The i3 Evaluation of the SPARK and the EIR Evaluation of Future Forward

i3 – SPARK Project

In 2010, SREed worked with Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee to obtain an Investing in Innovations (i3) grant for the SPARK Early Literacy Program from the Department of Education. SPARK was provided to seven Milwaukee Public Schools. Through two randomized studies of the impact of SPARK, we found that:

  • SPARK had statistically significant positive impacts on both overall reading achievement and literacy development.
  • The impact of SPARK was greater for students who started the program with greater need for literacy instruction. The magnitude of the impact for these students was between .3 and .6 standard deviations.
  • The family engagement component of SPARK impacted students as well. Specifically, SPARK participants were absent from school 5.8 fewer times than control students and were 27% less likely to be chronically absent from school.

Both of these studies have been viewed by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) What Works Clearinghouse and determined to meet their standards of rigor without reservations. Their reviews of our evaluations of SPARK can be found at the following websites:

https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/Study/81511
https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/Study/32028

EIR – Future Forward Project

In 2017, SREed worked with Education Analytics to obtain an Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grant from the Department of Educations to scale up SPARK to three states under the name of Future Forward. Our research project will use a randomized study to measure its impact on literacy, attendance, and, this time, social emotional learning. The expansion of Future Forward is occurring in four Wisconsin school districts, one school district in South Carolina, and one in Alabama.