Case Studies in Educational Performance Contracting

Norfolk, Virginia

by Michael Carpenter

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Describes Learning Research Associates' (LRA) contract instruction in reading, using regular reading teachers, in two poor, predominantly black Norfolk schools where students unable to read are common in higher elementary grades. LRA used a diagnostic/prescriptive approach with programmed materials. LRA pupils seemed happier, worked harder, and behaved more responsibly than students in regular classes in Norfolk. Test results were disappointing, partly because of a mismatch between test and program content; teachers emphasized vocabulary and word recognition, while the tests emphasized comprehension. However, the LRA approach costs about 25 percent less than other Title I reading programs in Norfolk, and Norfolk plans to adopt it for all remedial reading classes. The 1970-1971 deficiencies may be corrected by more emphasis on comprehension and by interactive evaluation contributing directly to program development. Pertinent documents compose the bulk of this report.

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