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2019 Spotlight

November 7th, 2019
Carnegie Foundation Spotlight 2019

The Carnegie Foundation has chosen the Literacy Design Collaborative to spotlight nationally for our exemplary continuous improvement work in the field of education. (Press Release) LDC is among two organizations nationally (NW Oregon BOCES and Queensland [Australia] Dept. of Education are the other Spotlight recipients) to be honored at the National Press Club November 21, 2019 in Washington D.C. The Carnegie Foundation launched the Spotlight on Quality in Continuous Improvement program in 2017 to elevate clear and compelling examples of how the rigorous application of improvement principles, methods, and tools can solve educational problems. Selected by Carnegie from a large and diverse group of applicants, LDC was honored for demonstrated quality in application of continuous improvement in addressing significant educational problems.

"We received many impressive applications demonstrating a wide range of improvement work underway across the country, in many contexts, and at varying stages of development," says Penny Carver, senior fellow and director of the Spotlight program. "It was gratifying and heartening to learn about the progress being made by so many educational enterprises, and we are delighted to celebrate the improvement work of the Literacy Design Collaborative."

LDC employs user-centered design, agile-development, rapid prototype testing, and data collection processes adapted from the software industry for both our online platform sprint cycle releases and the associated instructional content. Measurement calibration and inter-rater reliable assessment of both teacher and student skill was provided in collaboration with nationally recognized experts at the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity (SCALE). Only instructional content proven through repeated testing and measurement by classroom teachers to improve teacher and student outcomes is incorporated into releases of LDC's online, flipped Khan-Academy-for-Adults learning environment. Lab sites for dynamic testing and iteration focused particularly in more than 100 schools in LDC's USDOE Investing in Innovation Validation (i3) grant in NYC and LAUSD schools. The LAUSD school district provided senior staff guidance and thought partnership throughout years of improvement cycle efforts.

To demonstrate the success of LDC's Improvement Science network efforts, LDC submitted the independent report by CRESST (UCLA)—released in March 2019—finding that LDC had a statistically significant impact on improving student test scores in LAUSD after only one year of LDC treatment in our i3 Validation grant. Quantitative analysis, pages 82-85 of CRESST's 190-page report. This statistically significant impact amounted to five months over matched-pair control students—controlling for prior student, teacher, and school performance and student demographics: FRL, Sped, El, ethnicity, etc. NYC data will shortly be published and it is even more impressive: 6.7 months over matched-pair control students!

"We are thrilled to honor the exemplary efforts of the Literacy Design Collaborative and share out practical lessons from their efforts," says Anthony Bryk, President of the Carnegie Foundation. "The education field has much to learn from how the organization used improvement science to achieve dramatic gains in two of America's largest school systems."

Notably, LDC has now had two more years since the CRESST measurement year student results cited above. LDC has over these past two years pivoted the organization's entire approach to iteratively design and validate LDC's "Enacted Curricula" model that integrates professional learning into the curricula actively being enacted in teachers' classrooms. This curricula and curriculum-embedded formative assessment (à la Dylan Wiliam) is frequently augmented with SCALE-validated performance task writing assignments so that districts and schools guarantee all of their students are engaged in scaffolded, standards-driven writing assignments—calibrated to national college ready standards—multiple times throughout the year.

The greatest educational equity for our students is knowing they are experiencing rigorous learning experiences supported by great instruction. LDC's Enacted Curricula approach does that, unifying the otherwise frequently siloed instructional systems of curriculum, assessment, and professional learning. We are proud to be honored by the Carnegie Foundation and look forward to sharing our six-year Improvement Network, agile-development model with a national audience of policy makers and educational experts.

Social media channels and website info for CF & all of the Spotlight honorees

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Literacy Design Collaborative

Northwest Regional Education Service District 

Queensland Department of Education 


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