July 20, 2022
By WCER Communications
The Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) is thrilled to announce that its Obtaining Necessary Parity Through Academic Rigor (ONPAR) team is one of 30 projects worldwide to have won an award in the Learning Engineering Tools Competition 2021-22becoming eligible to share $4 million to develop improved educational technology tools that have the potential to impact millions of students.
Project director Laura Wright and Outreach Specialist Linda Malkin will receive $249,622 for their project, “Actionable Assessment: Scaffolding Students’ Experience with Assessment Results,” a digital reporting tool to make student assessment results interpretable and actionable, promoting positive assessment use and habits of learning.
The tool engages students in interpreting and using assessment results to stimulate learning, thereby improving the quality of the student assessment experience. It will also bring information back to teachers, enabling them to better respond to learning needs.
Wright has worked with English language learners for two decades in a variety of capacities, including classroom teaching, curriculum and assessment development, and research. She has worked on various federally funded projects including the FAST Capacity Project, a USED Enhanced Assessment Grant to develop a computer-based assessment of English proficiency, and ONPAR Math and ONPAR Science, innovative content assessments for English learners. Malkin, a former middle school science teacher, joined the ONPAR team in 2016. Prior to that, Malkin spent three years in a grant-funded effort to turn her K-8 general education school into a magnet school.
This year, more than 800 teams from 60 countries participated in the second annual tool competition. The proposals aimed to accelerate the literacy and math skills of K-12 students, transform assessments in terms of cost and quality, facilitate faster, better and cheaper scientific research on learning and improving adult learning to raise middle-class wages.
The educational tools developed by the winning teams have the potential to impact millions of learners by the end of 2022 and more than 40 million learners within three years, according to estimates calculated by each team.
First launched in July 2020 at the Futures Forum on Learning, the tool competition was created to accelerate the pandemic-related learning recovery and advance the field of learning engineering by showcasing innovative ways to address pressing education challenges and opportunities.
The winning teams in this year’s competition are made up of entrepreneurs, learning scientists and researchers from around the world, with total funding of nearly $4 million in approved grants to fund the tool, technology, platform or proposed research projects.
The winning proposals address a range of learning goals – from improving adult learning to raise middle-class wages, to accelerating literacy and math skills for kindergarten students. to Grade 12, to creating informative assessments to help teachers better meet the needs of their students, to creating tools that will accelerate the research process in the sciences of learning.
The contest was sponsored by Schmidt Futures, Citadel Founder and CEO Ken Griffin, the Walton Family Foundation, the Siegel Family Endowment, the Overdeck Family Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It was administered by Georgia State University and The Learning Agency. A full list of winners, their projects and awards can be found here.