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Letter of Invitation

Welcome and thank you for your interest in the Classroom Trials.

The Classroom Trials are designed to test the capabilities of software designed to support the instruction of writing in a classroom setting. We are limiting the products for consideration to those that include a feature of automated feedback to teachers, students and others supporting the instruction of writing in a classroom setting. The Working Group responsible for designing the trials is addressing an important challenge in the American public education system. Two emerging trends face the classroom teacher:  1) students are increasingly composing in digital environments; and, 2) demands on teachers to deliver meaningful assessment and formative instruction are climbing.  If software can help enhance meaningful review of student work, then those resources should be examined for their capability to support writing instruction.

Technologies exist today that are designed to provide teachers with tools to review student writing at each phase of the drafting process, to provide critical and timely feedback to students, and to provide some of the information teachers need to strengthen instruction. However, many emergent technologies have not yet been examined in a fair, uniform and transparent way. So, the Classroom Trials are designed to demonstrate whether selected software systems are capable of:

  1. Increasing the quality and quantity of writing by students;
  2. Supporting teachers to meet identified performance goals for writing instruction;
  3. Matching the needs of students and teachers within a typical school environment.

You are invited to participate. As you enter this website, you will learn how to apply, who is responsible for selecting the participants and how. If you are selected, you will join between 3-5 other providers, and those vendors will have opportunities to inform the final study variables. Detailed study design considerations are available for your review.

After the selection process, the 3-5 products will be analyzed according to commonalities (e.g., output data). While assessment will take place to determine how the products are used, individual vendors will not be identified in the reports issued by the Working Group. In this way, capabilities can be examined in terms by features and use cases, wherever impact can be achieved for students, teachers, parents, and school administrators.

To apply, you must submit a product description and demonstration. You must show evidence of a sufficient track record of prior use and performance. We look forward to learning more about your company and your product. We have designed the application process to ensure an open, fair and transparent experience.  If you have any questions, you can contact us directly by email at:  [email protected]

Sincerely, 

The Classroom Trials Working Group

(Members and their credentials are provided on the website)

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Welcome to the application process for the Classroom Trials. We're excited that you're planning to submit a product for consideration. Before you register to participate, you can understand what is required to apply. You can also learn more about the design of the study by visiting other pages at this website, or you can ask questions by email from Lynn ([email protected]).

The Classroom Trials are a series of product demonstrations to test the current capabilities of software designed to support the instruction of writing in a classroom setting. Each provider of such software must begin describing functional attributes of their system by submitting an application before a panel of judges. Those judges will read and score each application against three criteria. Applicants will know in advance the judges who will score the products, and each applicant will receive both their assigned scores and substantive feedback from each judge. We hope that by offering this open, fair and transparent process you will gain value from applying, whether or not your product is chosen. The Judges will select up to 3-5 products to place into the Classroom Trials, according to the quality of the applications.

Applications to participate in the ASAP Classroom Trials are open from April 10th, 2013, until May 14th, 2013 at11:59PM, US EST. The application is provided below, but here are the preconditions for consideration:

  1. Applicants must submit evidence of prior performance; start-ups and early stage companies with no prior track record of supporting teachers and students are not invited to apply.
  2. For seasoned providers, the only indicators of preferred product attributes are contained in the application, the trait scoring rubric used to assess the products, and anything that an Applicant can infer from detailed descriptions of those judges assigned to score the products - please read them all carefully before applying.
  3. While many products offer interesting methods for facilitating the instruction of writing, we are seeking products that offer one specific capability; some form of automated feedback to the student and/or teacher is necessary. This precondition is an important consideration. For many, it implies an application of "machine learning," in order to gauge the nature of the student's writing and to generate supportive feedback. While this is a necessary component, it does not signify our only interest in your product capabilities. In fact, while automated feedback is a precondition, other capabilities may be equally if not more  essential to your overall strategy to support the instruction of writing in a classroom setting.
  4. All Applicants must comply with the Terms & Conditions of the submission process.

Here is the application. After you're read it, please register to submit your application.


SECTION 1: Executive Summary

You are required to submit an Executive Summary of approximately five pages summarizing your product. Here is the outline for your Executive Summary. Cover these points succinctly and expand upon them in the full description of your Product Features (Section 2).

