Education Reform: Impacts of Title I Supplemental Educational Services on Student Achievement
“Impacts of Title I Supplemental Educational Services on Student Achievement” examines the potential achievement benefits of academic support services offered outside the regular school day by state-approved Supplemental Educational Service providers. As one of the parental choice provisions implemented with Title I funds under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, parents of low-income students in low-performing schools are offered a choice of Supplemental Educational Services (SES) for their children. In the six study districts located in three states (Connecticut, Ohio, and Florida), more eligible students applied for SES than could be served with available funds, requiring prioritization of SES to the lowest-achieving students among the eligible applicants. Oversubscription for SES is unusual among school districts, and the study’s six school districts are not nationally representative. The study uses a regression discontinuity design to obtain estimates of the impact of SES by comparing the outcomes of students just below and above the cutoff value for receiving services.
The main findings from the study are as follows:
- The study found no evidence of impacts on achievement of offering SES to students near the cusp of having access to services in six oversubscribed school districts. For grades 3–8, there were no statistically significant impacts of offering SES on student achievement in reading or in mathematics. Furthermore, the study found no statistically significant impact of participating in SES on student achievement in reading or mathematics.
- An average of 21 hours of SES per student for the school year were offered either in one-on-one or group sessions by providers that relied extensively on local school teachers to serve as SES instructors. Among students in the six districts who had received SES, 36 percent received tutoring in both reading and math, 55 percent received tutoring in only reading, and 9 percent received only math tutoring. Reading services in the study districts averaged 17.2 hours of tutoring for the school year, and math services averaged 12.5 hours for the school year. Teachers employed in the school district comprised, on average, 60 percent of the providers’ instructional staff in the six study districts. On average, 44 percent of provider services in the study districts were offered in groups of 2–5 students, 34 percent in one-on-one sessions, and 21 percent in groups of 6–10.
- The study found no evidence that observed provider characteristics and practices, including intensity of services, were significantly associated with stronger impacts. Providers varied in the average number of hours of math and reading services their students received, ranging from 0 to 27 hours of math services and from 0 to 43 hours of reading services across providers. However, intensity of services was not significantly related to the estimated size of impacts on reading or math achievement.
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