Evolution Institute Projects

Do – Redesigning the learning environment

Do – Redesigning the learning environment
Do – Redesigning the learning environment

The Evolution Institute is incorporating the insights gained from an evolutionary perspective (ultimate factors) with current research in psychology, group behavior, education, as well as the biological sciences (proximate factors) to develop proof-of-concept models designed for replication.

Our Regents Academy program for failing high school students saw a huge jump in the pass rate within one year. The students who had failedRegents graph at least three core courses achieved district-wide cohort parity on the state assessment tests while the control saw no change in performance.  This was the result of a careful design and implementation of a group self-management process, led by EI President, David Wilson, and developed with Nobel Laureate, Elinor Ostrom.  In addition, program designers included Dennis Embry (The Good Behavior Game) and Tony Biglan (Oregon Research Institute). The project was managed by Rick Kauffman.  The participants were randomly assigned to either the Regents Academy or the regular curriculum, which served as control. Click here for the PLOS One article and click here for a takeaway flyer on this program.

Our Early Learning Center initiative addresses years of underachievement and poor outcomes in low income communities.  We will concentrate on birth through 8 years of age – the foundational years for youth and the years that can be predictive of latter life achievement. While other programs have done so with a large infusion of money, our efforts will build upon our successes with the Regents Academy that demonstrated that design principle can have a huge impact on performance and outcomes. This has an advantage of being tied directly into the research on what works as well as allows the work to proceed on existing funding levels.  This makes it scalable and replicable.

Based on research into best practices n community development as well as governance strategies rooted in quality of life literature, this will be a joint effort with a community-based church, Bible-Truth Ministries (click here and here to read about this ‘odd couple’ of church and evolution),  to create a publicly funded non-religious learning environment that will serve studnets and their families in a very low income community in east Tampa.  The goals are to be above grade level in reading skills by the time they are ready to leave the school (grade 2) and to create a replicable and sustainable model for an effective early education environment.  Our advisors include leading researchers in literacy, play, math education, and developmental psychology, practitioners in early childhood education, and agencies with a stake in the outcomes.


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