National Student Support Accelerator posted RCT results for Chapter One - a program that provides two years of tutoring to struggling readers in grades K-1. Quick take: High-quality RCT finds small impacts (not statistically significant) on reading at the 2y mark - i.e., end of 1st grade.


  • Chapter One provides 2y of tutoring to struggling readers in grades K-1, delivered by part-time tutors in the classroom who provide short bursts of instruction to individual students each week over the course of the year. This is a low-cost program - about $375-$450/student.

Study Design:

  • The study randomly assigned 818 kindergartners in 13 Broward County FL schools to tutoring vs control (usual services).  93% were Black or Hispanic, & 56% low income. Based on careful review, this was a high-quality RCT (e.g., baseline balance, low attrition on district reading tests).


  • At end of 1st grade, the study found no statistically significant effect on the district test of reading with comprehension. (The non-significant effect was 0.10 standard deviations - equating to ~7% improvement over the annual reading gain otherwise expected in 1st grade.)

  • The study found a possible effect on *pre-reading* skills (e.g., phonics, phonemic awareness): effect of 0.11 (not statistically significant) & reduction in percent at-risk from 54% C to 45% T (statistically significant). Such skills may or may not lead to future gains in actual reading.

  • The study report highlights larger pre-reading effects found in program-administered (as opposed to district-administered) tests, but these are less reliable measures - vulnerable to bias.


  • The study is ongoing, and it’s possible that impacts on reading will appear in future grades - so stay tuned.

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