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Summaries of RCT Grants

RCT of a program, implemented city-wide in Baltimore, that provides eyeglasses to disadvantaged students to improve learning outcomes

Over the course of three years, the project will evaluate a system-wide approach to ensuring that all disadvantaged children enrolled in Baltimore City Public Schools in grades 3 to 8 are screened for vision problems, and given free eyeglasses if needed.

Grant recipient: Johns Hopkins University

Term: 2016 – 2020

Principal Investigators: Robert E. Slavin, Ph. D., School of Education, Johns Hopkins University
Megan Collins, MD, Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Funding: $449,889

Summary: Over the course of three years, the project will evaluate a system-wide approach to ensuring that all disadvantaged children enrolled in Baltimore City Public Schools in grades 3 to 8 are screened for vision problems, and given free eyeglasses if needed. It will provide principals and teachers with professional development and eyeglass management methods to increase the chances that students will use and protect their glasses and that glasses will be replaced if lost or broken. The Baltimore City Health Department will do initial screening, and a Los Angeles-based non-profit called Vision to Learn, which has mobile eye clinics outfitted to provide on-site services, will do full vision assessments and provide free eyeglasses. Staff from the Johns Hopkins School of Education and the Wilmer Eye Institute will work with the schools to train school staff and to maximize use of the glasses.

The initial vision assessments and free eyeglasses will be funded by Vision to Learn, which will ultimately seek reimbursement from the state of Maryland. Professional development for school staff will be provided by Johns Hopkins University and Medical School staff, paid for by a grant through the President of Johns Hopkins University and another from Baltimore’s Abell Foundation.

A total of 127 elementary and middle schools have been randomly assigned to receive the vision screening, evaluation, and intervention in 2016-2017, 2017-2018, or 2018-2019. The primary outcomes will be English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics test scores of students in grades 3-8 identified through screening as having refractive error requiring corrective lenses (approximately 6,500 students). The outcomes will be measured over both a one and two-year follow-up period, using mandated state achievement tests in Maryland. Prior RCT evidence suggests the intervention could produce meaningful effects on student achievement.

The study’s pre-specified analysis plan is linked here.

Grants

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