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SUCCESS STORIES

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Initially developed by Learning Ovations, A2i combines a data-focused technology platform with professional learning for teachers that allows them to individualize literacy instruction. A2i has been shown to significantly improve student reading outcomes, as proven by seven randomized control trials. Federal R&D funding allowed Learning Ovations to run its initial efficacy trials, which were later used to secure additional funding to scale up the effort into a commercially viable product.

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ASSISTments Teacher is a free K-12 formative assessment and practice platform proven to nearly double student math learning in a single year. Developed by Neil and Cristina Heffernan, ASSISTments Teacher has a library with more than 200,000 standards-aligned math problems, allowing teachers to create customized problem sets easily and at no cost. By leveraging federal R&D investments, the Heffernans created a learning platform that replicated the traits of a successful teacher. Today, ASSISTments is used by more than 20,000 students.

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For most students, the transition from middle school to high school is daunting. Amidst the inherent difficulties of early adolescence, transitioning to a new school with older students and higher-level courses is challenging on all fronts. What can schools do to support students during this time? With the help of strategic federal investments, the Building Assets-Reducing Risks (BARR) program answered this question with evidence-backed results.

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BirdBrain develops programmable robots that provide students with a simple and interactive way to learn computer programming, computational thinking, engineering, and math and science skills. First conceived by Tom Lauwers as a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University, BirdBrain benefitted from federal grants and Small Business Technology Transfer awards that allowed Lauwers to take his graduate research in learning science and turn it into a viable ed tech company that has sold or made available robots that have been used by an estimated 1 million students.

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Most high school students might never imagine they’ll learn how to code from Alicia Keys or Ciara – or be introduced to the world of STEM by Jay-Z, Common, or Pharrell. A federally-supported coding program called EarSketch is changing that. With critical funds from the National Science Foundation (NSF), EarSketch is teaching kids to create songs using coding that splices music clips from today’s top artists.

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As state and local leaders look for evidence-based ways to address high-priority issues like chronic absenteeism and stagnant math and literacy scores, it’s critical to learn from past success stories, such as Mississippi. Thanks to a strong champion promoting evidence-based practices in schools, and a crucial partnership with the Institute of Education Sciences’ Regional Education Laboratory (REL) Southeast, Mississippi moved from 49th to 21st in the nation for reading proficiency. 

>> READ MORE ABOUT THIS MISSISSIPPI MIRACLE R&D SUCCESS STORY

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For years, there has been a shortage of school-based Speech and Language Pathologists. These professionals provide critical services for students with language disorders, as well as for students with autism, dyslexia, and other disabilities. With school districts struggling to staff their speech and language pathologist positions, many of the 7.3 million students with disabilities in America are at risk of falling behind in their academic and social-emotional development. 

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One way to bolster STEM learning in the U.S. is through investing in STEM education research and development (R&D). Some federally funded STEM education R&D programs have been found to have a positive impact on student outcomes, but more work needs to be done to shine a light on what’s working, for whom, and in what conditions. Projects that have leveraged federal funding to increase students’ STEM engagement and learning outcomes include Prisms of Reality, Inc., Exploring Computer Science, and the ByExample pedagogical approach. 

>> READ MORE ABOUT THIS STEM Ed R&D SUCCESS STORY

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