Senior Corps Senior Corps Corporation for National and Community Service
Research & Evaluation

Seniors for Schools Evaluation 1999-2000 School Year, Project STAR, January 2001.

An evaluation of the third year results of the America Reads challenge. The America Reads Challenge was initiated to ensure that every American child could read independently by the end of third grade. With a need for many reading tutors, the Corporation for National and Community Service adopted the goals of "America Reads" and launched "Seniors for Schools," an initiative designed to recruit adults over the age of fifty-five with the time, talent, and experience to help children read.

This report describes the results Seniors for Schools achieved at nine sites, where 486 volunteers tutored 5,462 students. Those students targeted for tutoring were among the lowest achievers in their respective schools. By the end of the school year, many had improved a full reading level or more and demonstrated increased reading confidence. As measured by a variety of standardized and non-standardized tests, students consistently showed positive outcomes.

Ninety-two percent of the 1,474 students tutored and tested improved their reading skills during the project year. While 94 percent of students tested started the year below their expected reading level (some by two levels or more), 58 percent of the tutored students gained one full reading level or more and 39 percent were reading at their expected grade level by post-test.

Eighty-five percent of teachers reported observing positive changes in student literacy. Seventy-four percent of teachers reported observing positive changes in reading or assessment test results. Over 81 percent of the principals, staff, and teachers surveyed indicated that students displayed increased positive attitudes toward reading, self-confidence in reading ability, and improved overall self esteem.

Ninety-four percent of the principals, staff, and teachers surveyed wanted to continue having the Seniors for Schools volunteers present in their institutions the next year. All principals and over 91 percent of teachers surveyed noted that the Seniors were positive adult role models and increased children’s respect for older adults.

Download the full report (PDF)

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