ServeMinnesota’s Reading Corps: Case Study on Using Evidence for Improvement

The brief details how ServeMinnesota, a statewide administrator for federal Americorps funding, used evidence to improve its Reading Corps program. The program serves K-3 students with one-on-one tutoring sessions from Americorps participants. Research showed that some students would regress in terms of their literacy skills after testing out of these tutoring sessions and returning to the classroom. ServeMinnesota developed a weekly check-in period for students in order to prevent any regression in literacy skills. An evaluation of this new component found that students who participated in weekly monitoring sessions had a higher probability of reaching literacy benchmarks than those who did not. The case study offers numerous recommendations for other organizations looking to similarly use evidence for improvement purposes in their own work.

This case study is the second in a series of publications that focus on how policymakers can better use evidence to improve the lives of children, youth and their families. This series follows the Forum’s recent report Managing for Success: Strengthening the Federal Infrastructure for Evidence-Based Policymaking, which included a number of recommendations for how policymakers could better coordinate and strengthen the use of evidence across the federal government. This case study focuses on the third set of recommendations from that report: using evidence for improvement.