WWC Study Shows Waterford Upstart Effective in Promoting Strong Literacy Outcomes


WWC Findings Indicate Statistically Significant Reading Achievement Effects for Waterford Upstart Participants

November 18, 2020 (Salt Lake City, UT) – The US Department of Education’s Institute of Educational Science announced the results of the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) evaluation of Waterford Upstart. The findings indicate that Waterford Upstart meets WWC standards without reservation and is significantly effective for promoting early literacy outcomes.

Waterford Upstart is a home-based school readiness program that teaches preschool-aged children reading, math, and science skills at no cost to participating families. This study focused on nearly 500 participants in rural Utah communities, with over 80% at or below 185% of the poverty level.

WWC measures educational programs to determine whether they meet the qualifications for the ESSA Tiers of Evidence. These tiers are designed to help states, districts, and schools identify high-quality and evidence-based learning programs. High-quality programs can meet one of two tiers that indicate either strong or moderate evidence of effectiveness.

How the Study Was Conducted

To measure Waterford Upstart’s impact on early literacy, children were separated into two groups. The intervention group completed the Waterford Upstart reading program, while the comparison group completed the math and science program.

The delivery and format for both groups were identical. The only difference was in subject and curriculum content. All students using the Waterford Upstart program were recommended to use the program for 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week for maximum efficacy. Because WWC researchers categorized the study as “intent to treat,” however, all students were counted as participants regardless of usage.

Waterford Upstart provided families with resources to assist them through the program, including access to student progress information, weekly usage newsletters, and direct technical and usage support. Additionally, qualifying families received Internet access and technology at no cost to complete the program from home.

The WWC Study Results: Effective and Significant Impacts

According to the results, the Waterford Upstart reading program meets the ESSA Tier 1 qualifications. This indicates that Waterford Upstart meets WWC standards with no reservations and offers a statistically significant positive effect for students. This rating also speaks to the quality of the study as a randomized control trial, meeting all implementation and design standards required by WWC experts.

The Waterford Upstart intervention group was also rated on the WWC Improvement Index. This measures the effectiveness of an educational intervention compared to the average comparison group. This score was calculated by measuring composite student scores on the Brigance Inventory of Early Development. The program received a 14, which indicates its impact on early literacy is both effective and significant.

You can read the full WWC review here. To view more information on the ESSA tiers of evidence, click here.

Waterford Upstart is still enrolling in Utah for the 2020-2021 school year. For more information and to enroll your child in the program, click here.


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