Monday, May 07, 2007

Readng First data : not impressive

Reading First gains unimpressive
Sent to the Seattle Times, May 7, 2007

The Times (“Spellings’ errors,” May 7) notes that
Congress is carefully examining procedures at the US
Dept of Education relating to possible “mismanagement
and cronyism” related to Reading First. They might
also want to take a closer look at the test scores.

Last month, the department announced a gain of 12%
over two years in the percentage of third grade
children reading at the “proficient” level under
Reading First. I examined this data and found that the
actual gain was only 6%. And I also found that some
states did poorly: Most notably, Pennsylvania’s
children declined nearly 10% between 2004 and 2006.
This is not impressive, especially when we consider
the fact that Reading First provides an extra 100
minutes a week of reading instruction, which could
total an extra semester over a two year period.

Also, the Department of Education insists on the use
of strict scientific methodology when evaluating the
impact of a program, but ignored a fundamental
scientific principle in reported the reading data:
There was no comparison group: Even the 6% increase
could have been due to factors other than the use of
Reading First.

Stephen Krashen

My analysis: (April 24,
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