Some Estimates for the Cost Effectiveness of Educational Inputs for Reading Performance of Disadvantaged Children in California Title I Projects

by Herbert J. Kiesling

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Discusses and gives cost implications of a previous RAND study (R-781), which relates instructional strategy and other factors to the reading achievement of a 10 percent sample of disadvantaged California students of four elementary grades in special remedial programs. Unlike some larger surveys, RAND found modest average success, and some very respectable gains in learning when reading specialists with paraprofessional aides gave individualized instruction. Studies that showed no gains from Title I projects may have gone astray by comparing program children with superior control groups. Our findings offer reasonable hope that an additional yearly expenditure of $300 per pupil would bring the educationally deficient children to a learning rate near the national norm of a month's gain per month of instruction. This may not necessarily apply to large urban schools with 100 percent black, Spanish-surnamed, or American Indian students, however; none of the 13 most successful programs had more than 50 percent.

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