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IES Contract

Title: Early Childhood Assessment and Intervention to Improve Grade School Students' Math and Reading
Center: NCER Year: 2007
Principal Investigator: Camacho, Christopher Awardee: Children's Progress, Inc.
Program: Small Business Innovation Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2.5 years Award Amount: $850,000
Type: Fast Track Award Number: ED07CO0039

Product Video Demonstration:

Purpose: Many assessments for the early grades do not provide insight about the children's deficits in literacy and mathematics and do not provide information regarding what steps can be taken to correct these deficits. This project team developed and validated a dynamic web-delivered technology for assessment and instruction that can be independently completed by a child on the computer in the classroom and also at home. Further, the system provides teacher and parent reports and web-report videos detailing information on students' learning.

Project Activities: Through years of collaboration between Columbia University researchers and technology developers at MIT, a new adaptive assessment platform was developed to deliver items based on how a student responded to each question (correctly, incorrectly, or correct with a hint) and to deliver to educators individualized narratives for each student. These narratives provided a targeted description of the student's assessment experience, indicating areas of strength and weakness. The specific assessment items for this project were designed to align to relevant standards and were iteratively developed though four steps. First, skeleton narrative storyboards were developed for each of the content areashat the Children's Progress Academic Assessment (CPAA) addresses. Second, the production team authored the necessary artwork, Adobe Flash based animations, and voiceovers to create each item. Third, the items were field tested through "think alouds" between researchers and individual children and though beta-tests with larger groups of students. Fourth, modifications to the prototypes were made based on the feedback from this research.

Once completed, the team completed pilot testing to validate the CPAA in 32 schools with more than 2,400 students throughout New York City, Philadelphia, and in New Haven, Connecticut. Results demonstrated feasibility (the CPAA ran on a wide range of computer hardware with minimal requirements), usability (students and teachers were able to use the CPAA to supplement normal classroom practices), and reliability (the CPAA performed consistently across three different administrations). Further, the external validity of the CPAA was demonstrated through testing in 5 schools with more than 800 students in Arizona. In this research, CPAA scores were consistent with results generated from other standardized tests including the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills, the Terra Nova Achievement Test, and the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards.

Products: Products include an assessment and instructional software that is independently completed by children and provides immediately generated reports for teachers and parents. Parents also receive "video reports" that show a child's responses to specific questions accompanied by developmental information about the child's pattern of response.