Type: Public event

The on-going evaluation of a volunteer tutoring program for struggling readers


Robin Tepper Jacob, Research Associate Professor; Co-Director, Youth Policy Lab

Date & time

Sep 29, 2022, 12:00-12:50 pm EDT


Competence and confidence in reading constitute the foundation for all educational achievement. Students who struggle with reading inevitably struggle with all academic course work, and those who begin school behind their peers rarely catch up without significant intervention. Given the centrality of reading skills, the national statistics on literacy attainment, even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, were deeply distressing: two out of three American fourth-graders are reading below grade level, and almost one-third of children nationwide lack even basic reading skills. 

This talk will tell the story of an on-going evaluation of the Reading Partners program, a successful one-on-one volunteer tutoring program that serves struggling readers in elementary schools serving students from families with low-incomes. The talk will first summarize the results of an initial evaluation, conducted in 19 schools in three states, and which involved 1,265 students. It will then describe a new planned evaluation of the program, which will assess the effectiveness of program adaptations that have been made in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing demand for school-based tutoring

EPI is proud to present a series of education policy talks given by esteemed researchers, policy makers, and / or practitioners.

About the speaker

Robin Tepper Jacob is an associate research professor at the Institute for Social Research and the School of Education at the University of Michigan. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Michigan she was a research associate at Abt Associates, Inc. in Cambridge, MA. She has 15 years of experience conducting randomized trials and quasi-experimental evaluations of educational interventions, in a variety of different contexts. Her evaluations have targeted a wide range of outcomes including literacy, math, social-emotional competencies, executive functioning skills, and health related outcomes. She has conducted evaluations of federal initiatives, programs developed by nonprofit organizations, as well as those developed by for-profit service providers. She also has considerable expertise in survey design and implementation and the use of quasi-experimental methods for program evaluation. She received a BA from Indiana University in 1992 and a PhD in public policy from the University of Chicago.

More information regarding in-person events at the Ford School

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