A national panel of literacy experts selected the Reading Apprenticeship Academic Literacy Course as one of only two 9th grade reading interventions to be evaluated in this randomized controlled study. Both courses were designed for students reading two to five years below grade level. Students and their teachers in 17 schools nationwide used the Reading Apprenticeship Academic Literacy course.
Independent research agencies MDRC and AIR measured course implementation and student outcomes, including reading comprehension, persistence in school, course-taking patterns, and performance on high-stakes tests.
Findings demonstrated that the Reading Apprenticeship Academic Literacy Course had a positive and statistically significant impact on students’ reading comprehension scores — a 63% improvement over and above expected year-to-year gains. In addition, the course had a positive and statistically significant impact on students’ grade point averages in core academic classes and their state standardized test scores. These gains did not persist when students were no longer enrolled in the course, suggesting that schools should expect to provide more than a single year of literacy support for their most inexperienced readers.