Inside IES Research

Notes from NCER & NCSER

Research To Accelerate Pandemic Recovery in Special Education: Grantee Spotlight Blog Series Featuring Dr. Jeong Hoon Choi

Today, we want to present to you Dr. Jeong Hoon Choi, assistant research professor at the University of Kansas. Dr. Choi’s work focuses on testing whether Resources Aligned and Integrated for Student Equity (RAISE)—a systematic, data-informed decision-making process—improves the academic and behavioral outcomes of elementary school students with or at risk for disabilities. We hope you enjoy learning more about Dr. Choi’s work as much as we did! 

*Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER): How would you describe your research project in a sentence? 

Dr. Jeong Hoon Choi: The project is designed to examine the efficacy of a decision-making procedure (called RAISE) that integrates and aligns general and special education resources at all levels of an equity-based, multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) with inclusive instructional strategies and family and community engagement to enhance instruction for students with or at risk for disabilities in general education settings. 

NCSER: What was the need that inspired you to conduct this research? 

Dr. Jeong Hoon Choi: Equity-based MTSS can be a powerful way to provide equitable and inclusive education; however, the most intensive level (tier) of support of the equity-based MTSS is still often considered the same as special education, and thus not all students who need the support have access to available resources offered within the prevention and instruction system. It is also expected that all students with or at risk for disabilities—regardless of their cultural, gender, and socioeconomic backgrounds—can more effectively learn when educators are making decisions that include all available resources and instructional strategies, regardless of tier level. My colleagues and I agreed that proper responses to this issue can accelerate the recovery from the pandemic and minimize the likelihood of overidentification of disability. 

NCSER: What outcomes do you expect to change with this research? 

Dr. Jeong Hoon Choi: The RAISE model provides tools and guidance for grade-level and school-wide teams to review data and make instructional decisions for students with or at risk for disabilities. The research investigates the impact of the implementation on student academic scores, measured by benchmark assessments, and behavior, measured by the major office discipline referrals (ODRs). In the meantime, changes in the adult problem-solving behavior at the grade-level/school-wide team meeting will be examined. 

NCSER: What inspired you to do research in special education? 

Dr. Jeong Hoon Choi: The education of students with or at risk for disabilities seems to be the most complicated issue. It is highly associated with other social and educational issues, such as racial equity, poverty, cultural diversity, social class, ableism, and so on. Our previous special education research studies regarding school reform, system change, and school leadership led us to apply to NCSER’s pandemic-recovery competition for support to conduct this study. 

NCSER: Why is this particular research project important to you? 

Dr. Jeong Hoon Choi: The impact of the pandemic is huge, especially for those who may have experienced or are experiencing learning regression as a result. Students with or at risk for disabilities may experience its impact more acutely and for a longer time. We have observed outcome improvements for this population with equity-based MTSS implementation in other projects. The current research’s rigorous design will contribute to understanding how to address such regression in academic and social skills.

NCSER: How do you think this grant will impact special education? 

Dr. Jeong Hoon Choi: The findings of the current project, if successful, will provide a practice model for special and general educators to work together within grade-level and school-wide teams to use data to align and integrate general and special education resources to better support students with or at risk for disabilities. The project will produce knowledge of the usable and feasible implementation of RAISE in authentic conditions on valued student outcomes. The products of this research will be a set of support resources to strengthen routine data practices to intensify support for students to engage with the general education curriculum. 

NCSER: How will this project address challenges related to the pandemic? 

Dr. Jeong Hoon Choi: The pandemic not only caused some students to experience regression in academic learning and social and behavioral skills, but also a high level of educator burnout. The project is designed to provide guidance to use data and plan academic, social, and behavior instruction. In addition, RAISE encourages school teams to routinely work as a team with special educators, utilize students’ strengths and needs when making decisions, and connect and share progress with various stakeholders. The teaming, collaborative decision-making, and resource mapping embedded in this data-use routine will provide educators with emotional support and solutions that work for their classrooms and students. 

“The concept of disability is socially and historically constructed. Education ought to be able to deal with diverse academic, behavior, and social-emotional learning needs without applying labels to students that may limit the expectations of the educators who instruct them.

NCSER: What are some of the biggest challenges in special education research today? 

Dr. Jeong Hoon Choi: Special education, as it is known, is a multi- and cross-disciplinary field that integrates education, health, mental health, policy, community and family services, and so on. No doubt the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has led to improved results for students with disabilities. The next level of research in special education should be large-scale and longitudinal studies to investigate the impact of special education or related practices, such as inclusive education, in the community with other multidisciplinary group members. The biggest barriers would include limited data access, disconnected data-based communication among general and special education, and inconsistent data collection across SEAs/LEAs and over time. 

NCSER: What’s one thing you wish more people knew about children and youth with or at risk for disabilities? 

Dr. Jeong Hoon Choi: The concept of disability is socially and historically constructed. Education ought to be able to deal with diverse academic, behavior, and social-emotional learning needs without applying labels to students that may limit the expectations of the educators who instruct them. 

NCSER: What are some of the most exciting news/innovations/stories that give you hope for the future of special education research? 

Dr. Jeong Hoon Choi: The most exciting part since I started working on special education research is that more research funding has been available to study system change, school climate, and multidisciplinary collaboration (especially between general and special education). I personally hope to see joint funding opportunities between general and special education research agencies in the future. 

NCSER: What are some of the future goals for you and your team? 

Dr. Jeong Hoon Choi: We at SWIFT Education Center received three federal awards from the Department of Education this year. These awards support the following projects: 1) National Center on Inclusion toward Rightful Presence (from the Office of Special Education Programs), 2) Supporting Effective School Leaders through Professional Learning and Resources for Equity Leadership and Educator Well-Being (from the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education), and 3) Resources Aligned and Integrated for Student Equity (RAISE): A Protocol for Grade-Level Teams to Intensify Instruction for Students with or at Risk for Disabilities (from IES). Although these projects have methodological differences, all three include research components. Findings from those research activities will allow us to build knowledge regarding how equity-based MTSS works for various populations, including students with or at risk for disabilities and economically, culturally, and socially disadvantaged students. We will continue to work on equity and excellence in education. 

Thank you for reading our conversation with Dr. Jeong Hoon Choi! Come back tomorrow for our next grantee spotlight!  

Research To Accelerate Pandemic Recovery in Special Education: Grantee Spotlight Blog Series Featuring Dr. Brook Sawyer

Today, we would like to highlight the work of Dr. Brook Sawyer, associate professor at Lehigh University. Dr. Sawyer plans to adapt and test whether Parents Plus (P+), an online parent-implemented intervention, accelerates the language development of preschoolers with developmental language disorders. We hope you enjoy this interview! 

*Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER): How would you describe your research project in a sentence?  

Headshot of Brook Sawyer

Dr. Brook Sawyer: Our goal is to empower parents with knowledge and skills to improve the language skills of their preschool children with developmental language disorders. 

NCSER: What was the need that inspired you to conduct this research? 

Dr. Brook Sawyer: Language skills are imperative for healthy development, given that they are central to social relationships and academic learning. When children with developmental language disorders receive early-intervention services, such as speech-language services, their language skills improve. For preschool children, these early-intervention services are typically delivered in the preschool setting. Because speech-language pathologists have such large caseloads, they often are not able to effectively teach parents to facilitate their children’s language development. As such, we lose valuable opportunities to promote children’s language skills. By providing training to parents, we can provide children with many more high-quality opportunities to develop their language skills. 

NCSER: What outcomes do you expect to change with this research? 

Dr. Brook Sawyer: We expect that parents will gain skills to facilitate their children’s language development. In turn, we expect that children’s language skills will improve. 

NCSER: What inspired you to do research in special education? 

Dr. Brook Sawyer: Children with disabilities require additional support to develop skills. Additionally, parents and teachers need the tools to engage with children in positive and supportive ways. As both a parent and teacher myself, I understand how challenging it can be to provide optimal learning environments for children. I want to do all that I can to support parents and teachers and the children that they care for.   

NCSER: Why is this particular research project important to you?  

Dr. Brook Sawyer: Given the critical importance of language skills for social relationships and academic learning, we must provide children with developmental language disorders as many high-quality language-learning opportunities as possible to develop their language skills. Obviously, parents have an immensely important role in promoting their children’s development. Yet without education and support, parents can feel unempowered. We developed Parents Plus as a fully online program to provide a convenient way for parents to learn how to facilitate their children’s language skills.  

NCSER: How do you think this grant will impact special education?  

Dr. Brook Sawyer: Once children enter preschool, their special education services are typically delivered in schools, and it can be challenging to meaningfully involve parents. Given how important parents are in supporting their children’s development, we need to develop feasible and effective ways to empower parents with knowledge and skills. In this way, we can enhance the learning environments that children are receiving at home. 

