Many high-need students do not learn to read well because they do not receive effective personalized literacy instruction during the early elementary grades. To address this, the data-driven A2i Professional Support System was designed by and for teachers, and it has shown strong evidence of effectiveness. A2i technology includes online adaptive assessments of reading ability that drive algorithms that compute recommended amounts and types of literacy instruction for each student. To support teachers in implementing this recommended instruction, A2i also features embedded lesson planning linked to a district’s reading program, data visualization tools, and online professional development tools.
Because A2i’s effectiveness in improving literacy achievement has already been rigorously tested, the driving question for the United2Read evaluation is how to bring A2i and its evidence-based literacy instructional practices to elementary school classrooms across the nation.
As the independent evaluator of this expansion, MDRC is studying the comparative effectiveness of two different support models of A2i:
- An in-person model that provides schools with access to the A2i assessments and materials and offers initial and ongoing in-person training and professional development. This model has been proven effective in the past.
- A hybrid model that provides schools with access to the A2i assessments and materials and offers initial in-person training, then ongoing online professional development. This is a new model that can be implemented at a relatively low cost.
The evaluation will compare implementation and student reading performance outcomes across three school years in schools assigned by lottery to one of these two support models. The goal is to assess whether the less costly hybrid model can be as effective as the in-person model in producing strong implementation of A2i reading support and improvements in student literacy achievement.