The ASSISTments Foundation Awarded $8M to Scale ASSISTments for Algebra Readiness with Curriculum-based Professional Learning and Coaching
Transformative Grant Supports Cutting-Edge Research to Design, Implement, and Evaluate Equitable Algebra I Readiness Intervention
WORCESTER, MA (February 21, 2023)—Math technology nonprofit, The ASSISTments Foundation (ASSISTments) with partners Teaching Lab and WestEd, is pleased to announce our recent award of a five-year $8 million Education Innovation and Research (EIR) Mid-Phase Project grant to implement, refine and evaluate ASSISTments for Algebra Readiness (ASSISTments4AR). ASSISTments4AR, designed to directly impact the Algebra Readiness of high-need 6th and 7th-grade students, will integrate the use of formative assessment data from ASSISTments into Teaching Lab's high quality curriculum-based professional learning (PL) to drive continuous improvement in teacher instructional practice in support of more equitable student outcomes. WestEd will rigorously evaluate the impact of ASSISTments4AR on student math learning outcomes and teacher instructional practices.
ASSISTments4AR will specifically address the impacts of COVID-19 as it relates to Algebra-readiness, with an essential focus on strengthening the instructional practices of teachers and the coaches that support them. Algebra I is one of the most important on-track indicators of students' college and career readiness, in fact, students who do not complete Algebra I have only a 20 percent chance of graduating high school, putting them at a disadvantage in pursuing well-paid, in-demand careers. The NAEP test's post-pandemic results revealed that math scores for 4th and 8th graders fell significantly. For 8th graders, only 26 percent were proficient, down from 34 percent in 2019. ASSISTments4AR will strengthen student proficiency on 6th and 7th grade Common Core standards, preparing them for Algebra I.
Participating schools and districts will implement either EngageNY or Illustrative Math, two high-quality instructional materials that lay the foundation for Algebra Readiness. Schools will be supported with three evidence-based practices that will drive student success with rigorous grade-level content:
- Teacher-use of ASSISTments to provide students just-in-time targeted support with grade-level standards
- Teacher PL needed to successfully implement their instructional materials
- Capacity-building for school coaches to more effectively support teachers, enhanced with data from ASSISTments.
“ASSISTments4AR will address persistent inequities in math education exacerbated by the pandemic,” commented Cristina Heffernan, Executive Director of The ASSISTments Foundation. “From its inception, ASSISTments has designed learning experiences based on learning science research. This practice continues to be at the core of our mission today.”
In previous years, ASSISTments has been the lead on two $8 million EIR grants supporting the innovation of new learning technologies and programs. This award continues to build on the innovative work ASSISTments is leading in partnership with Teaching Lab and West Ed.
“Now more than ever, it’s time for organizations and researchers to collaborate in order to dramatically improve student math outcomes. Teaching Lab is delighted to partner with ASSISTments and WestEd on this groundbreaking initiative. Together, we will provide the instructional tools and support that teachers and students truly deserve.” said Teaching Lab, CEO, Sarah Johnson.
“The recent NAEP scores showed us what students and teachers across the nation have been saying: COVID-19 has had a significant negative effect on math learning,” said Mingyu Feng, Senior Research Associate at WestEd. “Programs like ASSISTments4AR could help to support the learning acceleration that students, especially those further from opportunity, really need right now. The rigorous study will tell us about the impact of the program on learners of various backgrounds.”
About the EIR Program
$160 million in new grant awards were granted to 28 state education agencies, local education agencies, institutions of higher education, and nonprofit organizations through the Education Innovation and Research (EIR) program. Through the EIR program, grantees will design, scale, and validate programs that can help solve education’s most pressing problems. Most importantly, they’ll be working to address the continuing impacts of the COVID19 pandemic.
Learn more about the EIR program and see the full list of grantees: https://oese.ed.gov/offices/office-of-discretionary-grants-support-services/innovation-early-learning/education-innovation-and-research-eir/awards/
About The ASSISTments Foundation
The ASSISTments Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 2019 with generous funding from the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative and Schmidt Futures, and sponsored by Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). The organization is dedicated to scaling the reach and impact of ASSISTments in classrooms nationwide, driven by the belief that every student deserves the opportunity to be good at math. The ASSISTments Foundation works with Worcester Polytechnic Institute to conduct cutting edge research on the learning sciences.
About Teaching Lab
Teaching Lab is a national non-profit organization with a mission to fundamentally shift the paradigm of teacher professional learning for educational equity. In partnership with teachers, Teaching Lab transforms professional learning from the ground up to dramatically improve student outcomes. Teaching Lab also works with school, district, and state leaders to create the instructional systems necessary to support these changes. Currently, Teaching Lab supports over 40 school systems across 12 states.
About West Ed
WestEd is a nonpartisan, nonprofit agency that provides a range of services—research and evaluation, professional learning, technical assistance, and policy guidance—for education and other communities. Working to promote success for every learner is WestEd’s main goal, and a steadfast commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion is central to that work. To learn more, visit WestEd.org and subscribe to the agency’s E-Bulletin to receive updates about professional development, award-winning research, career opportunities, and more.