Over the past year, MDRC has selected eight teams of innovators to develop early learning assessment tools as part of the Measures for Early Success Initiative. The Initiative, led by MDRC with funding support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, seeks to develop scalable, comprehensive, and reliable assessment tools of children’s developmental gains that are relevant and usable for pre-K educators, children, and families to support more equitable early learning outcomes for all young children.
MDRC has been collaborating with these eight teams on the following assessment tools:
Sprig Learning, Zeno Math, St. Francis Xavier University, Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey: A holistic digital math assessment that includes an interactive student assessment focusing on foundational math processes and results dashboards. The tool enables teachers and caregivers to better understand the competencies and progress of each student, while providing actionable learning recommendations for the classroom and home.
IGDI Lab and FableVision Studios: The Interactive Storybook Platform for the Equitable Assessment of Knowledge (I-SPEAK) is a preschool measure in English and Spanish that uses storytelling and celebrates rich and dynamic linguistic experience through an interactive storybook narrative. It seeks to capture key developmental domains in ways that are informed by an anti-racist lens, prioritizes equitable outcomes, and moves away from harmful historical assessment traditions.
Khan Academy Kids: Engaging, embedded learning assessments that will use existing content and modifications to Khan Academy Kids to capture information on young children’s abilities and share actionable data with administrators, educators, and families.
Kibeam, Mighty Play, Berkeley Evaluation and Assessment Research (BEAR) Center: A screenless, book-based learning and assessment platform that will measure children’s language and literacy skills. Children engage with interactive stories and activities through movement-based play, songs, light-beam pointer selection, and voice recognition using a novel, multimodal, handheld device called the “Kibeam Wand.”
Cognitive ToyBox: Refinement of Cognitive ToyBox’s existing research-based observational and game-based assessment platform for children from birth to eight years of age with updates to training materials to better support children who speak both Spanish and English.
TeachFX, The Family Partnership, Data Griot: An AI-supported observational assessment tool (“Alegria”) that captures children’s language and executive functioning skills in naturally occurring social interactions in pre-K classrooms using natural-language processing (NLP) and audio speech recognition (ASR) during common teaching times, such as circle time or small group settings. The tool seeks to provide a continuous snapshot of children’s language and executive functioning skills in naturally occurring social interactions.
EarlyBird, Collier Connection, Drs. Elsa Cárdenas-Hagan and Eric Tridas, SoapBox Labs: A bilingual assessment product that captures multilingual children’s distributed skills across English and Spanish; produces reliable, comparable skill estimates across multilingual and monolingual children; and is actionable, guiding teachers to targeted instruction.
Hatch Early Learning, The Family Partnership, TeachFX, Data Griot: Holistic Early Learning Platform (HELP) for Assessment is a play-based with automated speech recognition technology to comprehensively capture children’s skills and learning experiences in the classroom and real-time insights on child progress and interventions that are relevant, accessible, equitable, and personalized.