The Enhanced Reading Opportunities (ERO) study is a demonstration and rigorous evaluation of two supplemental literacy programs that aim to improve the reading comprehension skills and school performance of struggling ninth-grade readers. The U.S. Department of Education is funding the implementation and evaluation of these programs. AIR is conducting the evaluation in partnership with MDRC and Survey Research Management.
The first two (of three) reports discuss the impact the two interventions had on two cohorts of students’ reading comprehension skills through the end of their ninth-grade year. The reports (Early Impact and Implementation Findings and Findings from the Second Year of Implementation, see links below) also describe the implementation of the programs during the first year of the study and provides an assessment of the overall fidelity with which the participating schools adhered to the program design specified by the developers.
The key findings discussed in the reports include the following:
- On average, across the 34 participating high schools, the supplemental literacy programs significantly improved student reading comprehension test scores.
- Impacts on reading comprehension are larger for the 15 schools where (1) the ERO programs began within six weeks of the start of the school year and (2) implementation was classified as moderately or well aligned with the program model, compared with impacts for the 19 schools where at least one of these conditions was not met.
- Seventy-seven percent of the ERO students were still reading at two or more years below grade level at the end of ninth grade. One of the two interventions—Reading Apprenticeship Academic Literacy (RAAL)—had a positive and statistically significant impact on reading comprehension test scores and the other, Xtreme Reading, had a positive but not significant impact.
- The impact of the ERO programs in the second year is not statistically different from their impact in the first year of implementation.
- The implementation fidelity of the ERO programs was more highly rated in the second year of the study than in the first year.