Frequently Asked Questions

What is The Broad Prize for Urban Education?

The $1 million Broad Prize for Urban Education, established by The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation in 2002, is the largest education award in the country given to school districts. The Broad Prize is awarded each year to honor those large urban school districts that demonstrate the greatest overall performance and improvement in student achievement while reducing achievement gaps among low-income students and students of color.

What are the goals of The Broad Prize?

The Broad Prize has four goals:

  • Restore the public’s confidence in our nation’s public schools by highlighting successful districts.
  • Reward districts that improve achievement levels of disadvantaged students.
  • Create competition and provide incentives for districts to improve.
  • Showcase the best practices of successful districts.

Who are the finalists for the 2014 Broad Prize?

Can districts apply for or be nominated for The Broad Prize?

No. Seventy-five of the nation’s largest urban school districts that also serve significant percentages of low-income students and students of color are automatically eligible for The Broad Prize each year. Publicly available student achievement data on these 75 districts are automatically analyzed and considered anew each year.

Which school districts are eligible for the award?

A list of eligible districts is available on, and eligibility criteria can be found on

Who chose the finalists?

A review board of 13 prominent education experts from across the country analyzed the student achievement data collected by RTI International, a leading global research institute, on 75 of the largest urban school districts for the 2014 Broad Prize. They then selected the finalist school districts that showed the greatest overall performance and improvement in student achievement while reducing achievement gaps among low-income students and students of color. For a full list of review board members, please visit

Who chose the winners?

A selection jury comprised of nine nationally prominent leaders from business, government and public service, including former U.S. secretaries of education, will decided the winner of the 2014 Broad Prize. The selection jury reviewed, analyzed and discussed the extensive student achievement data that were presented to the review board, as well as qualitative reports on district-wide policies and practices that affect teaching and learning in the finalist school districts (the reports are prepared by RMC Research Corporation, an education consulting company, following four-day site visits to each of the finalist districts). For the first time in the prize's 13-year history, the selection jury decided to declare two school districts co-winners of the prize. For a full list of selection jury members, please visit: [Note: The Broad Foundation, RTI International and RMC Research Corporation do not play a role in voting for the finalists or the winner.]

What data are considered to determine the finalists and the winner?

No formula is used to choose either the finalists or the winner. Members of the selection jury and review board rely on their analysis of publicly available student achievement data, their professional judgment, experience and mutual discussion. The selection jury and the review board consider the following student achievement and demographic data:

  • Performance and improvement results on mandated state tests in reading and math for elementary, middle and high schools.
  • Performance and improvement of the district compared with expected results for similar districts (based on poverty levels) in the state.
  • Performance and improvement of the district relative to other districts in the state.
  • The reduction and magnitude of achievement gaps between ethnic groups and between low-income and non-low-income students.
  • Graduation rates calculated using the latest enrollment data available from the National Center for Education Statistics’ Common Core of Data (CCD) according to three different methods: the Average Freshman Graduation Rates (AFGR), the Urban Institute Graduation Rate (Cumulative Promotion Index or CPI), and the Manhattan Institute Graduation Rate (Greene’s Graduation Indicator or CGI).
  • Advanced Placement exam participation and passing rates.
  • SAT and ACT exam participation rates and scores.
  • District demographic data (e.g., student enrollment, income, language, special education, ethnicity).

What years of student achievement data are considered?

For the 2014 Broad Prize, RTI International analyzed and the review board considered student achievement data for the school years 2009-10 through 2012-13.

What is involved in the site visits?

A team of experienced researchers and practitioners led by RMC Research Corporation, an education consulting company, conducts site visits in each finalist district to gather qualitative data. The site visit team analyzes district-wide policies and practices related to student achievement, according to The Broad Prize Framework for School District Excellence, a rubric for evaluating the quality of district-wide policies and practices. The criteria, available at, are grounded in research-based school and district practices found to be effective in three key areas: teaching and learning, district leadership, and operations and support systems. The site visit teams gather evidence through analysis of extensive documentation, classroom visits and through interviews with more than 300 people including district leadership, school board leaders, union leaders, principals, teachers, staff, students and parent and community representatives during a four-day visit in the spring.

How will the districts use the $1 million?

The $1 million Broad Prize goes directly to graduating high school seniors to attend college or for other post-secondary training. This year, both co-winners will receive $500,000.

How are the scholarship recipients selected? How large are the scholarships?

The 2014 Broad Prize scholarships will be awarded to high school seniors who graduate in 2015, demonstrate significant financial need and have a record of academic improvement during their high school career. Seniors from the winning and finalist districts are eligible for two- or four-year scholarships, depending on the type of higher education institution they choose to attend. Students who enroll in four-year colleges receive up to $20,000 scholarships paid out over four years ($5,000 per year). Students who enroll in two-year colleges receive up to $5,000 scholarships paid out over two years ($2,500 per year). The scholarship selection and disbursement process is managed by Scholarship America.

Which school districts have won The Broad Prize in the past?

2014 – Gwinnett County Public Schools, Georgia, and Orange County Public Schools, Florida
2013 – Houston Independent School District
2012 – Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Fla.
2011 – Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, N.C.
2010 – Gwinnett County Public Schools outside Atlanta
2009 – Aldine Independent School District in Texas
2008 – Brownsville Independent School District in Texas
2007 – New York City Department of Education
2006 – Boston Public Schools
2005 – Norfolk Public Schools, Va.
2004 – Garden Grove Unified School District, Calif.
2003 – Long Beach Unified School District, Calif.
2002 – Houston Independent School District


What policies and practices led certain school districts to become Broad Prize winners and finalists?

For information on best practices in school districts that have become Broad Prize winners and finalists over the last decade, visit

How did my school district fare compared to other large, urban American school districts in student achievement?

Extensive data showing relative student progress in the nation’s largest school districts resulting from Broad Prize analysis over the last decade is available at:

Who designed The Broad Prize sculpture?

The Broad Prize sculpture was commissioned by The Broad Foundation in 2002 and designed by artist Tom Otterness. The sculpture is cast in bronze and awarded to The Broad Prize winning district each year. The finalist districts receive a cast stone sculpture. A Broad Prize sculpture also resides at the U.S. Department of Education.

sculpture © Tom Otterness, 2002

What is RTI International?

Launched in 1958, RTI International is a leading independent, nonprofit global research firm with headquarters in North Carolina and offices around the country and the world. For more information, please visit

What is RMC Research Corporation?

RMC Research Corporation is a nationally recognized research and professional services organization. Using a research-based rubric for district quality that was developed exclusively for The Broad Prize, RMC leads a site visit team of researchers and practitioners through the collection and analysis of interviews, documents and observations of Broad Prize finalist district practices. For more information, please visit  

What is The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation?

Founded by entrepreneur Eli Broad and his wife Edythe, both graduates of Detroit Public Schools, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation was founded by entrepreneur Eli Broad and his wife Edythe, both graduates of Detroit Public Schools. Bringing together top education experts and practitioners, the foundation funds system-wide programs and policies that strengthen public schools by creating environments that allow good teachers to do great work and enable students of all backgrounds to learn and thrive. Learn more about The Broad Foundation at, at and on Twitter @broadfoundation.