Edtech Business

Middle School Literacy Watchlist

By Betsy Corcoran     Aug 6, 2013

Middle School Literacy Watchlist

It doesn't take much to find "top 10" lists of anything on the web. Most of those lists, however, are only best guesses.

Here's a list worth watching, however: the Gates Foundation is pouring $6 million in 29 organizations developing tools to help students in grades 4 through 8 to improve their reading and writing skills and--ideally--master theCommon Core State Standards. Six received grants of $500K apiece.

Not all these programs will succeed. But winning financial support certainly gives them a leg up.

Evaluator teams picked the 29 projects from among 150 submissions. The judges looked particularly for:

  • potential for positive impact on studentlearning;
  • feasibility of use in school settings;
  • capability of the team to deliver and scale up theirplans.

The products are not necessarily free but Gates did require that they offer an "affordable option" for low-income communities.

Ten projects are considered "minimum viable productawards." These are in the concept phase and address a subset ofliterary skills or academic content. These each received $25K in support.

Another 14 organizations with products that cover some set of literary skills received grants between $100K and $500K. And five grantees, offering systems or platforms that track studentprogress in building reading and writing skills also received between $200K and $500K in support.

The results are a fascinating watchlist of emerging literacytools.

And beginning in January 2014, when the tools reach schools, we'll check back and see how teachers and students are faring.

The grantees (and their products) who received the top $500K grants were:

Supplemental & Comprehensive LiteracyCourseware

Systems or platforms for measuring progress:

Now that's a list worth watching!

    Edtech Business

    Middle School Literacy Watchlist

    By Betsy Corcoran     Aug 6, 2013

    Middle School Literacy Watchlist

    It doesn't take much to find "top 10" lists of anything on the web. Most of those lists, however, are only best guesses.

    Here's a list worth watching, however: the Gates Foundation is pouring $6 million in 29 organizations developing tools to help students in grades 4 through 8 to improve their reading and writing skills and--ideally--master theCommon Core State Standards. Six received grants of $500K apiece.

    Not all these programs will succeed. But winning financial support certainly gives them a leg up.

    Evaluator teams picked the 29 projects from among 150 submissions. The judges looked particularly for:

    • potential for positive impact on studentlearning;
    • feasibility of use in school settings;
    • capability of the team to deliver and scale up theirplans.

    The products are not necessarily free but Gates did require that they offer an "affordable option" for low-income communities.

    Ten projects are considered "minimum viable productawards." These are in the concept phase and address a subset ofliterary skills or academic content. These each received $25K in support.

    Another 14 organizations with products that cover some set of literary skills received grants between $100K and $500K. And five grantees, offering systems or platforms that track studentprogress in building reading and writing skills also received between $200K and $500K in support.

    The results are a fascinating watchlist of emerging literacytools.

    And beginning in January 2014, when the tools reach schools, we'll check back and see how teachers and students are faring.

    The grantees (and their products) who received the top $500K grants were:

    Supplemental & Comprehensive LiteracyCourseware

    Systems or platforms for measuring progress:

    Now that's a list worth watching!

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