Two retreats and several strategy meetings convened by Sunnylands have resulted in the founding in 2014 of EdReports.org, a new trusted entity to determine the best math curriculum materials. Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College and Sunnylands’ partner in the effort is now board chair of EdReports.org.
Conceived at the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands by a design team of the nation’s leading minds in math, science, K-12 and higher education, EdReports.org is an independent nonprofit designed to improve K-12 education by providing free, web-based reviews of instructional materials focused on alignment to the Common Core and other indicators of high quality as recommended by educators.
The Consumer Reports-style reviews highlight those instructional materials that are aligned to the higher standards states have adopted so that teachers, principals, district, and state officials charged with purchasing materials can make more informed choices. Long term, EdReports.org’s goal is to elevate the overall level of rigor and quality of instructional materials by helping more informed consumers – teachers and parents – demand better materials from those who supply the market. The organization has secured a two-year, $1.5 million grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to launch its reviews.
Math Strategy Group to Tackle Potential of Technology-Enabled Math Education Programs
Now funded in part with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Sunnylands Math Strategy Group will pursue a study and design effort to help achieve the promise of emergent technology-enabled mathematics programs and determine what approaches are effective. Led by Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College, three meetings over the next year will engage top talent, expertise, and perspective to determine, design and set forth the best approaches for evaluating the efficacy of various emerging technology-enabled mathematics programs with the aim of establishing a central, trusted source for evidence of what approaches lead to improvements in student performance.
The group has invited leading experts to help brainstorm the agenda for these meetings. Maria Klawe explained, “There is general consensus about what comprises high quality K-12 mathematics learning, and there is the wide and growing use of digital tools by students. We are seeing the invention and growth of many new technology enabled educational programs and at the same time, there is the desire among educators for coherent math curricula that align with the Common Core Standards that will be implemented in 45 states plus the District of Columbia in 2014.”
“This endeavor is both difficult and necessary. The ‘necessary’ is that everyone really does want to know the most promising tech tools for math and teaching and learning, and that they are accessible to students and educators. But meaningful evaluation of emergent technology-enabled mathematics education efforts is complex and multi-faceted, and the disconnects and general slow pace of the field cannot be ignored. In many ways, the territory is new and so is the approach here: Sunnylands is venturing to bring together leaders with varied perspectives and expertise around this ecosystem on a sustained basis to imagine new and holistic ways to propel solutions and shed much needed light.”
—Ted Mitchell, president and CEO of the NewSchools Venture Fund
According to Geoffrey Cowan, president of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, “The potential for impact in this area is huge and we are building upon the legacy of our founders, Walter and Leonore Annenberg. They left Sunnylands, their former winter estate, to be used for meaningful and impactful discussions, and they were vitally interested in public education.”
The Sunnylands Math Strategy Group’s final retreat will be held at the Annenbergs’ historic Sunnylands estate in fall 2013.