Improving Implementation Impact and Efficiency

Evidence-based programming is dynamic. Demonstrating that a program “works” is not enough—we must also focus on how programs work.

Our projects related to impact and efficiency are driven by important questions raised by our programs, partners, and other stakeholders. These questions advance the collective understanding of evidence-based practices and lead to actionable learnings that can directly inform program modifications.

Research Contributions

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In this study, our team worked with Dr. Klingbeil (UW-Madison) to compare spring literacy scores among students assigned to a combined literacy and math support experience to those receiving only literacy support. Contrary to program assumptions, students who got both reading and math support scored significantly higher on the spring literacy test than students who received literacy support alone. The results of this work helped solidify the value of a combined focus on math and reading within the Early Learning Corps program.

Read the full study here


Conducted in partnership with Dr. Van Norman (Lehigh) this study sought to inform a key concern expressed by Math Corps--do tutors need to demonstrate strong math skills to effectively tutor students in math? The results of this work provided evidence that tutor math skills had no bearing on student response to tutoring.

Conversely, tutors who adhered to the intervention design were much more likely to see greater gains among their students. That is, tutor success had very little to do with what they knew, and much more to do with how they delivered tutoring. This study helped inform the program’s decision to drop math skill requirements for tutors.

Read the full study here.


In this collaboration with Drs. Klingbeil (UW-Madison) and Van Norman (Lehigh), we examined the value of 5-minute weekly practice sessions to help elementary students continue growing their literacy skills after leaving intervention.

Students randomly assigned to receive post-intervention check-ins were more likely to meet end-of-year benchmarks, with statistically significant effects observed for Kindergarten (15% probability increase) and third grade students (16% probability increase). This efficient solution was later folded into all Reading Corps programming.


Conducted in partnership with Drs. Stewart (UMN - Moorhead) and Kaminski (Acadience Learning) this study examined the impact of a vocabulary supplement to reading intervention. Results were mixed, with strong results observed among kindergarten students, but no significant results for first grade students. This study helped inform future research on the use of vocabulary-specific strategies for intervention and guided the use of such supports within the Reading Corps program.

Improving Implementation Impact and Efficiency
(Peer-Reviewed Publications)

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