Abt Associates: Bold thinkers driving real-world impact
The Reading First program, established under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, was a major federal initiative designed to ensure that the nation’s children read at, or above, grade level by the end of third grade. This goal was to be achieved by improving the quality of reading instruction nationwide.
Abt Associates, with its partner organizations – MDRC, Westat, RMC Research, Rosenblum & Brigham Associates, and Westover – studied the impact of the program for the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences. The study sample included 248 schools in 18 sites in 13 states. During the six-year contract, the study assessed the reading skills of more than 30,000 first-through-third graders on each of four occasions, and conducted more than 1,300 classroom observations of first and second grade classrooms. Abt’s study represented the Department of Education’s first large-scale use of a regression discontinuity design. The congressionally-mandated study provided critical information to federal policy makers on the impact of the Reading First Program as well as on the relationship between the degree of implementation of scientifically-based reading instruction and student reading achievement.
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Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research, evaluation and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates is regularly ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms and one of the top 40 international development innovators. The company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in more than 40 countries.