Multi-State Evaluation of Future Forward

In 2017, SREed worked with Education Analytics to obtain an Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grant from the Department of Education to scale up SPARK to three states under the name of Future Forward. Through a family-school-community partnership approach, Future Forward combines intensive one-on-one literacy tutoring with parent engagement to promote literacy skill development at school and at home. Our research project uses a randomized study to measure its impact on literacy, attendance and social-emotional learning. The expansion of Future Forward is occurring in the Milwaukee Public Schools, the Unified School District of Antigo, the Wisconsin Rapids Public Schools, the Sparta Areas School District, the Huntsville Alabama City Schools, and the Darlington County South Carolina School District. For more information about this project, please contact Curtis Jones at

Future Forward in the time of COVID-19

The Future Forward program is working with school districts and local community partners to adapt its approach during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020-21 Future Forward program is going to look very different than it has in the past. It will also look different in different schools. Some schools are planning to continue with school-based instruction while others are moving entirely online. And across all schools, the approach used now is likely going to vary throughout the year, as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses. During these unsure times, Future Forward is adapting to provide flexible implementation options to sites. Tutoring can be provided in-person, as it has been in the past, or online, or through a combination of both. All tutoring options will leverage programs such as myON Reader and the STAR assessment to personalize instruction. Regardless of the approach used by a site, parents will be supported throughout the year to ensure students are able to effectively engage in their local Future Forward program.

How do we enroll students in the Future Forward study this year.

There are a number of ways students can be enrolled in the study. Sites can choose which methods will work the best given their local context.

  1. Passive in-person consent – this the same process we used last year. It involves providing families notice for the study at least four times over the course of one month. Students of families who do not opt out of the study are included in the study.
    • Sites using the passive consent process should distribute this document.
  2. Active in-person consent – This is the same process we used last year. It involves securing a signature from each parent consenting to their child participating in the study.
  3. Active electronic (on-line) consent – In this new process, parents are sent a weblink to a consent form. They are able to review the terms of the study on the webpage and consent by checking off a box and typing in their name. When meeting with a parent, sites can also use the on-line consent form, instead of the Active in-person consent, if they prefer. This could be done by sitting down with a parent and reviewing the consent on a tablet or other device.
    • MPS students should be consented using this link.
    • Students outside of MPS should be consented using this link.

Who will be eligible for the Future Forward study this year?

There are three eligibility criteria:

  1. Students with a signed consent form (with active consent) or who did not opt out (with passive consent), AND
  2. Who have taken the online STAR reading assessment, AND
  3. Who are a struggling reader, according to their STAR assessment score. In each site, twice the number of students who will receive Future Forward will be eligible for the study. So if a site is planning to tutor 10 students per grade, the 20 students in each grade with the lowest STAR assessment scores will be eligible for the study.

How will students be selected to receive Future Forward?

Students will be randomly chosen to receive Future Forward.

What will happen to the students who are not chosen to receive Future Forward tutoring?

All students in the study will be provided access to the powerful myON reader online platform. Further, all study parents, both control group and Future Forward, will receive support throughout the year for using myON. It will be necessary for all study students, both control group and Future Forward, to take the STAR assessment again in the winter and spring (at the end of the program). This ensures that myON reader is suggesting appropriate leveled readers and allows the evaluation to measure the program’s impact. Each time students take the assessment, their family is provided a thank you basket with supplies and books. Students must take each STAR assessment to continue to have access to myON Reader. It is critical that both Future Forward participants and control students complete the STAR assessment.