The Reading First Advisory Committee is hoping that its analysis of a recent federal evaluation of the reading initiative will clarify for policy makers what we know, and don’t know, about the effectiveness of the program. In meetings this summer, the committee worked on a statement outlining its concerns about the Reading First Impact Study: Interim Report.
The study found that Reading First funding had no significant impact on students’ reading comprehension. But many researchers have questioned the complicated design of the study, and criticized the use of a comparison group that likely had significant exposure to Reading First-type instruction.
The 17-page statement, which the committee presented to the federal officials over the past several weeks, describes what its members consider to be weaknesses in the study.
“Although the Impact Study has technical strengths, it has fundamental flaws that severely limit its utility for informing policy decisions,” the statement says.
The prominent reading researchers on the committee are hoping lawmakers in Washington will reconsider a decision to eliminate the $1 billion Reading First program in the fiscal 2009 federal budget.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.