ISR Awards

Reading Partners SIF Evaluation-Supplement

This supplement extends the work of the EMCF SIF Reading Partners Evaluation. (described below) beyond the current end date of 12/31/2014 and provides funding for the PI through April 2015.

Founded in 1999, Reading Partners (RP) has developed an innovative, cost-effective approach to addressing the problem of low literacy skills. RP helps children become proficient readers by empowering communities to provide individualized instruction with measurable results. RP operates in over 60 schools across the country, where supervised volunteers provide one-on-one literacy tutoring to struggling readers in K-5. Internal data collection and analysis has shown that students participating in Reading Partners improve their reading skills at a significantly faster rate than peer control students. This external evaluation, which is in part funded by a Social Innovation Fund grant distributed by the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, will help better understand the effect of Reading Partners on participating students as well as provide important information on the implementation of Reading Partners in the school environment.
The main impact research questions that we hope to answer are:
1. What impact does Reading Partners have on the reading ability of students who participate, as compared to students who do not?
2. What impact does Reading Partners have on the learning behaviors (classroom attentiveness, assignment completion) of students who participate, as compared to students who do not?
We are also planning to conduct implementation research of the Reading Partners program that will explore how Reading Partners is implemented in schools, how it fits in with other literacy programming into the larger school environment, and how it has addressed challenges with implementation.

In October of 2013 a decision was made to add a cost study component to the current Reading Partners? evaluation. The goal of this cost study is to assess the relative efficiency of the Reading Partners program in improving students reading scores compared to the other supplemental reading programs provided to the control condition in study schools. The cost analysis will provide a range of costs associated with the provision of Reading Partners and the alternative programs at 5 to 8 school sites that were included as part of the impact evaluation. Specifically the study will be designed and implemented to address the following research question: What is the cost of Reading Partners compared to the cost of the control condition at various sites that were included in the impact evaluation?