Skip Navigation
Funding Opportunities | Search Funded Research Grants and Contracts

IES Grant

Title: SERP-DCPS Partnership to Promote Early Literacy Success
Center: NCER Year: 2019
Principal Investigator: Donovan, Suzanne Awardee: Strategic Education Research Partnership (SERP) Institute
Program: Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships in Education Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (07/01/19 – 06/30/21) Award Amount: $400,000
Type: Researcher-Practitioner Partnership Award Number: R305H190057

Co-Principal Investigator: Colgan, Corinne

Partner Institutions: The Strategic Education Research Partnership Institute (SERP) and the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS)

Purpose: DCPS has worked to increase student reading proficiency in the early elementary grades but has found it difficult to help the lowest performing students in grade 1 and 2 reach proficiency by grade 3. The partnership team will identify teacher and school practices, along with other variables, associated with reading gains for the lowest performing K-3 students.

Partnership Activities: Monthly meetings of the partnership will address the design and implementation of that qualitative work, the results and interpretation of both the quantitative and qualitative work, and their dissemination. The research team will use DCPS's instruments to collect data in schools and provide feedback on the instruments and compare their ratings to those of the DCPS team.

Setting: The project will take place in the DCPS, an urban school district with approximately 48,000 students.

Population/Sample:Participants include students in grades K-3 in DCPS's 77 elementary schools of which 55 schools primarily serve students from low-income backgrounds.

Data Analytic Strategy: The partnership team will carry out two studies on K-3 students' reading achievement and the factors linked to reading achievement. First, through a secondary analysis of administrative data on students, teachers, and schools from three merged databases (student, teacher, and school), the team will do both a cross-sectional analysis for K-3 students in 2018-19 and a longitudinal analysis of the student cohort in kindergarten in 2015-16 through grade 3 in 2018-19. Second, the team will collect and analyze primary data (observations, interviews, and questionnaires) from three pairs of demographically matched elementary schools (each pair will include one school performing higher than expected in reading achievement and one underperforming school).

Outcomes: The primary outcomes of this project are the identification of factors linked to students' reading success and areas where DCPS can intervene to improve students' reading proficiency. Researchers will disseminate these findings through reports and briefings for DCPS, information provided on SERP's website, and through presentations and publications at conferences and in journals for practitioners, policymakers, and researchers.