Press Room

Press Releases and Statements

Back

Print

Grants to Develop, Test Next-Generation Teaching Tools in Math and Literacy | Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Innovative assessments and activities to support students and teachers in the classroom

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
206-709-3400
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Phone: +1.206.709.3400
Email: media@gatesfoundation.org

SEATTLE -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced 15 grants totaling more than $19.5 million to support the development and testing of prototype classroom assessments and instructional tools in math and literacy to help educators better prepare all students for success beyond high school. The investments are part of the foundation’s support of the effort to build a coherent system of consistent college- and career-ready standards, aligned assessments, and teaching tools to strengthen teacher effectiveness and dramatically improve student achievement.

The assessments and instructional tools will be aligned with the college- and career-ready standards for math and literacy that are being developed by 48 states in coordination with the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. These standards will provide clear and consistent guidelines for teachers, school leaders, and parents on what students need to know at each grade level to be prepared to succeed at college-level work. The accompanying assessments will help to respond to the demand for teaching tools that meet the standards bar.

“These states have shown great leadership and commitment, working together to develop consistent, clear college- and career-ready standards,” said Vicki L. Phillips, Director of Education, College-Ready, at the foundation. “Providing teachers with the resources and support they need to teach creatively and effectively is the next step. Innovative and well-designed classroom assessments will provide vital feedback to help teachers target their instruction and prepare all students for success beyond high school.”

Projects in this phase of the work are focused in two key areas: (1) the development of prototype math and literacy assessments and instructional tools, including model lesson units, and (2) research and field testing to ensure the assessments and tools are effective, aligned with standards, and internationally benchmarked. Organizations receiving grants include programs at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Texas at Austin, school districts and networks, curriculum developers, and leading nonprofits working to improve education for all students.

“The federal Race to the Top fund gives states powerful new incentives to invest in more robust assessment systems that can provide a clearer picture of student learning and teacher effectiveness,” said Carina Wong, Deputy Director, Education, at the foundation. “This is a great opportunity for innovations in classroom assessment that can be shared across states while still allowing for local flexibility in how to teach.”

Sites selected to pilot this first phase of math assessments are Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C.; Hamilton County, Tenn.; New York City; and six Kentucky school districts working with the state’s Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence. Assessments also will be field tested at the Denver School of Science and Technology and in participating schools in the Cristo Rey and National Council of La Raza networks.

In both math and literacy, the foundation’s goal is to support the creation of different forms of assessment and support materials that teachers, districts, and states can use. Once the research is completed and the materials validated, the foundation will work with its partners to refine the assessments and make them universally available. In math, the prototype assessments developed by the foundation’s partners will emphasize real-world problem solving and the ability to reason coherently. In literacy, assessments and materials will be developed to enable teachers across all academic subjects—not just English/language arts—to reinforce the skills students need to succeed in college, focusing on the ability to comprehend complex texts and write in ways that demonstrate that understanding.

The grants announced today advance the foundation’s efforts to help ensure all young people in the United States graduate from high school ready for college and obtain an education beyond high school that prepares them to succeed in the global economy. Since 2000, the foundation has invested $5 billion to prepare all students—particularly low-income and minority youth—to succeed in college, career, and life.

Grant summaries:

Development of New Assessments and Instructional Tools

The Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) at the University of California Los Angeles

$4.3 million over three years

Media Contact:
Ron Dietel
310.794.9168

To create a new architecture for aligning college- and career-ready standards with instruction and assessment; to design and validate formative assessments of literacy and mathematics standards for secondary students; to design and pilot computer-based scoring of complex, student responses; and to conduct targeted, international benchmarking studies.

Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin

1.2 million over two years

Media Contact:
Lee Clippard
512.471.3285

To refine and evaluate its Academic Youth Development program, a summer bridge program to support the successful transition of students into Algebra 1. Concepts will be integrated into a year-round curriculum to assist teachers in engaging students in learning complex math skills. Materials will be tested and disseminated through an open access on-line resource.

Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley

$3.6 million over two years

Media Contact:
Steve Cohen
510.642.0137

To help define high standards; help construct mathematics courses aimed at meeting those standards; and produce and field test high-quality formative and summative assessments that reflect ambitious, but attainable, math goals for all students.

Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley

$3 million over three years

Media Contact:
Janet Noe
510.642.2226

To extend the Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading model to grades 6–8. This approach, currently for grades 2–5, combines science and literacy content—helping students develop the inquiry skills needed to make sense of the physical world while building fundamental literacy skills. The extension will be piloted in San Francisco and then tested nationwide.

Math Solutions

$2.2 million over three years

Media Contact:
Audrey Mann Cronin
914.861.2009

To fund the development of a Web-based diagnostic tool that will help middle school teachers assess students’ computational and problem-solving skills.

The Education Trust, Inc.

$2.2 million over two years

Media Contact:
Stephanie Germeraad
202.293.1217 ext.354

To develop and bring to scale a set of open-access literacy courses for grades 6-8 designed to teach students the reading and writing skills they need to be adequately prepared for college.

Research, Testing, and Validation of College-Ready Assessments

The Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) at the University of California Los Angeles

$576,191 for one year

Media Contact:
Ron Dietel
310.794.9168

To develop a conceptual platform for college readiness, design a process to validate a common core of standards, and refine and test assessments against international benchmarks.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (N.C.)

$143,973 for one year

Media Contact:
Kathleen Johansen
980.343.0472

To pilot math assessments and instructional tools under development by the math design collaborative. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) serves 133,600 students in 176 schools throughout the cities and towns of Mecklenburg County, N.C. CMS schools are committed to using data for continuous improvement to guarantee student success.

Cristo Rey Network

$149,733 for one year

Media Contact:
Rob Birdsell
312.784.7202

To pilot math assessments and instructional tools under development by the math design collaborative. The Cristo Rey Network is comprised of 24 high schools across the country that provide quality, Catholic, college preparatory education to urban young people.

Denver School of Science and Technology

$36,018 for one year

Media Contact:
Sarah Skeen
303.524.6339

To pilot math assessments and instructional tools under development by the math design collaborative. The Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST) is a free, open- enrollment public school serving middle and high school students.

Educational Policy Improvement Center (EPIC)

$777,439 for one year

Media Contact:
Charis McGaughy
541.346.6248

To identify and validate a priority set of clearer, higher standards that define a path to college readiness that can guide instruction and measures of student progress. Standards will be piloted with a set of state and district partners.

Fund for Public Schools (New York City)

$455,394 for one year

Media Contact:
Sunny Larson
212.374.5250

To pilot math assessments and instructional tools under development by the math design collaborative. Fund for Public Schools is dedicated to improving New York City’s Public Schools. New York City is the largest system of schools in the United States, comprising 1,600 schools and 80,000 teachers serving 1.1 million students. The district will pilot the math assessments in select schools.

Hamilton County Department of Education (Tenn.)

$74,800 for one year

Media Contact:
Danielle Clark
423.209.8615

To pilot math assessments and instructional tools under development by the math design collaborative. Hamilton County Department of Education (HCDE) is a diverse school system of 41,598 students in 78 schools. Fifty-six percent of district students qualify for free or reduced price lunch.

National Council of La Raza

$322,103 for one year

Media Contact:
Jacqueline Stewart
202.776.1772

To pilot math assessments and instructional tools under development by the math design collaborative. The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) supports a network of small, community-based charter and alternative schools serving underserved Latino and English-language-learner students in 16 states and the District of Columbia. The pilot will take place in 12 NCLR-affiliated schools across the country.

The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence (Kentucky)

$599,016 for one year

Media Contact:
Cindy Heine
859.233.9849 ext. 222

To pilot math assessments and instructional tools under development by the math design collaborative in high schools. The Prichard Committee is a non-partisan, not-for-profit group created in 1983 to advocate for improved education for Kentucky citizens at all levels. Six districts will participate in the pilot: Boone, Daviess, Jefferson, Jessamine, Kenton, and Warren Counties.

Visit Our Blog