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IES Grant

Title: LEARN Network Lead
Center: NCER Year: 2022
Principal Investigator: Griffiths, Rebecca Awardee: SRI International
Program: Leveraging Evidence to Accelerate Recovery Nationwide Network      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years (09/01/2022 – 08/31/2025) Award Amount: $2,999,873
Type: Adaptation for Scaling Award Number: R305N220012

Co-Principal Investigators: Mislevy, Jessica; Panou, Zafeiria

Related Network Teams: This project is part of the Leveraging Evidence to Accelerate Recovery Nationwide (LEARN) Network, which focuses on adapting and preparing to scale existing, evidence-based products that have the potential to accelerate students' learning relative to pre-pandemic rates of growth for the many learners enrolled in kindergarten through grade 12, postsecondary education, or adult education programs whose learning was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The LEARN Network includes the following other projects — Classwide Fraction Intervention with Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies to Support Learning Acceleration (R305N220008), Modifying an Evidence-Based Peer-Mediated Reading Program to Differentiate Instruction and Accelerate Learning Among Underrepresented Groups: Implementing PALS in the Rio Grande Valley (R305N220010), Scaling Targeted Reading Instruction (TRI) to Serve Students Impacted by COVID-19: Digital Implementation of an Effective Intervention (R305N220013), and Adapting STARI to Accelerate Student Reading Achievement in Middle Grades (R305N220025).

A Research Network involves several teams of researchers who are working together to address a critical education problem or issue. The objective is to encourage information sharing, build new knowledge, and assist policymakers and practitioners to strengthen education policies and programs and improve student education outcomes. The LEARN Network will focus on adapting and scaling up existing, evidence-based products that have the potential to accelerate students' learning for the many learners enrolled in kindergarten through grade 12.

Purpose: SRI International (SRI) will serve as the scaling lead for the LEARN Network with the aim of adapting and scaling adoption of evidence-based practices/products (EBPs) that could help states, districts, schools, and institutions of higher education (IHEs) to address the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on learning, particularly for student populations who were disproportionately impacted. SRI's vision for the Network is to build capacity among product teams to take a human-centered, equity-driven ("Liberatory") approach to adapting their EBPs with attention to educators' contexts, decision-making processes and criteria, usability and feasibility, and pathways to scaling with fidelity. To achieve this vision, the team will facilitate training, coaching, and collaboration activities to apply SRI's proven approach to transitioning innovations from lab to market, while incorporating principles of Liberatory Design and implementation science. The team will ensure that educator needs and perspectives are addressed by conducting focused research and engaging a group of advisors representing a cross-section of education sectors. Ultimately, the LEARN Network will provide a model for ensuring EBPs are developed with the potential to achieve impact at scale for students—particularly those in most need—from the start.

Activities: SRI will (1) facilitate training, coaching and communities of practice with the LEARN Network product teams to apply SRI's proven Invent-Apply-Transition approach for scaling innovations and integrate equity-focused ("Liberatory Design") principles and implementation science approaches; (2) conduct focused research on educator needs and barriers in order to inform EBP adaptation and development of tools and resources to support implementation at scale; (3) refine and adapt tools and resources that are existing elsewhere and that are outputs of Network activities (such as training and focused research briefs) to support broader development and scaling of EBPs; and (4) disseminate information needed by educators to learn about, adopt and implement EBPs. SRI will apply Liberatory Design principles on developing systems and norms to create a high functioning, high trust Network community including SRI staff, product teams, scaling experts, and education advisors who can share perspectives and priorities of their respective stakeholder communities.

Products and Dissemination: The team will produce outputs such as adapted EBPs with feasible scaling plans, research briefs about educators needs and barriers for adopting EBPs, and tools and resources that can support design, development and implementation of EBPs at scale. SRI will coordinate a dissemination plan with Network members to get useful information about their products into the hands of target users and promote Network products (research briefs, tools and resources) through a custom-built website and other media such as blogs, podcasts, webinars and conference presentations. Dissemination activities will leverage the networks and stature of proposed education advisors, who provide connections with school systems across California, rural school districts, community and technical colleges in Tennessee, postsecondary institutions nationwide, and the International Society for Technology in Education's (ISTE) channels.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The focused research will take place in formal K–12 education settings, including public and charter schools, and may also include technical and community colleges, four year colleges and universities, and/or adult education programs contingent on the sectors served by the selected product teams.

Population sample: For the focused research study, SRI will conduct interviews with approximately 30 education leaders involved in the identification and selection of EBPs, such as principals, superintendents, and curriculum directors that, taken together, span geographic regions and contexts and student groups disproportionally affected by the pandemic. The team will also conduct up to 6 focus groups with around 5 individuals each representing EBP end users, including teachers, students, and parents, from specific populations and contexts reflective of the selected product teams' products. Finally, to triangulate interview findings, the team will conduct nationally representative surveys of approximately 1,000 K–12 public school principals and 400 district superintendents and charter management organization leaders. In addition to this study, SRI will conduct targeted interviews with stakeholders in other education sectors (such as postsecondary) to fill information gaps of importance to Network members.

Product: The LEARN Network scaling lead will produce research briefs presenting research findings and will curate, adapt and/or develop tools and resources to support implementation and scaling of EBPs. Specific tools and resources include planning templates and guides for product teams to implement SRI's integrated design and development approach for moving human centered, equity-driven innovations from lab to market.  In addition, the team will produce templates for presenting information that educators need to make decisions about products and implement with fidelity at scale. The team may develop or adapt additional tools, resources, or technology specifications depending on research findings about educator needs and barriers.

Project activities: The team will focus on building product team capacity to adapt and scale EBPs. They will lead a network-wide kick-off meeting, four training sessions (one combined with the kick-off) and monthly coaching sessions with each product team during years 1 and 2 of the project, and communities of practice involving product teams, education advisors, and/or scaling experts. The team will conduct research on educator needs and EBP adoption barriers, including (a) a descriptive and correlational study consisting of a nationwide survey and interviews/focus groups with a purposive sample of K-12 practitioners and users, as well as (b) targeted interviews with practitioners and decision-makers in other sectors. They will curate, adapt, and develop tools and resources to support adaptation and scaling of EBPs. Finally, the team will disseminate information about the LEARN Network, including operating a LEARN-branded public website; communicating about Network research and products through blogs, podcasts, webinars, and conference presentations.  In addition, they will coordinate a dissemination plan with product teams to maximize exposure of their EBPs in target communities.

Related IES Project: From Research to Market: Development of a Transition Process to Integrate Sustainable Scaling Methodologies to Innovation Research Design and Development (R305U210001)