- IES Validation
On the strength of the program features and preliminary results showing significant student gains, in 2009 the Department of Education awarded Harvard University and partners a 5 year, 2.8M grant to study the efficacy of the program in three urban school districts. The University of Houston guides analyses of study data. SERP is managing the work conducted at the participating districts including providing professional development and working with the district and school liaisons to oversee program implementation and data collection. Baltimore City Public Schools, Pittsburgh Public Schools, and the San Francisco Unified School District are the three study sites (SFUSD is also a SERP field site).
In Baltimore 25 schools and more than 3,000 students are involved each year. Pittsburgh began the study with 13 schools participating and more than 500 students; 3 of the original schools have closed and two more are slated for closure next year, reflecting the difficult realities of urban school settings. Baltimore and Pittsburgh have both been study sites since Fall of 2009; data collection will continue there until the end of the 2012 school year. San Francisco joined the study in Fall of 2010 with 13 schools and more than 8,000 students; data collection will be completed in SF at the end of the 2013 school year.
SERP's Word Generation is a novel approach to vocabulary teaching and academic language development. The program is one of the first SERP tools and was created by Harvard researchers, district representatives and SERP staff as a direct response to the Boston Public Schools' (BPS) goal of addressing middle school literacy challenges. The Word Generation design is grounded in prior research and theory on vocabulary development and pilot data collected over a three year period in Boston schools that demonstrated significant promise.