The Results of a Randomized Control Trial Evaluation of the SPARK Literacy Program

SPARK Literacy Program
Implementing Organization: 
Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee; Milwaukee Public Schools

The purpose of this report is to present the results of a two-year randomized control trial evaluation of the SPARK program that combines one-on-one tutoring with family engagement to impact the literacy development of students. SPARK is an early grade literacy program developed by Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, working in Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS).

The results of the evaluation showed:

  • that SPARK had statistically significant positive impacts on reading achievement, literacy, and regular school day attendance;
  • the benefit of SPARK was greater with students who started the program with greater literacy instruction needs - while only 10% of control students below literacy benchmarks at the start of the study met benchmark at the conclusion of the study, 62% of SPARK participants who started below benchmark met benchmark at the end of the study. 

This suggests that SPARK is meeting its goal of addressing the challenge of helping MPS schools and parents teach students how to read.

CNCS Program(s): 
AmeriCorps State and National
CNCS Focus Area(s): 
Age(s) Studied: 
0-5 (Early childhood)
Outcomes Category(s): 
K-12 Success
Study Type(s): 
Study Design(s): 
Experimental (RCT)
Socially Responsible Evaluation in Education
Year Published: 
Date Posted Online: 
August 31, 2016
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