WWC review of this study

Effectiveness of Reading and Mathematics Software Products: Findings From Two Student Cohorts. NCEE 2009-4041

Campuzano, Larissa; Dynarski, Mark; Agodini, Roberto; Rall, Kristina (2009). National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED504657

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grade

Reviewed: February 2017

No statistically significant positive
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Reading achievement outcomes—Indeterminate effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Reading test score

Waterford Early Reading Program vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Full sample;
46 classes




Show Supplemental Findings

Reading test score

Waterford Early Reading Program vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Year 2 classrooms only;
20 classes





Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • Female: 48%
    Male: 52%

  • Urban


The study took place within 3 school districts and across 13 different schools. Two of the school districts were considered to be located in urban fringe areas and one in an urban area. The average district had 68 schools with roughly 49,450 students.

Study sample

Teachers in the classrooms averaged 11 years of teaching experience (intervention = 11.51; comparison = 10.62) with just under half of the teachers holding a master's degree (35%; 36% in intervention and 33% in comparison). All teachers in the intervention and comparison groups were female. Students in these classrooms were an average age of 6.6; all students were in first grade. Forty-eight percent of the students were female (intervention = 48%; comparison = 48%). No other characteristics were reported.

Intervention Group

Intervention classrooms used the Waterford Early Reading program. The Waterford Early Reading program is a supplemental reading program with three levels. Level 1 is typically for kindergartners, Level 1 for first graders, and level 3 for second graders. Age and grade appropriate skills are included in each level. Thus, for level 2 (first grade) topics covered include letter sounds, word recognition, and comprehension. Phonological awareness can also be covered in level 2 if requested. Students work at their own pace and teachers receive progress reports on students. Students have books that are sent home on a weekly basis with directions for parents. The program can be used in the regular classroom or a computer lab and is recommended to be used between 17 to 30 minutes, depending on the level of instruction, three times a week.

Comparison Group

Comparison students received business-as-usual.

Support for implementation

Prior to implementation intervention classroom teachers received two days of onsite training. Support through implementation was provided via phone, e-mail, and the web site. The estimated annual cost, per student, to implement the program was $223. Of that amount 54% was used for license fees and the remaining 46% was used for teacher training and support, technical support, and printed materials and supplies.


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