Adult Learning & Education
AutoTutor - ARC
The Sabatini Assessment of Reading Ability (SARA) is a multicomponent literacy assessment which target the fundamental elements of reading. This includes word recognition, vocabulary, morphology, reading efficiency, and overall reading comprehension.
Although many adults in the United States are not yet proficient readers, assessments for adult reading literacy education are few. For this reason, the Institute of Educational Sciences awarded Dr. Sabatini and his team funds for the project titled “Developing and Validating Web-administered, Reading for Understanding Assessments for Adult Education.” This project aims to create measures of adults’ learning for use in screening, profiling of strengths and weaknesses, and monitoring progress and growth. Intended for in-class or remote administration, the assessments are web-based with automated scoring. The measures can be used to tailor learning for an individual, to inform instruction, to plan educational program strategy or monitor effectiveness.
Digital Skills module
Being literate in today's world means more than just reading books. In fact, most reading is now done digitally - on computers, tablets, and phones. While this opens up a whole new world of accessible text, it also presents a set of new challenges, especially to people who are unfamiliar with digital technology.
Modern literacy is digital literacy. In order to help people develop their reading and comprehension skills, we're building digital skills module that complement our other assessments and instruction to ensure that everyone is capable and confidence reading both online and off.
This IES project awarded to and led by ETS (PI: Yi Song), is also in collaboration with the University of Delaware (co-PI: Ralph Ferretti) and University of Memphis (co-PI John Sabatini).
This exploratory project addresses the need to develop students’ argumentative writing skills. To do this, the project is conducting a series of iterative design studies that target hypothesized malleable factors in written (and oral) argumentative discourse. Specifically, we're exploring new capabilities for using online, collaborative environments to identify the factors that impact the development of middle grades students' argumentative writing skills. The results of this program of research will serve as a foundation for developing an instructional program to improve student writing.
NAEP Trend Gap Analysis
This subaward funded by the Manhattan Strategy Group based on contract with the NAEP National Assessment Governing Board is an effort led by Dr. John Sabatini and done jointly with The Center for Research in Education Policy (CREP) and co-PI Dr. Todd Zobotsky to analyze NAEP data.
Reading scores have declined since 2015, a trend that has become entwined with refreshed debates over the science of reading instruction and learning. The NAEP contextual data can be used to explore how teachers and school administrators implement reading/math curricula. Describing which classroom and school factors related to higher or lower reading scores could help point to locations and approaches that work more effectively in improving students’ reading performance.
Specifically, this exploratory research study is designed to understand the divergent trend lines in the NAEP reading and mathematics data (low-performers slipping and high-performers remaining steady or improving). This research thread could spotlight places where the pattern(s) emerge to a greater or lesser degree and could find common characteristics of such places through the NAEP contextual data.
The 2018 & 2024 NAEP Oral Reading Fluency Study
Dr. Sabatini is part of a team developing, administering, analyzing, and reporting on the NAEP Special Studies of Oral Reading. In 2018, the NAEP ORF was administered on tablets and scored using automated scoring algorithms. The team is now working on as they a 2024 replication of the study.
As described in the Introduction of the 2020 report (White et al., 2020)"
"The 2018 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) study was conducted to examine the oral reading performance of fourth-grade public school students. The study was administered to a nationally representative sample of 1,800 students between January and March of 2018. It measured students’ oral reading fluency in terms of speed, accuracy, and expression.
"The NAEP ORF study was administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) first in 1992 and later in 2002. In several ways, the rationale and aims of the previous studies are reflected in the current study. As described by Daane et al. (2005), the study was “designed to examine several important components of literacy development that are integrated in proficient reading—reading accuracy, reading rate, and reading fluency—and to compare these to overall reading comprehension as measured in the main NAEP ReadingAssessment.” (p. 2)."
For more information, see:
"The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) is an international assessment and research project designed to measure reading achievement at the fourth-grade level, as well as school and teacher practices related to instruction. Fourth-grade students complete a reading assessment and questionnaire that addresses students’ attitudes toward reading and their reading habits. In addition, questionnaires are given to students’ teachers and school principals to gather information about students’ school experiences in developing reading literacy. Since 2001, PIRLS has been administered every 5 years, with the United States participating in all past assessments. PIRLS is sponsored by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) and conducted in the United States by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
In this project, Dr. Sabatini and his lab are working with the PIRLS team at Boston College to update the PIRLS Reading Literacy Framework and advising on new digital task development. In the forthcoming 2026 framework will have integrated what was previously referred to as ePIRLS 2021, in acknowledgment that in the 21st century, understanding children’s reading achievement requires us to learn how they read and comprehend in both traditional print and digital literacy environments.
CREATE Adult Research Network
The AutoTutor for Adult Reading Comprehension project is part of the CREATE Adult Skills Network, funded by the IES and led by a Consortium including AIR, Abt Associates, the EdTech Center of World Education, and JFF. As stated on the CREATE website (https://createadultskills.org/)"
The project supports the six member projects to collaborate with each other , to build shared knowledge, and to disseminate that knowledge to stakeholders.
Dr. Sabatini is collaborating with MindTrust Inc. on an IES SBIR funded project, EdScape XR.
EdScape XR is an accessible virtual ‘escape room’ platform designed to advance middle and highschool STEM learning by engaging students in an interactive, multi-modal collaborative problem-solving learning environment. It addresses a well-documented issue in our education system - a lack of sustained interest in STEM subjects as typically taught in the classroom.
Rooms are designed to augment traditional modes of instruction by reinforcing conceptual understanding and enhancing students’ long-term retention of the material. Our assessment dashboard will help teachers realize which NGSS topics may need additional coverage based on student performance within those rooms and puzzles. The platform can be used for formal, informal, in-class, remote, or hybrid learning.
Intended educational outcomes include increased engagement, interest, and comfort with STEM subjects; problem-solving skills; and foundational subject knowledge.
In Phase I, we built a single room around the NGSS requirements for Photosynthesis and are currently piloting it in middle schools. It is complete with multiplayer support, a thematic room & storyline, collaborative AI, analytics, multiple difficulty levels, customizable avatars, and cross platform support.
Dr. Sabatini serves as an technical advisor to a project funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement to REACT DC (https://www.reactdc.org/) in collaboration with Workbay, Inc. (https://www.workbay.net/) to develop and expand the ReactWorks.org Platform.
The ReactWorks.org Platform is an interactive career development platform that links recruitment, skill building and career navigation into one system delivered via Web and mobile iOS and Android applications.
ReactWorks.org provides tailored and integrated solutions for every economic stakeholder to achieve their goals:
● Educators: curate and assign skills-based training and career development for their students and connect with local business’ demands to create community-relevant lesson plans.
● Employers: provide pre-hire training, implement skills-based hiring practices, promote company mission and pathways, attract, train, and retain local talent.
● Students/Job Seekers: define their career pathway, find and keep careers that provide purpose, prosperity, and growth in the new economy.
● Super Administrators: predict, respond-to, and support the needs of the local economy, at every level. Close workforce gaps with real data and analytics and administer targeted and effective tools for their constituents.
REACT DC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides social services support and holistic resettlement assistance for Afghan entrants in northern Virginia to help them become self-sufficient. The women’s program offers community, education, and employment assistance to Afghan women who face additional barriers. The Refugee Career Pathways Program grant will fund career pathway and integration activities for 292 Afghan entrant long-term beneficiaries and approximately 529 unique monthly beneficiaries. It supports more entrants by providing gratis access to the REACTworks career pathway software platform to resettlement agencies, workforce development organizations, and volunteer community sponsors.