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Catalyzing innovative research on equitable digital learning at scale

Our network of platform developers, researchers, and education stakeholders are working together to create and expand the capacity of digital learning platforms (DLPs) to enable equity-focused and rigorous education research. 

SEERNet is funded by the Institute of Education Science, with a deliberate intention to fund both DLPs and researchers, as well as a growing network connecting DLPs, researchers, and practitioners. It is called “SEERNet” in reference to IES’s SEER principles, a set of aspirations for educational research.


NCES Launches second automated scoring challenge

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), which administers the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as The Nation’s Report Card, has launched its second automated scoring challenge. This data challenge invites researchers and assessment practitioners to develop algorithms that predict the human-assigned scores on open-ended items for NAEP mathematics assessment for students in fourth and eighth grades.


Guides & Reports

Practitioners at the Center: Catalyzing Research on Problems of Practice in Realistic Settings

Within SEERNet, we believe that practitioners need to play a central role in the research process, echoing the National Academies call that “research needs to begin in the field.” Since publishing Practitioners at the Center: Catalyzing Research on Problems of Practice in Realistic Settings, we’ve continued to think about how we will engage with practitioners, with an explicit focus on equity. We recognize that partnerships between practitioners and researchers often arise from particular kinds of districts, and there are some districts that are approached by researchers more often than others. As we’ve considered how to ensure that partnerships are not perpetuating some of the equity issues we see in the research field and instead are broadening participation within the education community, we’ve looked to Chicago Beyond’s guidebook, Why am I Always Being Researched? The guidebook’s premise resonates deeply with us and is aligned to the SEER standards: if evidence matters, we must care how it gets made. They outline seven inequities held in place by power, and seven opportunities for change. There is detailed advice for before, during, and after the study, customized for community organizations, researchers, and funders.


Reflections on Researcher-Practitioner Co-design of SEERNet Research Questions

One of SEERNet’s aims is to enable alignment of research on digital learning platforms to practitioner needs. Office Hours: A Conversational Series was SEERNet’s first initiative to convene practitioners and researchers in identifying problems of practice relevant to digital learning platforms (DLPs) and co-designing research questions. Participants discussed their experiences, goals, challenges, and vision related to DLP use. The conversations were synthesized and feedback from the participants led to refined research questions. In addition, we asked the participants to reflect on the value of the Office Hours process.

What We’re Reading

The Impact of Online Lesson Plans on Student Learning in the United States

More than 90 percent of middle and high school teachers report using the internet to source instructional materials, but there is a dearth of rigorous evidence on the effects of providing teachers with access to online materials. Researchers evaluated the impact of providing teachers with access to high-quality online lessons and implementation support on student achievement in mathematics. Providing teachers with access to the lessons, reminders, and implementation support significantly increased student achievement. Researchers also found suggestive evidence that providing access to the lessons alone had a positive effect on math scores.