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IES Contract

Title: Digitizing STARI: Strategic Adolescent Reading Intervention
Center: NCER Year: 2023
Principal Investigator: Borodin, Yevgen Awardee: Charmtech Labs
Program: Small Business Innovation Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (06/23/2023 – 06/23/2025) Award Amount: $1,000,000
Type: Direct to Phase II Development Award Number: 91990023C0040

Purpose: The most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress revealed that more than one-quarter of 8th graders are below basic in reading. Through a prior IES award, the SERP Institute and partners created the Strategic Adolescent Reading Intervention (STARI) to accelerate adolescents' reading. Although research demonstrates that the STARI is effective for improving reading and meets What Works Clearinghouse standards without reservation, STARI is paper-based intervention that requires significant time for assessment scoring, making it hard to deliver across settings. This project will develop a new product to enable a scalable and cost-efficient version of STARI that can be more easily delivered and used in a wide variety of setting.

Project Activities: During the Direct to Phase II project, the project team will digitize and integrate the assessment component of STARI within Capti Assess, an existing diagnostic reading assesses platform that automatically adjusts to skill level of individual students and provides educators insights to inform instruction. The team will follow the same development process for fluency, assessment, and instructional components by creating wireframe mockups, databases to house all assessment information, a student user-interface for assessment activities, and an educator user-interface to present results. After development is complete, researchers will assess the usability, fidelity, feasibility, and efficacy of the new product during a randomized controlled trial with 15 schools and 900 students, with half the schools assigned to use the STARI with digitized components and half to use the paper-based STARI. Outcomes for alphabetics, reading fluency, comprehension, and general literacy achievement will be measured using ReadBasix, and will include subtests for reading skills that pose the most difficulty for struggling adolescent readers.

Product: STARI is an evidence-based literacy intervention to support middle school students' word reading, fluency, and simple comprehension skills simultaneously. The current version of STARI is paper-based. In this project, the team will develop a digital version of STARI that is integrated within the Capti Assess platform to automate the assessment process. The digital version of STARI will preserve the unique analog aspects of STARI, focusing on high-interest fiction and non-fiction topics, uses collaboration, and employs discussion and debate to actively engage students in perspective-taking and complex reasoning. Through its built-in accommodation tools, such as text-to-speech, the Capti system will also make the STARI more accessible to students with or at risk for disabilities.

Related IES Projects: Catalyzing Comprehension Through Discussion and Debate R305F100026
Modernizing Reading Assessment with Scenario-Based Tasks (91990021C0029)
Assessing Reading for Understanding: A Theory-based, Developmental Approach (R305F100005)

Video Demonstration of the Phase I Prototype:

Company Website: