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New Approaches for Evaluating and Improving Efficacy in Digital Courseware RFP



RFP Summary

Congratulations to all of the challenge winners!

Test Bed Networks


Project Description

Grant Amount

The Fund for Public Schools, Inc. (New York City iZone)

iZone Short-Cycle Evaluation Initiative


New Schools for Chicago

eLearn Innovation Hub: Pilot Lab


Silicon Valley Education Foundation/NSVF Seed Fund

Learning Innovation Hub





Project Description

Grant Amount

BrightBytes, Inc.

Educational Application for Testing and Recommendation



Innovative Testing of Digital Learning Content: the PowerMyLearning Solution 


Common Sense Media

Digital Courseware Efficacy Project Using Graphite


eSpark, Inc.

Measuring the Effects of Specific Educational Apps on Student Achievement and Engagement


Motion Math, Inc.

Reckon: the Measure of Mobile Learning



The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation seeks to invest up to $2 million in new approaches to facilitating short-cycle feedback on product efficacy so that teachers, school decision-makers, and parents have better information about the effectiveness of digital courseware, and developers of such products receive more rapid input to improve their offerings. 

This document is an invitation for proposals for rapid, digital courseware evaluation and improvement that:

  • Focus the development and adoption of personalized learning products on helping students achieve desired learning outcomes.
  • Put teachers and school decision-makers at the center of the evolution towards personalized learning.
  • Lower risks and barriers to all parties of piloting new, potentially-transformative products.
  • Encourage the rapid development of a healthy, transparent market for highly effective learning technologies.

Application and Selection Timeline

August 12, 2013: Request for Proposal (RFP) Open.

August 21, 2013, 10:00 (PT): Q&A call/webinar.

September 13, 2013 – 5:00 PM (PT): Completed applications due.

October 2013: Finalists notified.

October 25, 2013: Countersigned Grant Agreements received.

(Note: Grant awards will be contingent on the successful completion of due diligence processes)

More Information

  • For more information about this RFP, please contact:
    • When sending an email to this alias, please note that your request is related to the New Approaches for Evaluating and Improving Efficacy in Digital Courseware – RFP

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: Can you define courseware for us, as it is defined by the Foundation? 
  • A: Digital courseware refers to adaptive digital learning tools, including software that supports student learning such as games, apps, and personalized content.  It does not include "edu-tainment" products that don’t have learning objectives and mechanisms at core, or products in which the teacher is the primary user, such as gradebooks and communication tools.
  • Q: Are products whose users include both students and teachers eligible for this grant?
  • A: Products that cross between students and teachers are eligible as long as they are designed to promote student learning and can provide data back to vendors and teachers about student performance.  An example of this is an adaptive platform that provides data on student learning growth via a particular product to students, teachers, and the courseware vendor.  Note that digital courseware vendors, such as app and game developers, are not eligible for this challenge.
  • Q: I work for a gaming company that has produced a suite of math games, K-2. Can we apply for this grant to test our games in partner schools and districts - or do the test bed network and/or platform we design need to be open for any vendor to use to test their product/s?
  • A: Vendors of specific courseware products who are interested in simply testing their products with partner schools and districts are NOT eligible for this grant.  We are looking for comprehensive platform or test bed network solutions that are applicable for – and scalable across – multiple vendors

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