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IES Grant

Title: A Researcher-Practitioner Partnership Examining the Use of Automated Essay Evaluation Software for Improving Students Writing Achievement
Center: NCER Year: 2017
Principal Investigator: Wilson, Joshua Awardee: University of Delaware
Program: Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships in Education Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (08/01/2017- 07/31/2019) Award Amount: $399,999
Type: Researcher-Practitioner Partnership Award Number: R305H170046

Co-Principal Investigators: Gaysha Beard (Red Clay Consolidated School District)

Partner Institutions: This project is a partnership between the University of Delaware School of Education and the Red Clay Consolidated School District. Red Clay is located in Northern New Castle County in Delaware, and is the largest school district in the state, serving the city of Wilmington and its surrounding towns and suburbs. Red Clay serves more than 18,000 students in 15 elementary, 7 middle, and 5 high schools.

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to continue to build a partnership between the University of Delaware School of Education and the Red Clay school district, and to begin to investigate writing achievement in elementary schools, which is an education issue of great importance to Red Clay. Red Clay is moving toward a one-to-one laptop program which will be fully implemented by the 2019-2020 academic year, and the district is interested in purchasing an automated essay evaluation software, PEG Writing, to help increase student writing achievement without increasing burden on teachers. This partnership project will provide initial evidence as to whether PEG Writing is associated with increased opportunity to write and increased writing achievement for students in grades three through five.

Partnership Activities: The partnership between the University of Delaware School of Education and Red Clay began in 2014, and will continue to be developed in an effort to address the education issue of improving studentsí writing outcomes. Members of each partnership institution worked together to develop the research questions for this project. The partnership members are organized into teams, with one each at the University and at Red Clay. The PI and Co-PI will meet quarterly and will each lead their respective teams in meetings with varying frequency. Partnership members will work together to participate in Writing Partnership Leadership Team meetings, to disseminate research findings, and to plan future research.

Setting: Research will take place in the Red Clay Consolidated School District in Delaware.

Population/Sample: The sample for the research will include approximately 2,880 students from diverse backgrounds in grades three through five.

Data Analytic Strategy: The researchers will assess the feasibility and promise of PEG Writing for improving studentsí writing outcomes. The team will use hierarchical linear modeling with time nested within students and students nested within classrooms to examine the association between PEG Writing use, motivation for writing, writing prompt scores, and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium ELA test scores.

Outcomes: At the end of this project, the partnership expects to have preliminary evidence on the feasibility and promise of PEG Writing for students in grades three through five. They will produce conference presentations and papers describing their partnership work and their research. Finally, the team will work together to submit a Goal 3 Efficacy and Replication application to the Institute.