Federal Funding, ESSER, and ESSA Evidence

Federal Funding Sources

ESSER (COVID-19)

The Coronavirus Response & Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (CRRSA Act) provides additional funds over three years for specific types of activities. Speak Agent is eligible for the following authorized activities:

  • Any activity authorized by ESEA or IDEA.
  • Providing school leaders with the resources necessary to address school needs.
  • Activities that address the unique needs of low-income students, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and foster care youth.
  • Purchasing educational technology that aids in regular and substantive educational interactions between students and their classroom teachers.

  • Planning and implementing activities related to summer learning and supplemental afterschool programs, including providing classroom instruction or online learning during the summer months and addressing the needs of low-income students, students with disabilities, English learners, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care.

  • Addressing learning loss among students, including low-income students, students with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care, of the local educational agency, including by implementing evidence-based activities to meet the comprehensive needs of students.

Title I

Title I, Part A provides grants to districts and schools with high numbers or percentages of low-income families to help ensure that all children meet academic standards. Title I can fund Speak Agent as a supplemental program/intervention consisting of instructional materials, technology, and professional development.

Title III

Title III, Part A provides grants to districts and schools (via states) to supplement programs for students with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) such as English Learners. Schools are expected to hold LEP/ELL students to the same state standards as those required of all students. Title III can fund evidence-based education technology solutions like Speak Agent and related services for LEP/ELL students.

SSAE

Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) is a Title IV program distributed to districts and schools that receive Title I funds. It can be used to support STEM instruction, health and safety programs, or technology enhancements such as blended learning programs, software, digital resources, or professional development. Speak Agent could either fall under the "Well-Rounded Education Activities" (e.g., STEM) or "Technology" depending on your program design.

ESSA Evidence

Study Data Supporting "Moderate" Evidence

All of the federal grant programs require interventions/programs to meet ESSA evidence criteria. Speak Agent meets the evidence criteria, based on the following findings in a full-year QED study sponsored by the National Science Foundation, among other research: 

Criterion Evidence How Speak Agent Aligns to the Criterion
Study Design meets-ESSA-evidenceMeets A quasi-experimental design (QED) was used where STEM classes (85% ELL/MLL) were randomly assigned to either the treatment or control condition by an independent evaluator, Rockman et al. The control group received standard instruction. The treatment replaced 30 minutes/week with Speak Agent. The full-year, two-phase study was sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
Significant Favorable Effects meets-ESSA-evidenceMeets

NSF-two-phase-findings

Multilingual Learners using Speak Agent in the NSF study significantly outperformed the control group (by 210%) using an independently designed test of academic STEM concepts. Other studies found similar effect sizes.

No Significant Unfavorable Effects meets-ESSA-evidenceMeets No statistically significant unfavorable effects have been observed to date in any Speak Agent study, including studies by Rockman et al and the NSF, Leanlab Education and KIPP Foundation, or by Montgomery County, Maryland.
Multi-Site Sample and Overlap

meets-ESSA-evidence Meets

Speak Agent efficacy data were collected from six schools in two states during two concurrent studies with a total of 230 students, 85% of whom were classified as Limited English Proficiency (LEP).

Model

In addition to the studies, all Speak Agent products for grades K-12 use a research-based logic model and proven effective instructional strategies. Speak Agent applies 36 research-based instructional strategies across its varied activities. The research behind these strategies is compiled by the Learner Variability Project, a service provided by non-profit partner Digital Promise. 

Research-Based Strategies for English Learners

You may further explore the rationale behind our ELL strategies at our research partner website below:

Visit ELL Workspace