
  • The DSP creates and maintains a clear communication path among intermediaries, evaluators, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation;
  • The foundation and the evaluation partners obtain Big 3 data in a complete, consistent, and on-time manner.

Scope and Approach

Organizations will be selected for funding in a two-phase process: (1) submission of concept memos followed by (2) invited organizations’ submission of full proposals.

Respondents are welcome to propose services to fulfill this scope of work as individual organizations or in partnerships if they feel it will benefit the value of the services delivered. Organizations within and those outside K-12 education are encouraged to apply. We are flexible on the approach to deliver this scope of work and will be interested in recommendations for a creative, thorough, and efficient execution plan for this project.

The deadline for the concept memo stage has passed.

Please reach out to with any questions.

Additional RFP Resources

RFP Glossary

A glossary to clarify terms that we may use differently in this RFP from how they are commonly used in the field.