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IES Grant

Title: Blended Learning at Scale–Implementation and Analysis of Student Achievement in District of Columbia Public Schools
Center: NCER Year: 2015
Principal Investigator: Ahn, June Awardee: New York University
Program: Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships in Education Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (7/1/15-6/30/17) Award Amount: $400,000
Type: Researcher-Practitioner Partnership Award Number: R305H160071

Previous Award Number: R305H150085
Previous Institution: University of Maryland

Co-Principal Investigator: John Rice (District of Columbia Public Schools)

Partner Institution: District of Columbia Public Schools

Purpose: In this project, researchers from the University of Maryland at College Park (UMD) will partner with the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) to examine their district-wide implementation of blended learning in K–8 English Language Arts (ELA) classrooms. Blended learning that combines online and face-to-face instruction is a fast-rising strategy in public schools. However, blended learning programs can be implemented in many different ways, and with many different technology platforms. In addition, there is a dearth of research that can help districts plan, implement, and evaluate blended learning programs within their specific education contexts. The findings of the project will directly inform DCPS' strategic decisions concerning blended learning and also contribute scholarly findings to the literature on implementing blended learning in K–8 settings.

Partnership Activities: This partnership formalizes collaboration between UMD researchers and the DCPS' Blended Learning staff to enhance the District's ability to evaluate their new blended learning program and inform future learning plans. Through this partnership project, the team will conduct initial research to examine the relationship(s) between blended learning models implemented in the DCPS and student achievement. Using regression analyses, researchers will examine the correlations between student use of blended learning platforms and student achievement measures. The partners will also conduct comparative case studies of select K–8 classrooms to gather detailed information about the diverse ways in which blended learning is configured and implemented, student experiences with blended learning, and data use. The partnership will use these research results to inform district decision-making, design future interventions to improve blended learning implementation in DC public schools, and inform future research.

Population/Sample: The DCPS is a large urban school district. Nearly 90% of students of DCPS students are from minority groups and 77% participate in free and reduced lunch programs. Researchers will obtain DCPS student information, including demographics and ELA achievement data, for children in grades 2–8. Researchers will also obtain data from the district's blended learning technology platforms on K–8 students' usage of the technology, as well as, placement and formative assessment outcomes.

Outcomes: The specific goals of the partners are to (a) examine the links between blended learning implementation and students' ELA achievement on the DC Comprehensive Assessment System exam and (b) identify key conditions and practices related to blended learning implementation that may be associated with improved student achievement.