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Grant Program: Building Adult Skills and Attainment Through Technology Research Network
Contact: Dr. Meredith Larson
(202) 245-7037

In FY 2016, IES initiated the Research Networks Focused on Critical Problems of Policy and Practice grant program to focus resources and attention on education problems or issues that are high priorities for the nation and to create both a structure and process for researchers who are working on these issues to share ideas, build new knowledge, and strengthen their research and dissemination capacity. Each Network consists of several research teams working on the same issue and is coordinated by a network lead. The ultimate objective of each Network is to advance the field's understanding of a problem or issue beyond what an individual research project or team is able to do on its own, and to assist policymakers and practitioners in using this information to strengthen education policies and programs and improve student education outcomes.

The Building Adult Skills and Attainment Through Technology Research Network (Adult Skills Network) will help address the needs of millions of U.S. adults who have low basic skills or academic attainment gaps. In particular, the Adult Skills Network member teams aim to facilitate the development, evaluation, and adoption of technology-supported interventions and the digital skills and competencies adults and practitioners need to benefit fully from technologies that aim to improve the basic skills or academic attainment of adults. The Adult Skills Network includes coordinated efforts in two areas: (1) basic and applied research and (2) dissemination and leadership.

The Adult Skills Network includes five research teams and a network lead, as follows:

Adult Skills Network Lead
Principal Investigator: Stephanie Cronen, American Institutes for Research (AIR)
The Adult Skills Network (ASN) lead serves two primary roles to help the ASN meet its goal: to coordinate and help manage and facilitate the work of all ASN grantees and to provide national leadership in knowledge generation and translation and guides large-scale dissemination of research-based resources to practitioners and other stakeholders in a form they can effectively use.

Teaching Skills That Matter (TSTM)–SkillBlox Research Team
Principal Investigator: Stephanie Cronen, American Institutes for Research (AIR)
This research team will explore the rollout of the Teaching Skills That Matter (TSTM) initiative of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) and will develop and pilot test instructional resources for TSTM.

Adult Numeracy in the Digital Era: Adaptive Technology for Quantitative and Digital Literacy
Principal Investigator: Ann Edwards, WestEd
This research team will develop and pilot test a technology-enabled adult numeracy course and corresponding professional development designed for adult basic education learners.

Writing in Adult Secondary Education Classes (W-ASE)
Principal Investigator: Cynthia Puranik, Georgia State University
This research team will develop a writing curriculum for learners in adult secondary education (ASE) classes along with a professional development (PD) delivery model, materials, and online resources for instructors and students.

Adult Skills Assessment Program: Actionable Assessments for Adult Learners
Principal Investigator: Stephen Sireci, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
This research team will create a digital, online repository of assessment tasks in literacy, numeracy, and the intersection of these two domains to provide effective, comprehensive measures of academic constructs important to the success of all adult learners.

Content-Integrated Language Instruction for Adults with Technology Support
Principal Investigator: Aydin Durgunoglu, University of Minnesota
This research team will develop a curriculum, called CILIA-T (Content- Integrated Language Instruction for Adult with Technology Support), which will provide rigorous academic content as part of English language instruction for adult learners and support learners' goals such as participating more fully in their communities and citizenship.