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Using Funding for Impact: Making the Shift from Understanding to Implementation

Over the last 20 years, significant strides have been made in better understanding reading science. With the research-drawn conclusions being unanimous, the focus must now be shifted from understanding to implementation, and there’s a big player who can help make this change.

The Institute of Educational Sciences has been behind much of the education research progress, providing crucial funding and support to those who carried it out. However, Carrie Conaway explains in her article for Education Next that “While IES has many levers of influence, its grant programs—which total roughly $240 million annually—provide the best opportunity to shift the research supply to better meet practitioners’ needs.” This starts with funding aimed towards improving practice.

Conaway describes research-based practice as the ability to show whether or not significant findings can produce “actionable knowledge of value”, or more simply put, if it works. We’ve seen what this looks like right here at Learning Ovations.

With decades of research behind it, we knew what the A2i professional support system needed to work, the question was if it would (hint: it did). Following our first year of in-class implementation, A2i received shining reviews from teachers and administrators. A first grade teacher described that, with A2i support, "Kids are really doing well and making growth in their small groups. I am seeing gains in differentiating my small group instruction. We are excited to see the results of the next round of assessments and how it all ties in together."

Through assistance from programs such as IES, we’ve taken A2i from the “ivory tower” research lab and brought it into real classrooms around the country. Over the past 3 years, A2i has been able to produce results not only in support of the research behind it, but also in support of the teachers and students who’ve worked with us. With some of our partners now entering their 4th year of onsite implementation, we can’t wait to continue to show communities across the nation that every child can reach their full reading potential, with the right support.

This kind of progress is only made possible by moving from research to practice and implementation! With over a decade of support from the IES in terms of grants and research, we know our path demonstrates the steps that can lead from the research “what” to the real-world how.

The question is no longer what works, but how can we bring what works to all teachers and students? Learning Ovations knows the answer, so follow our footsteps, you—and your children—might learn a few things along the way.

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