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National Center for Education Research

The National Center for Education Research (NCER) supports rigorous research that addresses the nation’s most pressing education needs, from early childhood to adult education.

IES SBIR Fiscal Year 2015 Program Solicitations are Now Open  (Dec 10) 
The Institute's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program provides funding to firms and partners for the research and development and evaluation of commercially viable education technology products. 
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New Training Program on Cost-Effectiveness and Benefit-Cost Analysis Methods  (Nov 5) 
The Center for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education (CBCSE) at Teachers College, Columbia University is offering a free training program for researchers and evaluators on applying cost-effectiveness and benefit-cost analysis to educational policies and programs. 
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NCER Releases Paper on Partially Nested Randomized Controlled Trial (PN- RCT) Research Design  (Aug 5) 
To help researchers understand and use partially nested randomized controlled trial (PN- RCT) research designs, NCER commissioned a paper, "Partially Nested Randomized Controlled Trials in Education Research: A Guide to Design and Analysis", through a contract with Westat, Inc. 
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IES Announces New FY 2014 Grants under the Education Research Grants program   (Jul 1) 
IES recently made new research grant awards for applications considered under the September 2013 deadline. 
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IES Announces New FY 2014 Evaluation of State and Local Education Programs and Policies Program   (Jul 1) 
IES recently made new research grant awards for applications considered under the September 2013 deadline. 
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Highlights from NCER (Archive)

Two IES-funded Projects Win Industry Awards for Innovation

The Attainment Company and Zaption, awardees of the Small Business Innovation Research program at the Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (ED/IES SBIR), won a Digital Innovation in Learning Award (DILA), and Teachley, earned Honorable Mention.

The first annual DILAs are a joint effort by EdSurge and Digital Promise to celebrate new education technology interventions. They give awards in various categories, including a Research@Work Award and a Mindful Data Award.

The Attainment Company's Early Reading Skills Builder (ERSB) won the "Research@Work Award," for thoughtfully using academic research to shape development of a product.  An iPad app, ERSB supports children ages 6 to 17 with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities or with autism spectrum disorder in learning to read up to a grade 2 level. The app includes a curriculum with 26 multimedia lessons that model explicit phonics instruction, decoding, reading connected text, and comprehension.  It was developed with the support of a 2011 IES SBIR Fast-Track award under its former name, Go Talk Phonics.  ERSB includes a professional development teacher's guide with an assessment rubric. For a short video demonstration of ERSB, click here.

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Screen shots from the ERSB

Zaption won the "Mindful Data Award," for managing, translating and delivering data to users in a manner that is understandable and actionable. Zaption is currently further developing their product through an IES SBIR Phase I award.  Zaption supports teachers in using video clips to enrich learning. The product's user-interface will allow teachers to easily add annotations to videos, make short video clips that align to topics, and enhance videos with time-linked elements and assessments that appear at the top of each video. For a short video demonstration of Zaption, click here.

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Screen shot of Zaption

Teachley received an Honorable Mention for the Research@Work Award. With a 2013 IES SBIR Phase II award, Teachley is developing and evaluating two games for math learning apps for the iPad for 1st through 4th graders, Addimal Adventure and Mt. Multiplis. In the games, students will learn content through mini-lessons, engage with problems in practice and speed rounds, and then receive formative feedback on their performance.  Teachley won an Apple Design Award in June of 2014. For a short video demonstration of Teachley's math games, click here.

About the ED/IES SBIR Program
The ED/IES SBIR Program provides up to $1,050,000 in funding to small business firms and partners for the research and development, and evaluation of commercially viable education technology products. For information on the 2015 program solicitations and for video demos of more than 25 other education technology products supported by the IES SBIR program, click here.

CASL portfolios highlighted in recent Education Week article

New York Times' science writer Benedict Carey, in a recent commentary in Ed Week by entitled Brain Science in the Classroom, highlighted three findings from the IES Cognition and Student Learning (CASL) portfolio.  In particular, Carey describes Phillip Kellman's perceptual learning work as an example of how IES is funding "rigorous trials to test specific learning techniques." In this ongoing study, Kellman and colleagues are testing the efficacy of an intervention that uses principles of perception and adaptive learning to support math learning. For more information on Kellman's work, see resources and information on the UCLA Human Perception Laboratory web page.

Carey cites the work of Douglas Rohrer and his colleagues from the University of Florida as another example. Rohrer and colleagues have found that mixing up different types of math problems included in daily homework assignments instead of only the one type of problem instructed that day leads to improved math performance on later tests.

Finally, Carey discusses the spacing effect, a phenomenon studied by a number of researchers in the field, but extensively studied by IES-funded researcher Hal Pashler and his colleagues. Pashler and his colleagues find that when students space their studying over time they remember more of what they originally learned as compared to massing study time together (e.g., cramming in one night).  For more information on spacing and studying, check out the IES Practice Guide: Organizing Instruction and Study to Improve Student Learning.

SBIR Program in the Spotlight
IES's very own Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program in the spotlight in Education Week: