Assessment for Good (AFG) is excited to continue its journey to transform formative assessment by producing effective, asset-based solutions that enable educators, caregivers, or learners themselves to have more effective tools in their learning environments. This third RFP is our largest yet, with the call for innovative assessment instruments and assessment platforms, and for the first time, they are looking to support deep partnerships between districts and R&D teams for multi-year place-based assessment R&D opportunities.
LEARN Fall 2022 Topics
For this request, our topics (areas under which you can be awarded funding) are divided into three categories: Assessment Instruments, Assessment Platforms, and Place-based Assessment R&D. Each category has a specific funding level and set of submission dates. Proposers can suggest projects that cover any stage of research (i.e., exploratory, mid-stage, or products approaching wide-scale adoption) for any of these topics.
Under this category, we are looking for research projects that will result in a reliable and valid assessment instrument that aligns with one of the following:
- Academic Identity: Assessment instrument prototypes that assist educators, caregivers, or learners in understanding how learners from diverse backgrounds, aged 8 – 13, engage in and form identities as learners. This can include a general identity as a learner, or a more specific disciplinary identity, such as a “reader” or “math learner.” Successful prototypes would allow a learner or educator to maximize the opportunity for discovery and learning in a developmentally meaningful way. Tools that focus on the interplay between social development, emotional development, disability identity development, and/or development of a disciplinary identity from an asset-based perspective are especially desired.
- Culturally Valid Core Levers: Assessment instrument prototypes reflecting a culturally valid approach of measuring our priority population’s development in one or more of AFG’s core levers: emotional development, engagement and belonging, executive function, or social development. For smaller projects, this may include building item pools through a systematic research process. For larger projects, this may include conducting a comprehensive validity study. Teams that apply under this topic will work closely with AFG as these components will be built across multiple R&D teams to be used in concert with each other.
- Ecological Assessment: Assessment instrument prototypes that measure how to optimize the environment for high-quality, effective learning for our priority populations. This includes a variety of ecological factors, such as instruments that are sensitive to the measurement of a single learner’s experiences across multiple learning environments; instruments that measure the ecosystemic variables within a classroom, such as crucial environmental variables within a learning space that are important for high-quality learning; or, instruments that are constructed to reliably and validly determine a group of learner’s experiences in a single learning context that produces timely and usable information for an educator. This also includes dynamic assessment prototypes, which can provide usable information in a momentary fashion to support evidence-informed changes in instruction, intervention, or features within a learning environment.
- Whole Child: Assessment instrument prototypes that reflect a new approach to what “whole child” development may mean for this generation of Black and Latinx learners. Focusing on the youngest learners in our program’s target age (ages 8 – 10), instrument prototypes that reflect responsive approaches to child development for Black and Latinx populations, that utilize unique measurement approaches for variables across multiple domains (i.e., play, interpersonal connections, learning, etc.) or multiple identities (e.g., gender and ability, or race and gender), are especially desired.
Project budgets for the Assessment Instruments category should not exceed $100,000 – $300,000 for a 12-month project. The submission portal, Submittable, will open on August 15, 2022. The concept notes for Assessment Instruments are due September 1, 2022.
This category of funding is for teams with technological solutions that allow for easier administration of assessment instruments, easier connection across assessment instrument types, and/or easier decision-making after assessment information has been collected (i.e., visualization) by a learner, caregiver, or educator. This category is not limited to a specific platform (i.e., web-enabled, device-based, or LMS-embedded applications). In addition, platforms from other industries that may have promise in education are also welcome. This includes innovative assessment platforms or psychometric software that would be built alongside the development of an assessment instrument. NOTE: Teams that apply under this topic and do not have an assessment instrument that would qualify under LEARN may be paired with a current team to match an assessment instrument with a platform or system. Additional support for IP and licensing provisions will be made prior to the awarding of a contract to ensure protections are in place for all entities.
- Standalone Assessment Platforms: A software program or assessment platform that does not require any additional software to run other than a device’s operating system.
- Embedded Assessment Platforms: A software program or assessment platform that requires access to other software or devices to run, including plug-ins/APIs, or similar elements.
Project budgets for the Assessment Platforms category should not exceed $100,000 – $400,000 for a 12-month project. The submission portal, Submittable, will open on August 15, 2022. The concept notes for Assessment Platforms are due September 1, 2022.
Place-Based Assessment R&D
This category is for research projects that will explore the needs of district partners and the enabling conditions necessary for effective, community engaged, and mutually beneficial research and development partnerships with inclusive R&D teams. This includes exploratory studies for districts new to inclusive R&D partnerships and districts who wish to explore deep, long-term district-wide partnerships focused on trialing formative assessment prototypes. NOTE: For this category of research, teams will have additional time to submit their concept notes to allow for sufficient planning.
- Discovery: Research projects that will explore the current formative assessment methods utilized across a district and how it informs decision-making at multiple levels (i.e., classroom, team, building, district-wide). The goals of projects under this category are to understand the ways in which districts currently use formative assessment related to AFG’s core levers and how they would like to implement formative assessment differently in the future. Projects under this topic will involve deep collaboration between the school district and R&D team, allowing for a series of observations, focus groups, and data reviews to occur to determine the use cases within a district.
- Implementation: Research projects that will evaluate the effectiveness and impact of formative assessment prototypes in comparison to the current tools a school district may use. These research projects may begin with an initial phase similar to discovery projects, but will quickly shift to running a pilot study investigating the effects of new prototypes. Potential teams applying under this topic can include current AFG awardees and new R&D teams with formative assessment prototypes that would qualify under our LEARN program.
Project budgets should not exceed $100,000 – $300,000 per year for discovery projects and $200,000 – $500,000 per year for implementation projects. Each project will be scoped for two years, but will be funded a year at a time. Decisions to fund for the additional year will be based upon project success at each review period. The submission portal, Submittable, will open on November 1, 2022 for Place-Based Assessment R&D. The concept notes for this category are due December 1, 2022. Potential teams are strongly encouraged to attend Office Hours or contact the program for guidance to determine fit under this category.
Funding amount: Between $100,000-500,000