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May 19, 2015

MCPER has been awarded a $3.5 million federal grant to launch a 4-year project to improve literacy, increase engagement, and prevent dropout with at-risk high school English learners.

The new project, Preventing Dropout Among At-Risk Youth: A Study of Project GOAL With English Learners, will provide small-group reading instruction and a dropout prevention program to high school English learners who are struggling readers and are at risk of dropping out of school. Researchers will evaluate the effects of an individualized reading intervention and a dropout intervention separately and in combination. The interventions will be provided to students in their 9th- and 10th-grade years, and follow-up measures of cognitive and behavioral outcomes will be collected during their 11th- and 12th-grade years. The project is expected to contribute to the knowledge base on effective literacy instruction, strategies that increase school engagement, and scalable policies and practices that reduce dropout among at-risk English learners in high school who struggle to read for understanding.

Funded by the Institute of Education Sciences within the U.S. Department of Education, the project will build on the work of the previous MCPER project Preventing School Dropout With Secondary Students: Project GOAL, which was found to increase at-risk high schoolers' engagement and reading comprehension. MCPER Executive Director Sharon Vaughn will be the principal investigator; MCPER Associate Director Greg Roberts and Language for Learning Institute Director Letty Martinez will serve as co-principal investigators.