Sep 20 2022

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Finalists will further test their modernized and accelerated methods of studying educational outcomes leveraging data collection, machine learning, and AI 

LOS ANGELES (Sept. 20, 2022) -- XPRIZE, the world’s leader in designing and operating incentive competitions to solve humanity’s grand challenges, today announced the three teams selected as finalists in the Digital Learning Challenge, a global competition to to modernize, accelerate, and improve the technology and processes for studying effective learning and education. The competition is sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the independent and nonpartisan statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Education.  

With teams competing for a $1M prize pool, the Digital Learning Challenge incentivizes the use of AI methods, big data, and machine learning to better understand practices that support educators, parents, policymakers, researchers, and the tens of millions of Americans enrolled in formal education every year. Competitors are in pursuit of a deeper understanding of which educational processes are working well and which should be improved to achieve better outcomes. 

For the pilot study phase, ten teams had six months to demonstrate the capabilities of their systems in an accredited education institutional setting and then 30 days to launch a replication study with at least one unique learner demographic. Teams built systems to demonstrate the educational infrastructure through rapid, reproducible experiments in a formal learning context. 

A judging panel of experts reviewed the pilot study technical submissions and based on the submissions and data selected three teams to move on to the final round in competition. A variety of education and technology experts are serving as competition judges. The final experiments must be replicated at least five times with three or more distinct learner demographics. 

Finalist teams that will share $250,000 are: 

  • Adaptive Experimentation Accelerator (formerly known as HINTS-IAI) – Raleigh, North Carolina (North Carolina State University in partnership with University of Toronto and Carnegie Mellon University)
  • Terracotta – Bloomington, Indiana (Indiana University)
  • UpGrade by Carnegie Learning (formerly known as Upgrade) – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

“This new phase of the competition will further evaluate each teams’ technology, data, and user experience, but also review the strength of their business plans,” said IES Director Dr. Mark Schneider. “At this junction, the ability to test teams effectiveness will offer valuable insights into how to help close the learning gap and offer a more in-depth look at how technology is used in measuring educational methods.” 

“We’re thrilled to be in a position to continue to demonstrate our experimental design in a formal education setting,” stated XPRIZE Digital Learning Challenge Technical Lead Dr. Monique Golden. “Since the pilot, we’ve identified three teams that will move on to the finals in the hopes of better understanding how we can harness big data to impact the education experience for millions of Americans across the country.” 

For more information on the Digital Learning Challenge and the teams involved, please visit xprize.org/challenge/digitallearning.  



XPRIZE is a global future-positive movement, delivering truly radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. XPRIZE inspires and empowers a global community of problem-solvers to positively impact our world by crowdsourcing solutions through large-scale competitions, tackling the world’s grandest challenges in exploration, environment and human equity. Active competitions include the $100 Million XPRIZE Carbon Removal with Elon Musk, $15 Million XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion, $10 Million XPRIZE Rainforest, $10 Million ANA Avatar XPRIZE, $5 Million XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling, and $1 Million Digital Learning Challenge. Donate, sign up or join a team at xprize.org.

About the Institute of Education Sciences

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is the independent and nonpartisan statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Education. Their mission is to provide scientific evidence on which to ground education practice and policy and to share this information in formats that are useful and accessible to educators, parents, policymakers, researchers, and the public. Learn more at ies.ed.gov/.