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Catalyzing innovative research on equitable digital learning at scale

SEERNet’s Transformative Model of Research will begin with learning platforms that already have 100,000 or more students and will begin on day one with scale and generalizability at the forefront. We’re not waiting to figure out how to scale, we’re bringing research to the world-class platforms which students already use today. By continually pressing to address issues of equity, ethics, and efficacy at every stage of the research, we will enable rapid research that is responsive to student needs.


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

What’s on tap at IES for the next year?

Mark Schneider, Director of IES, thinks ahead to his priorities for the sixth and final year of his post: “Earlier this month, I celebrated my fifth anniversary as director of IES, leaving just one year on my term of office. I could look backward to highlight some of what I think are the biggest accomplishments of those years, but I am not much for retrospection. Rather, I am thinking about priorities for the remaining year. “There are many versions of the wisdom that one should not expect their priorities to survive an encounter with reality (my current favorite is Mike Tyson’s: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”) And given the speed of government, a year is not a lot of time. But here are the three items I plan to focus on.” (Read on for the full statement on the IES website)