The Results of a Randomized Control Trial Evaluation of the SPARK Literacyeracy Program

The Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), a district serving over 80,000 students, faces a significant challenge to teach its students how to read and write. According to the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination (WKCE) only 15% of MPS students were proficient in reading (2011) compared to 35% statewide. The results of the WKCE are consistent with results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and the ACT, which show that MPS students struggle with literacy throughout their education; only 15% of 4th grade MPS students are proficient in reading (NAEP, 2011) and 14% of MPS 11th graders scored at least 21 on the ACT Reading Test, the benchmark identified for college readiness (special analysis). The results of the NAEP further shows that there are significant achievement gaps for minority and low-income students; 39% of 4th grade white MPS students are proficient in reading, compared to 7% of black and 15% of Hispanic students and 7% of 4th grade low-income (free/reduced lunch participants) MPS students are proficient in reading, compared to 48% of non-low-income students. These statistics demonstrate that the need for increased literacy opportunities in the Milwaukee area is urgent, and that this need is even more pronounced for low-income and minority students. SPARK was created in 2005 by Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee (BGCGM) to address this need. In 2010, SPARK received a Department of Education Investing in Innovation (i3) grant award to further develop the program and expand it to seven additional low-income and minority Milwaukee elementary schools.
Authors citation
Jones, C. J.
Publication
UVM Education
Year of Study
2015
Subject
Literacy
Program Name
SPARK Literacyeracy Program
Program Evaluated
SPARK Literacyeracy Program
Tutor Type
Volunteer - Paid
Duration
2 years
Sample size
194
Grade Level(s)
Kindergarten,
1st Grade,
2nd Grade
Student-Tutor Ratio
1
Effect Size
0.51
Study Design
Student Randomized
Full citation
Jones, C. J. (2015). The Results of a Randomized Control Trial Evaluation of the SPARK Literacyeracy Program (Socially Responsible Evaluation in Education, pp. 1–17). UVM Education.