  1. Provide a broad but compelling description of how your product is designed to support students and teachers, to improve the instruction of writing.
  2. Describe the types of writing and components of writing instruction and assessment that your product is designed to address.
  3. Describe how your product is designed to facilitate teacher and student use.
  4. Select the measure of your success to date. Provide evidence that your product has the potential to lead to improved writing in a classroom setting.
  5. Conclude with a brief overview of your most ambitious vision for use of your product in a K-12 classroom environment.

As you prepare your Executive Summary, please be aware of the three traits that each judge will use to score your application; they are;

  • CLASSROOM COMPATIBILITY
  • STUDENT ENGAGEMENT
  • INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT

For more information, please refer to the Trait Scoring Rubric for definitions of each trait.

NOTE: These points are a lot to cover in a five-page response. So, it is essential that you reference or link to more sophisticated analyses and explanations that can be provided in the full description of your Product Features (Section 2).

You will submit your Executive Summary by uploading a PDF file. This is the only file type that the system will accept.

SECTION 2: Product Features

This is your opportunity to provide a more sophisticated description of your product's features and functionality. The main body of your description should not exceed twenty-five pages (including any appendices). The purpose of the main body of the description is to provide evidence to substantiate any claims made in your Executive Summary. You are welcome to include graphic illustrations of any findings, such as tables and figures. Those may be displayed however you feel is most appropriate. The full body of your description may also include other detailed information.

Here is a sample outline to indicate many of the points that you should consider covering:

  1. Identify your product; describe the set of features and functionality that come with a standard licensing agreement; include any features that set your product apart from others in the marketplace.
    1. Describe any process whereby students are prompted to revise and resubmit writing sample(s).
    2. Do students receive an evaluation (e.g., feedback on organization or language use), a score (e.g., one or more assigned number(s) to an essay), or both on a writing sample? If yes, describe the evaluation or score(s) that students can receive.
    3. Upon what domains of writing, if any, are student samples evaluated and scored?
    4. What grade level(s) has the product been designed for? What student populations has it been designed for?
    5. What tools are included to support teachers and classroom instruction?
    6. Does the product come pre-populated with writing tasks? What is the nature and range of these tasks? Are teachers able to create and add their own prompts? Please explain or illustrate the range of the pre-populated writing tasks.
    7. Are writing tasks aligned with Common Core Standards? If yes, please explain how they are aligned.
    8. What collaboration tools, either for students or teachers, if any, does the product include?
    9. What features, if any, does the product include that support students with disabilities, students who are English-language learners and/or students who are ready for acceleration?
  2. Provide background information about your company; include how long you have been in business; identify the structure of support for the product.
  3. Describe broadly your current customer base, which can include the number of districts, schools, classrooms, or students that are currently using your product; you may provide demographics for the student population. If this information is CONFIDENTIAL or if your company is uncomfortable disclosing this information, then please offer some evidence of prior or current use.
  4. Describe the conception of writing (i.e., the writing construct) that guides the product. Please describe how the applications within the product have been validated and any supporting evidence. Please provide links to any articles or papers, especially those that have been peer reviewed, that support the validity claims.
  5. Describe the technology required to support the use of the product in the classroom.
  6. Describe the basics of how any underlying "scoring engine" may work for your product.
  7. Include the results of any studies that have been done to indicate whether student writing has improved while using your product; link to any peer-reviewed or other articles that substantiate claims.
  8. Describe any training that teachers are required to undergo to use the product and any administrative requirements to set-up the product for use in a classroom setting.
  9. Conclude with your most ambitious vision for use of your product in a K-12 classroom environment; you are welcome to describe upcoming system features that you plan to implement over the next six to twelve months.

You will submit the full body of your description of product features by uploading a PDF file. This is the only file type that the system will accept. You are asked to keep the full body of your description to twenty-five pages or fewer.

SECTION 3: Product Demonstration

Each applicant must demonstrate their most important product attributes. There are two options for providing the demonstration. Applicants may submit a URL to a pre-recorded video through the online system or schedule a demonstration before their assigned judges. In either case, the demonstration may last no longer than 45-60 minutes, and when scheduling a demonstration before the assigned judges there will be no questions and answers; each demonstration must stand on its own and without any additional time for explanations.