NCSER: How will this project address challenges related to the pandemic?  

Dr. Brook Sawyer: Because children’s special education services were disrupted during the pandemic, critical learning opportunities were lost. By training and supporting parents, along with children receiving their typical speech-language services in preschool, children will experience increased opportunities to develop their language skills. As such, we expect that children’s language skills will improve more than if they only received language services in preschool. 

NCSER: What are some of the biggest challenges in special education research today? 

Dr. Brook Sawyer: Overall, I think parents, teachers, and related personnel—like speech-language pathologists—are very overwhelmed. They have many demands on their time and understandably may not feel they have the bandwidth to engage in research to develop and test new programs. We have experienced challenges in finding the best ways to let parents know about our project. 

NCSER: What’s one thing you wish more people knew about children and youth with or at risk for disabilities?  

Dr. Brook Sawyer: I’ll frame this particularly around the population of children that we focus on—preschool children with developmental language disorders (DLD). Individuals, including parents and teachers, may not recognize that preschool children with DLD are constantly communicating, and want to communicate, because children are communicating differently. For instance, children may be primarily communicating through behavior, even challenging behavior, because they do not yet have the verbal skills to express their wants/needs. When adults do not understand children’s behaviors as communicative acts, parents and teachers may not respond to children appropriately. As such, bids for connections and learning opportunities are lost. It is our goal in Parents Plus to teach parents to recognize and capitalize on opportunities to build language skills. In our initial pilot test, parents were anecdotally reporting to the coach that they were finding much more enjoyment being with their child once they had the knowledge to understand their children’s communicative acts—and the skills to respond. 

Further, some individuals believe that young children with DLD may “grow out of it.” However, if intervention is not provided in a timely manner, children’s language delays typically become magnified. As such, we need to intervene early and provide support for children in their natural settings, including preschool and home contexts.  

NCSER: What are some of the most exciting news/innovations/stories that give you hope for the future of special education research?  

Dr. Brook Sawyer: Technology is making it easier for parents and educators to individualize support based on a particular child’s needs. For example, we use remote coaching, where parents send short videos to their coach and receive individualized suggestions on how they can provide optimal language-learning opportunities for their child. By doing this remotely, it is more convenient for the parent and coach and cuts down on logistical challenges, like travel and childcare.

NCSER: What are some of the future goals for you and your team? 

Dr. Brook Sawyer: We hope to develop a culturally and linguistically adapted version of Parents Plus for Latine parents who speak Spanish in the home. 

Thank you for reading our conversation with Dr. Brook Sawyer! Come back tomorrow for our next grantee spotlight!  

Research To Accelerate Pandemic Recovery in Special Education: Grantee Spotlight Blog Series Featuring Dr. Beth Stormshak

We hope you enjoyed yesterday’s NCSER grantee spotlight! Today, we present to you Dr. Beth Stormshak, Knight Chair and professor at the University of Oregon. Dr. Stormshak’s project is to conduct an efficacy trial of the Family Check-Up Online to address emotional and behavioral challenges among middle school students with or at risk for disability during their transition back to school after the pandemic-related school closures. 

*Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

NCSER: How would you describe your research project in a sentence?  

Headshot of Dr. Beth Stormshak

Dr. Beth Stormshak: This research examines the Family Check-Up Online in a hybrid efficacy-effectiveness trial that provides support for schools to implement the model under ideal conditions, and then tests the ability of schools to implement and sustain the intervention under real-world conditions, with the goal of reducing mental health and behavior problems in students who have been identified as “high needs.” 

NCSER: What was the need that inspired you to conduct this research? 

Dr. Beth Stormshak: The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the dire circumstances that most schools are facing as they tackle the mental health and behavioral concerns of students. Staffing shortages, escalating rates of mental health problems, and limited resources have led to a crisis that needs to be addressed nationwide. 

NCSER: What outcomes do you expect to change with this research? 

Dr. Beth Stormshak: With this research, we expect to impact student outcomes—including mental health, behavior, attendance, and achievement—which we refer to as the “ABCs” of student success (attendance, behavior, and classroom performance). We also expect to impact staffing outcomes, such as training in evidence-based approaches to intervention and willingness to engage with parents and caretakers to improve student success. 

NCSER: What inspired you to do research in special education?   

