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American children often struggle with comprehending the more complex texts used in elementary school science and social studies classes. This is especially true of children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Title I of the No Child Left Behind Act calls for closing the gap between high and low achievers through instructional approaches shown to be effective by scientifically based research. Yet, little is known about the effectiveness of different approaches for teaching reading comprehension strategies, making it difficult for state and local educators to decide how to best use Title I funds to improve educational outcomes.

In response to this problem, the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences contracted with Mathematica Policy Research and its subcontractors to conduct a rigorous evaluation of reading comprehension curricula. This five-year, scientifically based study focuses on four reading comprehension curricula aimed at fifth graders. Mathematica’s subcontractors for the study include RMC Research Corporation, RG Research Group, the Vaughn Gross Center for Reading and Language Arts at the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Utah. The research team collected data through classroom observations, teacher surveys, and school records abstraction, as well as by administering standardized tests to students. Data analyses address critical questions on the effectiveness of reading comprehension curricula. Ultimately, the study findings could substantially influence reading instruction policy and practice.

Visit the Evaluation of Reading Comprehension Interventions website:

Funding Source

U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences


Reading Instruction

Type of Resource