Policy research and data analytics firm Mathematica provided recommendations to the U.S. Department of Education to strengthen the development of a proposed new research program within the department’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), From Seedlings to Scale (S2S), that aims to create quick-turnaround, scalable solutions to improve education outcomes for all students.
“The proposed new program from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), From Seedlings to Scale (S2S), within its Accelerate, Transform, and Scale initiative, offers a critical opportunity to develop bold, innovative ideas to address some of the nation’s most pressing educational challenges,” wrote Mathematica. “The program will promote the development and scaling of breakthrough solutions for these challenges, including improving education outcomes for all learners; eliminating persistent achievement and attainment gaps; supporting the diverse needs of learners; introducing today’s most technologically advanced tools into educators’ toolboxes; and making all schools and classrooms into environments that uplift students’ behavioral, emotional, and mental health.”
Drawing on its robust experience in educational innovations, rapid-cycle evaluation, and scaling highly effective programs, along with its expertise in guiding the implementation of phased investments in learning, Mathematica provided insights for how to build a successful program designed to support the development and scaling of breakthrough educational solutions. Specifically, among its recommendations, Mathematica called for:
- Building diverse teams that include an overarching learning and evaluation partner to coordinate the use of consistent measures and processes and raise the quality of evidence generated
- Using a funding mechanism that allows a wide range of organizations that specialize in developing and evaluating innovative solutions to engage in research and development
- Engaging community members as early as possible in the process to provide input on IES’s proposed focus areas to determine whether they address the most critical needs
- Sharing and co-interpreting findings with community participants to ensure they benefit from the learning accomplished, through all phases of S2S