The effects of tutoring and family engagement on reading outcomes (Best Evidence in Brief)

There is a new Best Evidence in Brief and this time I picked this study from this biweekly newsletter written up by Andrea Ochoa:

A recent switched-replication randomized study by Jones and Li evaluated the effect of Future Forward on school attendance, social-emotional learning, and reading outcomes. Future Forward is a program that pairs paraprofessionals with early elementary students to provide one-on-one literacy tutoring for three 30-minute sessions per week. Additionally, a family engagement coordinator organizes events and communicates with families about student progress throughout the program.

The study was conducted in three schools that partnered with their local Boys and Girls Club to implement the intervention. Study participants included students in kindergarten through grade 3. Participants were randomly assigned to receive the Future Forward intervention (n=65) or business as usual instruction (n=62). The intervention was implemented from October 2021 to January 2022, with the average student participating in 25.5 sessions, or 2.6 30-minute sessions per week. Additionally, on average, program staff engaged with families 1.5 times each month.

The study found that students in the treatment condition outperformed the control students on the Star Reading assessment (ES = +0.289, p = 0.005). However, Jones and Li did not find that Future Forward had a statistically significant effect on attendance or social-emotional learning. While the study investigated the impact of this intervention on a small number of students, the findings contribute to the growing number of studies that have found the implementation of Future Forward is associated with gains in reading achievement. Matching students with a paraprofessional to provide one-on-one tutoring during the school day and complementing it with family engagement presents a cost-effective, scalable approach to supporting students in reading.

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