Dr. Beth Stormshak: I am interested in evidence-based interventions that support students who are struggling both academically and behaviorally. My work began over 30 years ago with a focus on improving student behavior problems in schools and has now expanded to include mental health and wellness, which impact most students and families receiving special education services. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the dire circumstances that most schools are facing as they tackle the mental health and behavioral concerns of students. Staffing shortages, escalating rates of mental health problems, and limited resources have led to a crisis that needs to be addressed nationwide.

NCSER: Why is this particular research project important to you?  

Dr. Beth Stormshak: There is clear evidence that supporting parents in building positive relationships with their child improves child behavior, mental health, and academic outcomes. Yet schools have few resources to administer family-centered interventions. My research bridges the gap between schools and families by testing a new tool for supporting families at home, with clear implications for school behavior. The ultimate goal of this research is to support parent skills and relationship building, which in turn will lead to reductions in student problem behavior and mental health concerns. 

NCSER: How do you think this grant will impact special education?  

Dr. Beth Stormshak: Special educators are unique in that they often interface with families more than other school personnel. They also have training in behavioral supports for students, making them ideal candidates to learn this model and apply it to school settings. I hope that our work will provide a sustainable tool for educators that can be used to improve student outcomes. 

NCSER: How will this project address challenges related to the pandemic?  

Dr. Beth Stormshak: Parents are more frustrated than ever with services provided to support student mental health. Schools are overwhelmed with students who need support, and communities do not have any additional resources to support families and students. This online program provides a cost-effective approach to service distribution that will have greater reach and impact than most programs currently available in schools and communities. 

NCSER: What are some of the biggest challenges in special education research today? 

Dr. Beth Stormshak: There are many challenges to special education research, including sustaining partnerships with schools when there is high turnover in staffing and limited resources at the school level to engage with the research community. Due to the crisis levels of staffing in most schools, it is challenging for schools to add “one more thing” to their plate. It is also a challenge for schools to identify staff for training and support in new programs. 

NCSER: What’s one thing you wish more people knew about children and youth with or at risk for disabilities?  

Dr. Beth Stormshak: Disabilities come in a variety of forms, and may include behavioral concerns, mental health concerns, and academic concerns. All parents want the best for their children, and many families struggle with approaches to behavioral management that are effective and helpful to their child. Many parents also feel blamed by schools or communities for their child’s disabilities. The Family Check-Up is strength-based and supportive, focusing on what parents are doing well and supporting parents to engage positively with their child. Our research on this model over 25 years suggests that parents who engage in the program will experience improvements in child behavior, mental health, and self-regulation, as well as their own parenting skills, stress, and depression. All of these outcomes lead to improvements in student achievement. 

NCSER: What are some of the most exciting news/innovations/stories that give you hope for the future of special education research?  

Dr. Beth Stormshak: There are many ways to intervene and support students. The COVID-19 pandemic has helped us focus on the mental health needs of students, and ultimately may change the way we think about schools, their role, and their engagement with families. The pandemic has also normalized telehealth and online support for students and parents. This has enabled the development of evidence-based programs, such as the Family Check-Up, to online platforms, which can be delivered asynchronously and therefore can reach large numbers of students that were, before, inaccessible. Ultimately this will lead to reductions in health disparities for many populations who have had limited access to mental health services. 

NCSER: What are some of the future goals for you and your team? 

Dr. Beth Stormshak: Our goals are to test the Family Check-Up Online in real-world settings and to adapt the model to fit the needs of schools across the country. Our work is community-based and we have engaged school providers in the process of development, carefully testing the feasibility and acceptability of this approach with school collaborators. We hope that this research provides insights into the process for implementing the model in schools, which can be applied to other schools across the United States who are interested in learning this model and providing this resource to parents and students. 

Thank you for reading our conversation with Dr. Beth Stormshak! Come back tomorrow for our next grantee spotlight!  

Research To Accelerate Pandemic Recovery in Special Education: Grantee Spotlight Blog Series Featuring Dr. Erica Lembke

Welcome to the first installment of the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) grantee spotlight series! For the next two weeks, we’ll publish exclusive conversations with NCSER’s Research to Accelerate Pandemic Recovery in Special Education program grantees. NCSER is pleased to highlight researchers who are addressing the urgent challenges schools face to support students with or at risk for disabilities, their teachers, and their families in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Today, we want to present to you Dr. Erica Lembke, professor of special education at the University of Missouri. Dr. Lembke’s project, STAIR: Supporting Teaching of Algebra with Individual Readiness, aims to evaluate different levels of intensity of a professional development and coaching model for middle school special education teachers to accelerate pandemic recovery in mathematics for their students with disabilities.  

*Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

NCSER: How would you describe your research project in a sentence?   

Headshot of Erica Lembke

Dr. Erica Lembke: Supporting Teaching of Algebra with Individual Readiness 2.0 (STAIR) provides just-in-time pandemic recovery intervention in special education by supporting teachers to address the needs of students with math difficulties through professional development and coaching that focuses on teaching teachers how to use data to inform their instruction.   

NCSER: What was the need that inspired you to conduct this research? 

Dr. Erica Lembke: My colleagues and I are in the final year of a model demonstration grant funded by the Office of Special Education Programs called Project STAIR: Supporting Teaching of Algebra with Individual Readiness. We have worked over the past 4 years to develop materials and strategies that could be implemented with students and teachers. The outcomes of Project STAIR found increases in both teacher- and student-level scores based on participation in a full school year of STAIR (Powell, Lembke, Ketterlin-Geller, et al., 2021). Therefore we knew, from this research, efforts to support our teachers and students needed to continue. With our new pandemic recovery project, we are continuing research on STAIR. We will provide just-in-time support to teachers to help teachers address the needs of their students with mathematics difficulties postpandemic.  

NCSER: What outcomes do you expect to change with this research? 

Dr. Erica Lembke: The expected outcomes for teachers are positive effects on their students’ mathematical outcomes, given that teacher data-based decision-making and individualization has had positive effects on student academic outcomes. Teacher outcomes are likely to improve, given past studies on the use of coaching with teachers in a DBI model, and we anticipate that both student and teacher outcomes will sustain because of the provision of just-in-time support, the tailoring of coaching to teacher needs, and the specific treatment components of the study.  

NCSER: What inspired you to do research in special education?   

Dr. Erica Lembke: Students experiencing mathematics challenges prior to the pandemic are facing even greater difficulties as in-person learning has resumed, and many students who did not experience math difficulties prepandemic demonstrate challenges now (Texas Education Agency, 2021). In addition, students with disabilities, dual-language learners, and students from urban or Title I schools experienced below-typical rates of growth in math during the pandemic, and the growth rates of these students did not return to prepandemic levels.  

Our team has decades of experience in special education as teachers, administrators, and researchers. Our work is in schools and with teachers and students, so we were very close to teachers during the pandemic and understood, at least to some extent, the challenges they were experiencing. So it was critically important for us to think of ways to support teachers during and following the pandemic. This line of funding opened at precisely the time we were hoping to support teachers and allowed us to focus on a critical area of need—mathematics.  

NCSER: Why is this particular research project important to you?  

Dr. Erica Lembke: There are two reasons why STAIR 2.0 is particularly important to our team: the demographics of students and teachers we are working with and our just-in-time support. Our special education teachers are being selected because they work with middle school students with IEP goals in math and because they serve some of the most vulnerable students in any building. We focus on grades 6, 7, and 8 because of the importance of preparing all students for success with algebra (Eddy et al., 2015; Morgatto, 2008), especially students with disabilities. By working with middle school students, STAIR teachers can provide math intervention for these students before they transition to high school and the math content increases in complexity. Our just-in-time support starts at the beginning of our study, as all teachers and all students with disabilities have access to STAIR—we did not want to wait for the outcomes of a traditional randomized, controlled trial to implement already-proven evidence-based interventions with their teachers and students. 

"There is a critical need to address learning gaps and accelerate math gains for students with disabilities. Our project supports special education teachers to make informed, data-based, and individualized instructional decisions to increase student mathematical outcomes."

NCSER: How do you think this grant will impact special education?  

Dr. Erica Lembke: As mentioned in our “Intended Outcomes,” we hope this project will impact teacher instruction, therefore positively impacting student academic outcomes. In addition, we are aiming to learn more about how differing intensities of coaching impact support for special education teachers. We hope we can widely disseminate this work to districts and coaching teams to implement in their schools.  

NCSER: How will this project address challenges related to the pandemic?  

