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Literacy Courseware Challenge - Request for Proposal

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RFP Summary

Congratulations to all of the challenge winners!

Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Awards: Solutions, currently in the concept stage, that address a subset of literacy skills and/or academic content for grades 4-8

Organization

Product / Project

Amount

Benchmark Education Company

Monthly Research Project Organizers

$25,000

Clemson University

UpWrite: Courseware for the Process Writing Approach

$24,839

Empirical

Empirical Grammar

$25,000

Filament Games

The FourWord Argumentation Suite

$25,000

GameDesk

CollaboWrite

$25,000

LightSIDE Labs

LightSIDE Revision Assistant

$25,000

Liquid Interactive

Writelike

$25,000

Quackenworth

Writetify

$25,000

University of Georgia Research Foundation

Persuade Me

$25,000

WestEd

The Missing Agents

$25,000

Supplemental & Comprehensive Solution Awards: Solutions that address a subset of skills or content for grades 4-8 (Supplemental) or most/all skills within a grade or grade band, covering multiple standards (Comprehensive)


Organization


Product / Project


Amount


Actively Learn

Actively Learn for reading and writing in Grades 4-8

$270,000

Classroom, Inc.

Reading in the Real World (RRW)

$100,000

Design Innovation Factory

Catalyst Learning

$100,000

Ednovo

Gooru Composition Lab for 5-12th Grade Literacy

$100,000

iCivics

Drafting Board 2.0

$500,000

Lapham's Quarterly

Lapham's Curated Collections

$100,000

LearnZillion

LearnZillion

$250,000

Lexia Learning Systems

Lexia Reading Core5/Writing Solution

$500,000

LightSail

LightSail

$500,000

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

XENOS Literacy for Grades 6-8

$100,000

On Deck Systems

PEARLS – Personalized Engaging Adaptive Real-life Learning System for persuasive writing

$99,500

ThinkCERCA

ThinkCERCA

$250,000

Triumph Learning

HelloLift 

$100,000

Whipsmart

Newsela

$100,000



Systems, Aggregator or Platform Awards: Solutions that track a student's progress across most/all reading and writing skills and recommend discrete solutions from multiple providers to help build skills based on student performance

Organization

Product / Project

Amount

Common Ground

Scholar Literacy Courseware

$500,000

ConnectEDU

Scalable Platform for Literacy Courseware

$500,000

New Visions for Public Schools

The Literacy Platform: Transforming Formative Assessment & Intervention for Writing

$200,000

Qlovi

Qlovi

$200,000

Six Red Marbles

Natural Learning Platform

$500,000


The Impact We Intend to Support

Our vision for education is that all students have access to what they need, when they need it. For some this will mean accelerating beyond the fixed pace of today’s classroom. For others it will mean being given opportunities for extended practice of skills or content they have yet to master. For all students, it will mean learning experiences that are tailored specifically to their progress against a clear set of academic standards; receiving constant, actionable information on their progress; and experiencing the deep, one-on-one engagement with their teacher and other students that is often missing from today’s classrooms. We and many others call this vision personalized learning.

We believe that adaptive digital learning tools, or “courseware,” can extend the reach of teachers to make personalized learning possible, particularly for students who are underserved by the current education system. Leading mathematics courseware products have already produced strong evidence that this is possible.

We also believe that mastery of literacy skills is critical to students’ long-term success. However, despite growing acknowledgement of the importance of literacy and decades of reform efforts, U.S. students’ literacy skills have barely improved over the past forty years and are failing to keep up with the growth of other nations. Currently, a third of U.S. 8th graders are proficient in reading and writing. This has to change for our students to be prepared for 21st century college and careers.

The goal of this Challenge is to stimulate development of courseware supporting literacy instruction.

Goal of the Literacy Courseware Challenge

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is investing $6 million in web-based courseware to support students in mastering the Common Core State Standards for literacy at the 4th–8th grade levels. Our approach aims to entice publishers, developers, and entrepreneurs to propose the most innovative digital solutions for engaging, personalized software that helps students with reading and writing. Through an RFP process, we awarded 29 grants in amounts of $25,000-$500,000.

Recipients of awards in the amount of $100,000-$500,000 will have the opportunity to pilot their products in order to participate in an independent evaluation of their product’s impact on student learning and receive feedback they can use to refine their solutions.
 
We invite you to explore the Challenge through the background information detailed in the Literacy Courseware Challenge Request for Proposal (RFP).

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