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IES Contract

Title: Commercializing the Effective K-3 Assessment to Instruction (A2i) Intervention to Reduce Cost and to Scale Access to the Benefit of More Students
Center: NCER Year: 2014
Principal Investigator: Connor, Jay Awardee: Learning Ovations
Program: Small Business Innovation Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2.5 years Award Amount: $1,050,000
Type: Phase II Development Award Number: EDIES14C0026


Phase I Amount: $150,000

Phase I Period: 6 months

Phase II Amount: $900,000

Phase II Period: 2 years

Purpose: Students who fail to achieve proficient levels of literacy are at increased risk for grade retention, referral to special education, and dropping out of high school. The kindergarten through 3rd grade years are particularly important for students to gain a strong foundation in reading as those who continue to struggle with reading are significantly less likely to achieve reading proficiency. The Assessment-to-instruction, or A2i, is an existing technology tool that supports individualized literacy instruction by interpreting reading assessment results to plan and implement individualized instruction. Developed and tested with prior IES funding, researchers find that K-3rd grade children in A2i classrooms showed significantly greater gains compared to control classrooms. However, feedback from practitioners demonstrates that A2i implementation often requires substantial amounts of researcher support and local district adaptation, and that the cost of A2i is not sustainable for most school district budgets. This project will develop a technology platform to enable a high-capacity, cost-efficient, scalable version of A2i so that it can be easily used by teachers and educational leaders in a wide variety of settings.

Project Activities: The project team will redesign the current version of A2i using the Software-as-a-Service model deployment, allowing frequent updates and optimizations while reducing the cost of entry and maintenance. Redevelopment will focus on optimization of the data modeling logic and database structure to provide a more logical relationship between objects. Using modern development standards, concepts such as schools, districts, grades, classrooms, and students will be implemented as discrete data objects, which are interrelated through the database structure. The researchers will create professional development modules to support efficient and effective implementation. These components will then be integrated within the overall system. Iterative refinements will be conducted at major production milestones until the product is fully functional. Once development is complete, the researchers will assess the usability and feasibility, fidelity of implementation, and the promise of the product to improve student outcomes in 25 kindergarten to grade 3 classrooms. The A2i program will be implemented over the school year and will track pre-post student reading outcomes on school selected achievement measures, including 3rd grade state Common Core reading assessments.

Product: This project team will develop a new version of A2i, a cloud-based technology tool that supports individualized (or differentiated or personalized) instruction to result in a district and school-wide platform for improving all K-3rd grade studentsí literacy achievement. The final product will preserve the essential functionality of A2i that is associated with stronger student outcomes, while modernizing and optimizing the underlying structure. Key components will include assessment and data-based decision tools for teachers including algorithm-based recommended reading instruction; planning and organizing literacy instruction tools; planning tools to help teachers deliver the intervention; and professional development tools.

For additional information about this small business and their product, visit their website at: