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Summaries of RCT Grants

Continuation of a promising RCT of high-dosage literacy tutoring for disadvantaged 1st graders in Chicago Public Schools

This project will extend an LJAF-funded pilot RCT of a high-dosage literacy tutoring program for 1st graders delivered by SAGA Innovations in low-income Chicago schools.

Grant Recipients: SAGA Innovations, Inc. and the University of Chicago

Term: 2017 –2020

Principal Investigator: Jonathan Guryan, Ph. D., Northwestern University and University of Chicago Urban Labs

Director of SAGA Innovations: Alan Safran, J.D., The George Washington University

Funding: $225,000 ($175,000 to SAGA Innovations, Inc. and $50,000 to University of Chicago Urban Labs)

Summary: This project will extend an LJAF-funded pilot RCT of a high-dosage literacy tutoring program for 1st graders delivered by SAGA Innovations in low-income Chicago schools. As brief background, tutoring programs for at-risk students in early elementary school have been found effective in a number of prior RCTs, with high-dosage tutoring often generating the largest effects. The goal of this ongoing LJAF-funded RCT is to measure the impact on first- and second-grade reading outcomes of a high-dosage tutoring program that is delivered at modest cost by full-time in-school-day tutors who are well-educated community members willing to work for ten school months for a modest stipend as a public service. The program’s cost is approximately $3000 per pupil, but may vary depending on school size and other factors.

Under a prior LJAF grant, SAGA Innovations successfully developed and is now implementing this program within two charter schools in low-income neighborhoods in Chicago.


The new grant provides additional funds to continue the pilot RCT for a second year; this funding will double the study’s sample size to over 300 students and thus increase the study’s power to detect meaningful impacts (e.g., 0.20 standard deviations). The funding also will enable the study to measure impacts at the end of two school years for the two cohorts of students. Should the program be found effective in this study, its expansion in Chicago and elsewhere could largely be funded by federal Title 1 funds.

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

Grants

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