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IES Grant

Title: Revisions to the ASSISTments Digital Learning Platform to Expand Its Support for Rigorous Education Research
Center: NCER Year: 2021
Principal Investigator: Heffernan III, Neil Awardee: Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Program: Digital Learning Platforms to Enable Efficient Education Research Network      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 Years (09/01/2021 – 08/31/2024) Award Amount: $1,998,958
Type: Methodological Innovation Award Number: R305N210049

Related Network Teams: This project is part of the Digital Learning Platforms to Enable Efficient Education Research Network (Digital Learning Platforms Network), which aims to leverage existing, widely used digital learning platforms for rigorous education research, and includes the following other projects — The SEER Research Network for Digital Learning Platforms (R305N210034), The Canvas+Terracotta LMS-Based Experimental Education Research Platform (R305N210035), The ASU Learning at Scale (L@S) Digital Learning Network (R305N210041), MATHia: A Digital Learning Platform Supporting Core and Supplemental Instruction in Middle and High School Mathematics (R305N210045), Efficient Education Research via the OpenStax Learning Platform (R305N210064)

Purpose: The goal of this project is to make education research more widely available and efficient by building the necessary infrastructure for an existing online digital platform. The new infrastructure that will be built during this project will enable researchers to run studies within open education resources (OER). An additional goal is to help researchers explore ways to increase student learning for the 500,000 students who use the ASSISTments digital platform. Educators need to know what works to increase student learning: what are the best ways of delivering student supports while students work independently? The team will add capabilities to the E-TRIALS platform, a platform they built to create experiments that run in ASSISTments, so that researchers can run studies within OER problem sets.

Project Activities: The team will build new software to create the E-TRIAL-OER Infrastructure to allow experiments to be run in OER content. The software will allow for student-level randomization. First, the team will create the Dependent Measure (DM) Infrastructure that will give researchers a clean metric allowing them to assess student learning. Second, the team will create a Best-So-Far-Students-Support (BSF-SS) Infrastructure that will run experiments at scale. Third, the team will create the Open Science Data Reporting (OSDR) Infrastructure that will give reports to researchers on whether their idea led to better students learning and will do so in a way that is consistent with IES's Standards for Excellence in Education Research (SEER) that include standards like preregistration, open data, and open materials. Five research teams will trial run this infrastructure to test for usability and feasibility of the E-TRIALS-OER Infrastructure.

Products: The new software infrastructure, E-TRIALS-OER Infrastructure will operate inside of ASSISTments digital platform and will support research that is exploratory and experimental. For exploratory work the team will make public all sorts of clickstream data for researchers. For the experimental work the team will support the running of randomized control experiments.

Related IES Projects: Using Web-based Cognitive Assessment Systems for Predicting Student Performance on State Exams (R305K030140); Making Longitudinal Web-Based Assessments Give Cognitively Diagnostic Reports to Teachers, Parents, and Students While Employing Mastery Learning (R305A070440); An Efficacy Study of Online Mathematics Homework Support: An Evaluation of the ASSISTments Formative Assessment and Tutoring Platform (R305A120125); Evaluating the Effectiveness of ASSISTments for Improving Math Achievement (R305A170243); Efficacy of ASSISTments Online Homework Support for Middle School Mathematics Learning: A Replication Study (R305A170641)