Welcome to Parsimony’s blog, where we help K-12 educators identify evidence based ways to maximize student outcomes.

This blog post is part of our What Works Clearinghouse review series. The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) is an initiative by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) which is the independent statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the United States Department of Education. WWC estimates the effectiveness of programs by evaluating the quality and quantity of evidence for that program.

This week’s blog post is about the evidence behind Sound Partners’s impact on students. Here’s the short version:

Sound Partners is a phonics-based tutoring program that provides supplemental reading instruction to elementary school students grades K–3 with below-average reading skills. The program consists of a set of scripted lessons in alphabetic and phonics skills and uses Bob Books beginning reading series as one of the primary texts for oral reading practice.

The evidence for Sound Partners covers students in kindergarten through 1st grade.

The outcomes examined include: alphabetics, comprehension, reading achievement, reading fluency. Here’s what the evidence suggests about Sound Partners’s impact on each outcome:

  • Alphabetics: Positive impact (an average student would be expected to improve by 21 percentile points)
  • Comprehension: Positive impact (an average student would be expected to improve by 21 percentile points)
  • Reading achievement: No detectable impact
  • Reading fluency: Positive impact (an average student would be expected to improve by 19 percentile points)

The studies looking into Sound Partners had student samples that were in urban areas in Washington and Nebraska, had students who were White, Black, Asian, and Hispanic, were male and female, and were English language learners, and received free & reduced price lunch.

You can find the full report from the What Works Clearinghouse here:

https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/Docs/InterventionReports/wwc_soundpartners_092110.pdf

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