Impact on Learning

LearnPlatform Launches Certification for Ed Tech Providers Meeting ESSA Evidence and Student Data, Privacy Standards

K–12 ed tech providers now have access to a certification process that proves their solution or product meets the learning-impact requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act and that the provider is committed to protecting student data and willing to share student data with districts.

Ed tech impact-analysis provider LearnPlatform today announced the launch of its IMPACT-Ready certification program, part of the company’s Evidence-as-a-Service program. The first group of certifications awarded to ed tech solutions will be announced before the start of the 2022–23 school year, according to a news release; any technology provider serving U.S. K–12 schools is eligible to apply for the certification.

The latest annual ed tech usage study by LearnPlatform found that, on average, the nation’s K–12 school districts used 1,449 tech solutions each month during the 2020–21 school year.

With ESSA funds requiring that providers document how each tech solution is defining measurable outcomes and achieving them, LearnPlatform earlier this year launched a subscription-based analytics solution called Evidence-as-a-Service to help ed tech providers and school districts better determine the impact of their digital learning platforms and to gather the necessary evidence to demonstrate compliance with ESSA, the company said.

Now providers have a one-time option to demonstrate compliance: earning an IMPACT-Ready certification. Any provider completing the requirements for certification receive an ESSA Level IV report documenting how its solution “demonstrates a rationale,” and the report will include a “logic model” defining the solution’s intended impact and goals, according to the news release.

The Evidence-as-a-Service program and associated certification and badges were developed in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education, the Institute of Education Sciences, education-focused advocacy groups, and state education agencies, LearnPlatform’s website states.

IMPACT-Ready certifications include a badge that districts can use in grant applications, and the badge will help districts identify which solutions have proven their commitment to impact research and compliance with ESSA, LearnPlatform said. Districts will know from the logic model included in the provider’s certification how to best implement a solution in their context — and, later, how to evaluate its impact.

Ed tech solutions that have earned their IMPACT-Ready certification will be searchable within LearnPlatform’s database of over 10,000 ed tech solutions serving K–12 schools, according to the news release.

“This certification and badge gives us confidence that a third party has validated that a solution provider is committed to building and showing evidence with us,” said Wake County (N.C.) Public Schools Chief Technology Officer Marlo Gaddis. “It will make it easier for us to know that we can work together and be focused on what's best for students.”

Educators on LearnPlatform will know when they see an ed tech solution with the IMPACT-Ready badge that those providers “are actively engaged in research, meet the evidence-based intervention requirements of ESSA and stimulus funds, are committed to protecting student data privacy, and are willing to safely and efficiently share data with their district partners.” LearnPlatform said.

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About the Author

Kristal Kuykendall is editor, 1105 Media Education Group. She can be reached at [email protected].