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Study finds students with Experience Corps tutors make 60 percent more progress in critical reading skills
Date:4/8/2009

e school year, teachers referred all students who needed assistance with reading. More than 1,000 students were referred, and parental consent to participate in the study was obtained for 81 percent of those referred. Those students were then randomly assigned to work with an Experience Corps tutor for one academic year or to a control group. All students were tested at the beginning and end of that academic year.

The Experience Corps program tutored 430 of these students, and 451 were in the control group. There were 332 first, 304 second, and 186 third graders, and 420 males and 402 females in the final data set. Analysis of pretest data collected by MPR showed that the Experience Corps students and control groups were equivalent on all measured characteristics.

The program succeeded in delivering the intervention to a large number of the students. About half of students received 30 to 49 sessions, and the mean number of sessions was 45. Three-quarters of the students received over 35 sessions, which represents about one session a week throughout the program period. When including only the students who received at least 35 sessions, a criterion that was chosen to indicate that the students received the intervention as intended, the effects appear to be stronger.

Data for the study came from three sources: interviews with the students, assessments completed by teachers, and school records. MPR interviewers assessed reading ability at the beginning and end of the school year in face-to-face interviews with the students. Standardized reading tests were used: the Woodcock Johnson word attack subscale (WJ-WA), which tests students' ability to sound out new words; the Woodcock Johnson passage comprehension subscale (WJ-PC), which tests reading comprehension; and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary test (PPVT-III), which tests vocabulary acquisition for young children.

At the beginning and end of the academic year, teachers completed assess
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Contact: Jessica Martin
jessica_martin@wustl.edu
314-935-5251
Washington University in St. Louis
Source:Eurekalert

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