+

Education strategies to improve outcomes by adolescence

Education strategies can help elementary school students improve their reading skills by third grade, help middle school students succeed in math, and ensure that all children develop healthy social-emotional skills and habits.

Children who have achieved strong academic and social outcomes by adolescence are more likely to graduate from high school, continue on to post-secondary education, and obtain high-quality employment.

How do outcomes in elementary and middle school affect economic mobility?

Reading at grade level by third grade is among the strongest predictors of high school graduation and college attendance. 1 2

Until the end of third grade, children are learning to read. Starting in fourth grade, they are reading to learn. After third grade, struggling readers have difficulty comprehending curriculum materials, diminishing their ability to keep up with classmates and reducing their overall academic motivation.

Reading interventions before third grade increase adolescent and adult literacy. 3

For 85-90 percent of poor readers, evidence-based programs implemented before third grade can increase skills to grade level. If interventions are delayed until children are nine years or older, 75 percent of below average readers will continue to have literacy problems through high school and adulthood.

Middle school math performance is a strong predictor of future academic and professional success. 4 5

Students who complete algebra by 8th grade attend college at higher rates than students who do not complete algebra.

Completing algebra early has a positive impact on highly mobile career trajectories. 6

The earlier that students are able to complete algebra, the earlier they are able to move on to more advanced math coursework. This has strong implications for career trajectory, particularly the ability to pursue STEM majors in college.

Strong high school math accomplishment helps students avoid remedial coursework in college. 7 8

Between 60 and 70 percent of entering freshman in community colleges enroll in remedial coursework, with the majority of these students needing remediation in math. 40 percent of students in remedial courses at two-year colleges and 25 percent of students in four-year colleges do not complete their degree.

Categories of successful interventions

  • Child wellness programs: School-based programs that seek to improve student wellbeing, create healthier learning environments, and reduce conflict between students
  • Effective teaching: Strategies that improve teacher quality, provide professional development opportunities for teachers, and attract and retain effective instructors
  • Evidence-based curricula: Structured classroom programs that build specific reading and math skills

Evidence-based interventions

Intervention Type Category Evidence Level ARP Eligibility
Cognitive Tutor - Algebra 1 Program
  • Evidence-based math curricula
Proven (highest tier) Yes
Community schools Strategy
  • Community schools
Strong (second-highest tier) Yes
Everyday Mathematics Program
  • Evidence-based math curricula
Strong (second-highest tier) Yes
Fraction Face Off Program
  • Evidence-based math curricula
Strong (second-highest tier) Yes
Full-day kindergarten Policy
  • School-wide practices
Proven (highest tier) Yes
Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) Program
  • Charter schools
Proven (highest tier) Yes
Leveled Literacy Intervention Program
  • Evidence-based reading curricula
Strong (second-highest tier) Yes
Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing Program
  • Evidence-based reading curricula
Strong (second-highest tier) Yes
Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies Program
  • Evidence-based reading curricula
Strong (second-highest tier) Yes
Reading Recovery Program
  • Evidence-based reading curricula
Strong (second-highest tier) Yes
Small Schools of Choice Strategy
  • School-wide practices
Strong (second-highest tier) Yes
Small elementary school classes Policy
  • School-wide practices
Promising (Third-highest tier) Yes
Sound Partners Program
  • Evidence-based reading curricula
Strong (second-highest tier) Yes
SpellRead Program
  • Evidence-based reading curricula
Strong (second-highest tier) Yes
Stepping Stones to Literacy Program
  • Evidence-based reading curricula
Proven (highest tier) Yes
Success for All Program
  • Evidence-based reading curricula
Strong (second-highest tier) Yes
Summer learning programs Strategy
  • After-school, extracurricular, and summer programs
Proven (highest tier) Yes
Teach for America Program
  • Teacher training and professional development
Strong (second-highest tier) Yes
The Expert Mathematician Program
  • Evidence-based math curricula
Strong (second-highest tier) Yes
Universal teacher classroom management practices Strategy
  • Teacher training and professional development
Proven (highest tier) Yes
Footnotes
  1. Goerge, Lesnick, and Smithgall, "Third Grade Reading Level Predictive of Later Life Outcomes," Chapin Hall 2010
    https://www.chapinhall.org/research/third-grade-reading-level-predictive-of-later-life-outcomes/
  2. Fiester, "Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters," Annie E. Casey Foundation 2010
    https://www.ccf.ny.gov/files/9013/8262/2751/AECFReporReadingGrade3.pdf
  3. Lesnick, Goerge, Smithgall, and Gwynne, "Reading on Grade Level in Third Grade: How Is It Related to High School Performance and College Enrollment?" Annie E. Casey Foundation 2010
    https://www.aecf.org/resources/reading-on-grade-level-in-third-grade-how-is-it-related-to-high-school-perf/
  4. Balfanz, Herzog, and Mac Iver, "Preventing Student Disengagement and Keeping Students on the Graduation Path in Urban Middle-Grades Schools: Early Identification and Effective Interventions," Educational Psychologist 2007
    https://new.every1graduates.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/preventing_student_disengagement.pdf
  5. Hein, Smerdon, and Sambolt, "Predictors of Postsecondary Success," American Institutes for Research 2013
    https://ccrscenter.org/sites/default/files/CCRS%20Center_Predictors%20of%20Postsecondary%20Success_final_0.pdf
  6. U.S. Department of Education, "A Leak in the STEM Pipeline: Taking Algebra Early," 2018
    https://www2.ed.gov/datastory/stem/algebra/index.html
  7. Bailey, "Rethinking Developmental Education in Community College," Community College Research Center 2009
    https://ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/media/k2/attachments/rethinking-developmental-education-in-community-college-brief.pdf
  8. Complete College America, "Time is the Enemy," Lumina Foundation 2011
    https://www.luminafoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/time-is-the-enemy.pdf