Research & Impact

Randomized Controlled Studies

Reading Apprenticeship has been the subject of three federally funded, large-scale randomized controlled studies in high school biology, in high school biology and history, and in a grade 9 academic literacy intervention. In each study, teachers who participated in Reading Apprenticeship professional development made statistically significant gains in classroom practices supporting disciplinary literacy compared to control group teachers. Students whose teachers participated in Reading Apprenticeship professional development made statistically significant gains in reading comprehension and/or subject area achievement on standardized tests. These consistent findings make Reading Apprenticeship a trusted resource for supporting teacher development and student success.

Randomized Controlled Studies

High School U.S. History and Biology

A Study of the Efficacy of Reading Apprenticeship Professional Development for High School History and Science Teaching


Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Dept. of Education • 2006–2010

This randomized controlled study was conducted in 99 matched high schools from 46 districts in California and Arizona that serve high proportions of African American, Latino, and English learner students. One hundred and fifty-nine teachers participated. The treatment was 10 days of Reading Apprenticeship teacher professional development specific to science and to history.

Teacher surveys and interviews indicate that treatment teachers of both subjects provided richer subject area and literacy instruction than control teachers over the year following professional development. In addition, teacher assignments were scored to rank features of subject area and literacy instruction; treatment teachers provided more effective assignments than control teachers.

Biology treatment students had standardized test scores in biology with an effect size suggesting they were well over a year ahead of control students on this measure. History treatment students had standardized test scores in history, as well as in reading comprehension and English language arts, with effect sizes suggesting they were well over a year ahead of the control students on these three measures.


The Bottom Line

At the end of one year of instruction, treatment students were more than a year ahead of control students on standardized tests in history and biology. History students were also a year ahead on reading comprehension and English language arts.
read more download study report

Integrating Reading Apprenticeship and Science Instruction in High School Biology

Impact on Teacher Practice, Student Engagement, and Student Achievement


National Science Foundation
 2005–2008

This randomized controlled study was conducted in 70 California high schools that serve high proportions of African American, Latino, and English learner students. Eighty-seven teachers participated. The treatment was 10 days of Reading Apprenticeship teacher professional development in biology.

Teacher surveys and interviews indicate that treatment teachers provided richer biology and literacy instruction than control teachers over the one-year course of the intervention. In addition, teacher assignments were scored to rank features of biology and literacy instruction; treatment teachers provided more effective assignments than control teachers.

Treatment students had significantly higher standardized test scores in biology, reading comprehension, and English language arts than control students. The effect size of these differences suggests that at the end of the treatment year, Reading Apprenticeship students were well over a year ahead of the control students in these areas.


The Bottom Line

At the end of one year of instruction, treatment students were more than a year ahead of control students on standardized tests in biology, reading comprehension, and English language arts.
read more download study report

Reading Apprenticeship Academic Literacy Course

The Enhanced Reading Opportunities Study: The Impact of Supplemental Literacy Courses for Struggling Ninth-Grade Readers


Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Dept. of Education 
2005–2008

A national panel of literacy experts selected the Reading Apprenticeship Academic Literacy Course as one of only two ninth-grade reading interventions to be evaluated in this randomized controlled study. Both courses were designed for students reading two to five years below grade level. Students and their teachers in 17 schools nationwide used the Reading Apprenticeship Academic Literacy course. Independent research agencies MDRC and AIR measured course implementation and student outcomes, including reading comprehension, persistence in school, course-taking patterns, and performance on high-stakes tests.

Findings demonstrated that the Reading Apprenticeship Academic Literacy Course had a positive and statistically significant impact on students’ reading comprehension scores—an effect size equivalent to a 63% improvement over and above expected year-to-year gains. In addition, the course had a positive and statistically significant impact on students’ grade point averages in core academic classes and their state standardized test scores. These gains did not persist when students were no longer enrolled in the course, suggesting that schools should expect to provide more than a single year of literacy support for their most inexperienced readers.


The Bottom Line

Students in the course made statistically significant gains in reading comprehension, grades, 
and standardized test scores.
read more download study report