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An external evaluation team is conducting a study approved by the US Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation Office to test the efficacy of the New Tech design in the two project schools in South Carolina. This evaluation has three main components: a fidelity study; an analysis of outcome variables such as EOC scores, PASS/ACT Aspire scores, and discipline rates; and an analysis of variables such as critical thinking and higher order thinking skills. While official results for the Investing in Innovation (i3) project will not be available until late 2017 or early 2018, preliminary analyses (state data, teacher survey, on-site observations, and CWRA+ results) suggested the following results:


After only one year of New Tech implementation at CNT and SBHS, results were very promising. Data suggested that the New Tech design may already have had a positive effect, despite the fact that the design had only been in place one year at the time of analysis, and that the teachers were relatively inexperienced in project based learning. In English/Language Arts, the effect was positive for poor minorities, and in Math, the effect was positive for both poor and nonpoor students, minority and white.


After two years of implementation, results remained very positive overall. Regarding the 9th graders, data suggested that there was a significant main effect on End of Course (EOC) scores such that New Tech students scored higher on both Math and English/Language Arts EOC tests compared to students in the control schools. This effect remained after controlling for Poverty, Race, and Preexisting Achievement Level (8th grade PASS scores). EOC scores were not available for 10th grade students because these students were not scheduled to complete EOC exams during this project year.

A 2015 teacher survey suggested that, in the project schools, the New Tech design was more effective than ways of teaching they had used in the past. According to survey results, New Tech produces higher student grades, better student learning, more class participation, and increased student enthusiasm for course material; it increases students’ ability to apply or use information, and improves engagement of and collaboration among students; and increases interest in attending college and in pursuit of college credit while in high school.


New Tech ninth graders had higher EOC Math scores than control students, controlling for baseline achievement scores, race, and poverty. On the EOC ELA, New Tech ninth graders also had higher scores than control students, controlling for baseline achievement scores, race, and poverty.

Tenth grade NTN students were 2.27 times more likely to earn dual credit compared to control students, and eleventh grade NTN students were 3.75 times more likely to earn dual credit.

Eleventh grade NTN students had higher ACT Composite scores than control students, controlling for baseline achievement scores, race, and poverty. Analyses on subscales of the ACT indicate NTN students outperformed control students in the English, Writing, and Science. NTN students also outperformed control schools on all three subtests (Math, Reading, and Information) of ACT Work Keys.


Though not required as part of the federal guidelines, the project team is in the process of compiling 2016-17 data in order to provide a broader view of the success of the project. This 2017 data set will allow the evaluators to assess the effect of the New Tech treatment on a 12th grade sample who have experienced a full dose (i.e., four years) of treatment. This additional report will include EOC testing, dual credit enrollment, ACT test results, dropout and retention data, and very importantly, graduation data.