Project OCCAMS

Project: Research project

Project Details


Project OCCAMS is a partnership between Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University, Center for Gifted Education at the College of William & Mary, and Columbus City Schools. Key activities of Project OCCAMS include developing and delivering an accelerated online English language arts (ELA) curriculum that compacts ELA standards for grades 7-9 into a two-year course sequence in grades 7-8, thereby allowing students to earn a high school credit in middle school and enter high school one year accelerated from their age peers. Coursework is facilitated through Northwestern University’s Gifted LearningLinks online platform and uses a “hybrid” delivery model combining elements of online and in-class learning. The curriculum is designed using William & Mary’s Integrated Curriculum Model (ICM) and is guided by Ohio’s Quality Review Rubric for ELA curriculum to ensure alignment with learning standards. Pilot teachers are engaged as co-developers of the curriculum using a design-based research model. Annual summer intensive workshops are supplemented with site visits during the school year in which teachers provide input and feedback and participate in professional development. All project partners also participate in an active online community where feedback, coaching, and technical support are provided in near real-time. Project OCCAMS will serve cohorts of approximately 100 students, the majority of each are economically disadvantaged and members of minority subgroups underrepresented in gifted education programs and advanced coursework. One cohort of students has already completed the “alpha” version of the curriculum, originally supported by a federal Javits grant, showing promising results. On the state’s end-of-course exam for 9th grade ELA, participating students as a cohort earned scores similar to scores of students at the districts highest performing and most selective high school (despite being on average one year younger than the comparison group and having had one year less of instruction). The cohort had a “pass rate” higher than the traditional 9th grade classes of both the city’s highest performing charter school and the highest performing suburban school in the Central Ohio region. Funding from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation would be used to support revision of the curriculum, an additional year of coaching and professional development for participating teachers, ACT assessment costs for an additional cohort of students, and the production of multimedia elements that would be integrated into the online curriculum. Following revision and evaluation of the revised curriculum, the consortium hopes to make the curriculum available to additional districts and to individual students in schools lacking local opportunities through CTD’s online learning platform.
Effective start/end date3/1/1911/30/19


  • Jack Kent Cooke Foundation (Letter 4/22/19)


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