First of six reports on eight programs in five cities aimed at raising reading and mathematics skills of low-achieving students. The unique feature of these programs was that business firms were engaged in the instructional process, and their pay was, at least in part, dependent on how much the students learned. This report gives an overview of the programs in terms of their effects on the instructional process, cognitive growth, resource needs, evaluation, program management, returns to contractors, and likely future developments. Conclusions: Performance contracting produced respectable but not spectacular cognitive growth. When aides, materials, and equipment are substituted for highly trained personnel, costs can be less than for typical Title I remedial programs. It was found that effectiveness measures were unsatisfactory, and evaluation was the weakest link. Performance contracting proved useful for curriculum development and enabled new firms to break into the educational markets.
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