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IES Contract

Title: The Iowa Assessment of Skills and Knowledge for Automatic Word Recognition and Decoding (iASK)
Center: NCER Year: 2015
Principal Investigator: Brown, Carolyn Awardee: Foundations in Learning
Program: Small Business Innovation Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (5/7/2015 - 5/6/2017) Award Amount: $899,999
Type: Phase II Development Award Number: EDIES15C0023

Video Demonstration of the Phase I Prototype:

Purpose: This project team will develop and test iASK, an app intended to assess and support increased word recognition among middle school students who struggle to read. The 2013 National Assessment of Education Progress reported that 66% of middle school students scored below proficient in reading, and 22% scored below basic, the lowest performance level. Students who struggle to read often have deficits in word recognition, which, in turn, inhibits comprehension. In general, students who have word deficits and struggle with reading do not receive the individualized support they need. In addition, commonly used screening and progress monitoring instruments often do not provide data that educators can use to provide individualized instruction.

Project Activities: During Phase I (completed in 2014), a prototype app was developed, consisting of a login screen, a back-end database, a library with over 800 items such as words, sound-files, and pictures, and a set of word matching activities. Pilot research with 59 middle school students demonstrated that the prototype operated as intended, and that students enjoyed and were able to successfully complete each of the word matching tasks in the time allotted. In Phase II of the project, the team will design additional activities, and fully develop the back-end assessment system and teacher dashboard. After the development phase is complete, a larger pilot study will assess the feasibility and usability, fidelity of implementation, and the promise of the app for promoting students' word recognition and reading comprehension. The researchers will collect data from 200 middle school students who struggle to read. Half of the students will be randomly assigned to use the app while the other half of students will use a paper-based exercise. Analyses will compare pre-and-post scores of student's vocabulary and reading comprehension.

Product: This project will develop iASK, an app to assess and support increased word recognition among middle school students struggling to read. When using iASK, students will proceed through a series of game-like tasks, such as activities to fill in the blank with the correct word part, to order word parts, or to match words to a corresponding picture. The software will be adaptive, as words will get easier or harder based on the ability of the students to decode word parts. iASK will also include a teacher data dashboard to provide formative assessment reports and visuals to guide further teacher-led instruction.