New paper proposes ed-tech evaluation system

  1. Link the ed-tech market with suppliers. The system would work with entrepreneurs who want to test their products and would make sure that products meet basic design criteria.
  2. Build a test bed by partnering with a group of schools or districts to test the new technologies. Each school would designate time for students to use the digital tools, and students would log into the EDU STAR system and then work with the specific products.
  3. Evaluate products as students use the technology. Students will be given a baseline assessment at the beginning of their designated time and a closing assessment after completing the program.
  4. Distribute results in the form of accessible reports published online. Each technology will receive a rating, and consumers will be able to browse products by different learning standards.

The system will build on the Common Core State Standards and will use the agreed-upon assessment questions and standards, Jones said.

“EDU STAR will work best for technologies that aim to teach discrete and easily measurable skills, such as solving a particular type of equation or spelling a word,” according to the report. “These skills, while covering only a limited set of core learning objectives, will provide teachers new tools to help students learn these building blocks, personalize education, and better manage their classroom.”

The authors propose creating the system as a nonprofit and estimate that they would need an initial $5 million to launch the EDU STAR system, which could go live within 18 months.

Initial funding could come from the federal Investing In Innovation grant, the proposed Advanced Research Projects Agency-Education, and private grants from groups such as the Gates Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, and Broad Foundation—all of which have previously invested in educational innovation and advancements.

Eventually, the organization’s operating costs would come from user fees in which companies are charged per product on a sliding scale that charges smaller companies less than larger companies.

Laura Ascione

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