Dr. Erica Lembke: Many students in the United States have struggled with math well before pandemic-related school closures began in March of 2020. However, as schools transitioned to virtual learning in the spring of 2020, with a hybrid of virtual and in-person learning throughout the 2020–21 school year, early data suggested students across grades 3–8 experienced major score decreases, especially in the area of mathematics (Kuhfeld & Tarasawa, 2020). There is a critical need to address learning gaps and accelerate math gains for students with disabilities. Our project supports special education teachers to make informed, data-based, and individualized instructional decisions to increase student mathematical outcomes.  

NCSER: What are some of the biggest challenges in special education research today? 

Dr. Erica Lembke: A recent challenge that has evolved over the past few years has been recruitment of participants. Prior to the pandemic research, studies would sometimes have to turn away interested participants due to so many interested parties. Postpandemic, teachers are feeling more overwhelmed and busier than ever. Teachers know the research is important and often want to gain the new knowledge and strategies we provide, but simply feel they cannot add one more item to their plate. Therefore, we have worked to meet with teachers and administrators, hear what they need, and make adjustments to our implementation as best we can to meet their needs while maintaining the project’s goals.  

NCSER: What’s one thing you wish more people knew about children and youth with or at risk for disabilities? 

Dr. Erica Lembke: All students can learn, but students just need the correct, evidence-based methods to elicit positive outcomes. This means that we have to make sure teachers are well prepared to provide the best instruction possible. The pandemic impacted all students with the change in environment and disruptions to instruction. These disruptions have now widened the achievement gap, placing students with disabilities at even greater risk of mathematics failure. Considering the importance of mathematics competency for success in later grades and adulthood, there is a critical need to address learning gaps and accelerate mathematics gains for students with disabilities. 

NCSER: What are some of the most exciting news/innovations/stories that give you hope for the future of special education research?  

Dr. Erica Lembke: Networks of researchers partnering with teachers, schools, and districts to create better systems of support for students at risk or with disabilities is critically important, and recent federal funding clearly supports this work. In addition, the pandemic created an opportunity for those who support schools to develop virtual and hybrid supports; that allows us to provide learning and professional development in ways that we never would have thought were possible. For example, our team has recorded over 100 short videos in a lightboard studio (thanks to the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk at the University of Texas, Austin) that provide evidence-based mathematics strategies for teachers. These are free to access and can be found here.

NCSER: What are some of the future goals for you and your team? 

Dr. Erica Lembke: Our team is excited about these beginning few months of our project. The teachers we have recruited are motivated to start implementing our strategies with their students. Our future goals include learning more about how our coaching types make an impact with our teachers and therefore their students. We plan to solicit feedback from our educational partners, provide ongoing feedback to our teachers, and disseminate these strategies and systems of coaching to special education teachers and coaches so they can be implemented across the country. Our team has a strong history of dissemination, so we are excited about next steps! 

Thank you for reading our conversation with Dr. Erica Lembke! Come back tomorrow for our next grantee spotlight!  

Save the Date: Leveraging Evidence to Accelerate Recovery Nationwide (LEARN) Network Launch Event

Join us on January 19, 2023, from 3pm EST-4:30pm EST, as members of the IES-funded LEARN (Leveraging Evidence to Accelerate Recovery Nationwide) Network convene publicly for the first time to share their network's goals and vision. Learn more from the network teams during this virtual event

and hear from IES Director Mark Schneider about his hopes for the LEARN Network in the coming years as IES looks to the future with a focus on progress, purpose, and performance.

The LEARN Network was established to focus on adapting and preparing to scale existing, evidence-based products to address learning acceleration and recovery for students in K-12, particularly for students from underrepresented groups disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to generating solutions to the nation’s most pressing challenges to COVID-19 recovery within the education sector, IES expects that the combined efforts of this network will lead to the establishment of best practices for how to prepare to effectively scale evidence-based products.

The LEARN Network includes a scaling lead and four product teams. The scaling lead, led by a team at SRI International, is facilitating training, coaching, and collaboration activities with product teams; ensuring educator needs and perspectives are addressed; and providing a model for the field that ensures evidence-based products are developed with the potential to achieve impact at scale for students—particularly those in most need—from the start. Product teams are focused on preparing to scale literacy products for students in K-3 (Targeted Reading Instruction; Grantee: University of Florida), 4th-5th grade (Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies; Grantee: AIR), and middle school (Strategic Adolescent Reading Intervention; Grantee: SERP) as well as a math product for students in 5th grade (Classwide Fraction Intervention combined with Math Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies; Grantee: AIR).

Registration is now open, and we hope to see you there! For more information on the event and to register, visit https://learntoscale.org/