Advancement Project believes that a just democracy will only be achieved through a multi-racial movement. The challenge is building sustainable power in communities of color and ensuring they have a voice in decisions that affect their communities and well-being. Too often, they are excluded from discussions or marginalized by structural inequalities that disproportionately limit their educational opportunities or threaten their civic engagement. Advancement Project supports local grassroots groups in the continuum of civic engagement from access to the ballot to holding elected officials accountable.
Advancement Project's solution
The programs at Advancement Project center on inequity issues that are entry points for communities of color to vote, transform institutions and hold stakeholders accountable. Their programs include: Power & Democracy (expanding the electorate and protecting voting rights), Opportunity to Learn (achieving effective learning environments for children), Justice Project (ending mass incarceration, including transforming policing), and Immigrant Justice (defending the rights of immigrants). Building power in communities of color in all aspects is integral in ensuring a free and safe future for all. They do that through voting rights, access to education, an accountable criminal justice system, and protection of immigrant rights.
New Classrooms is in a unique position in the K-12 education field. With our Teach to One: Math program, we collect over eight million academic and four million non-academic data points each year. While we use this data on a daily basis to assess our program and inform decisions, we know there are more analyses and learnings in these data sets than our team of data scientists alone can uncover. Advanced analytics, including machine learning, help us add significant capacity to our team of experts. As such, we have been implementing techniques and strategies from the machine learning toolbox as a way to approach our large data sets, identify patterns, and validate hypotheses.
The Likelihood of Success project serves as one example of how New Classrooms is engaging in machine learning to inform and evolve how to best serve students through personalized learning. From program design, curricula evaluation, and personalized outreach, multiple points of program delivery show promise of improvement through applying machine learning. New Classrooms looks forward to continuing to explore those opportunities.
New Classrooms has served over 40,000 students across the country with our flagship program, Teach to One: Math, in seven years of operation.Students participating in Teach to One: Math consistently make learning gains that are 1.5 times the national average on NWEA's nationally normed MAP assessments. In 2018, eighth grade students across a full set of 14 schools that operated Teach to One: Math for three years saw 23% greater learning gains than students nationally on the NWEA MAP test. Students gained even more—53% above the national average—in schools with growth-aligned systems of accountability.
A great education enables students to discover their passions and prepares them for success in the 21st century. However, the rigidity of traditional school models—one teacher, a textbook set, and a room of students—makes it nearly impossible to deliver this promise to students. New Classrooms believes that we can better help students reach their full potential by providing personalized learning experiences. We design and implement personalized learning models to accelerate learning and help students reach their full potential.
We design personalized learning models that reimagine the use of time, talent, technology, and physical space to support personalized learning. We then partner with existing schools to support the implementation of these models.New Classrooms’ flagship personalized learning program, Teach to One: Math, facilitates instruction for middle school math and algebra. Each student receives a targeted, individualized learning experience. Students may work on their own, in groups, or with teachers. How, what, and when each student learns is based on a personalized learning plan, generated daily by a complex scheduling algorithm. Teachers use these plans to customize instruction based on students’ learning styles and academic proficiency. Instruction is delivered at the right academic level, using the most suitable instructional format, for each student, each day.
New Classrooms’ holistic approach to entirely reimagining instruction remains one of the most robust efforts to personalize learning. Unlike other models, we do not develop stand-alone content, learning models, or new schools. We do not work with existing schools to develop new models from scratch. Rather, our work represents one of the few approaches that involves partnering with schools to implement complete and comprehensive personalized learning models. We partner with existing schools to implement our model so we can accelerate student growth and help them get back or stay on track to being college and career ready.
New Classrooms’ partner schools completed their Spring administration of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) exam, the assessment used to evaluate Teach to One: Math’s impact on accelerating learning. We are pleased to report strong portfolio-wide results: students made average learning gains of 1.4x the national average (according to MAP’s 2011 norms; 1.2x according to 2015 norms). High schoolers demonstrated outsized results, gaining 2.3x the national average (2011 norms; 1.6x 2015 norms). Special education students experienced the same results as our national portfolio, and English language learners experienced 1.9 years of growth (2011 norms; 1.4x 2015 norms). We are also in the final stages of confirming our 2019-20 partnerships, which includes expansion into new regions such as New Orleans, LA; Charlotte, NC; Odessa, TX; and Seattle, WA. New Classrooms is excited to work with our new partners to improve student outcomes in these regions.
New Classrooms recognizes the challenge of meeting students where they are when schools must adhere to accountability systems focusing on grade-level proficiency. We’ve observed the need for policies that meet all students’ needs. In September, we will release a white paper examining education policies’ impact on math learning gaps and calling for innovative accountability systems. We are hosting a release event to present the report, debate and discuss the challenges of current accountability systems, and suggest new approaches moving forward. We look forward to speaking and working with others who are committed to igniting innovation across the policy space.
In February 2019, an external evaluation highlighting Teach to One: Math’s (TTO’s) impact was released. The study examines three-year math test score growth on NWEA’s Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) exam at 14 schools that used TTO from 2015-16 to 2017-18. TTO students at these schools improved on the MAP at a faster rate than a nationally representative comparison group. Over three years, TTO students’ MAP scores also improved enough to raise the average school-level percentile by 20 points, corresponding to 23 percent more growth, on average, than a national reference group. In addition, students who were not consistently enrolled showed, on average, 12 percent greater improvement on the MAP over three years. For students who are below grade level, this growth is critical. These tremendous gains demonstrate what students can accomplish in a short amount of time, and New Classrooms looks forward to helping more students experience similar results.
In the coming months, New Classrooms will continue to collect and analyze TTO data. Our schools will complete the spring administration of the MAP exam, the assessment we use to measure student growth. This will enable New Classrooms to measure learning gains made across the 2018-19 school year. We will continue studying and leveraging student data to better understand the factors that most accelerate learning and explore relationships between growth on the MAP and state test results. This will allow us to continually refine the TTO program and share our findings on how learning happens with the broader education field.