Reframing and redefining the ways in which we relate to youth.
by Julia Hughes, Senior Director of Development & Communications at Colorado Youth for a Change
Stories have always been my connection point to the nonprofit sector. It is inspiring to hear about kids like Oscar who is teaching his little brother to read using the same interventions taught to him by his Reading Corps tutor. Josie is another inspiring student, who got 100% on a recent math test and was so proud that she brought the test to show her Math Corps tutor. In thanking her tutor, she said she felt “amazing” and that the test didn’t make her feel bad about herself like they have in the past. These stories speak to increased confidence, new skills, and a sense of connection to learning.
But our work in the nonprofit sector can’t be sustained by good stories. Research, program refinement, and learning from students and families must be at the core. Recent research on tutoring and the return on investment of Colorado Youth for a Change (CYC)’s replicated programs continue to strengthen CYC’s core, and so we thought it was important to share data and research behind the stories.
Viewing impact through ROI
A recent study with ICF Incorporated LLC shows that the return on investment (ROI) for CYC’s nationally replicated Reading Corps program is between $5.47 and $6.99 per funder dollar. These impressive results are driven by two things:
1. strong future employment and earnings for participants (our students)
2. the benefits of national service to AmeriCorps members that also increase future earnings.
Eight (8) AmeriCorps programs were part of this study, and the Minnesota Reading Corps’ Kindergarten program offered one of the highest rates of ROI. Kindergarten participants in Reading Corps have higher graduation rates; AmeriCorps members have increased employment and educational attainment after serving; and the government benefits from both increased tax revenue as well as savings on programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
“Across all scenarios and all ROI calculations, this analysis demonstrates that MRC (Minnesota Reading Corps) Kindergarten is an impactful use of federal funds. Leveraging AmeriCorps support, MRC Kindergarten generates benefits that are at least five times greater than costs.”
What about the benefits of tutoring in general?
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted many facets of our lives, including the educational system and access to learning. As we continue to examine its impacts and what’s working in response, tutoring has taken center stage. But what are the benefits of tutoring? And with so many tutoring programs, what yields the best results?
Research tells us that tutoring produces the biggest gains when it takes place during the school day and is delivered by well-trained and paid tutors.* “Studies have found that sessions once or twice a week haven’t boosted achievement much, nor has frequent after-school homework help. Instead, tutoring produces outsized gains in reading and math when it takes place daily, using paid, well-trained tutors who are following a proven curriculum or lesson plans that are linked to what the student is learning in class. Effective tutoring sessions are scheduled during the school day, when attendance is mandatory, not after school. Researchers call it ‘high-dosage’ or ‘high-impact’ tutoring.”
So what does this mean for Colorado students? Here’s how Colorado Youth for a Change and your support of students is making a difference.
*CYC’s Early Learning Corps, Reading Corps, and Math Corps are all evidence-based programs delivered with fidelity here in Colorado. AmeriCorps members provide services in-school, are supported by CYC Reading Specialists, and receive specialized training throughout the year. In exchange, they are paid a living stipend, receive health insurance, and obtain an education award upon completion.