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Improving Literacy and Math: Two Programs with Potentially Positive Effects

Written by Featured Organization on 28 January 2013.

What works for improving literacy and math skills? The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) has reviewed the research on the Talent Development Middle Grades Program and enVisionMATH and finds that both programs have potentially positive impacts. The Talent Development Middle Grades Program is a comprehensive reform model for large urban middle schools that aims to improve student achievement by transforming the structure and curriculum. The literacy component of the program, Student Team Literature, utilizes cooperative learning activities, high-interest reading materials, and explicit instruction to teach reading strategies, comprehension skills, and fluency in reading and writing. The WWC reviewed 18 studies that examined the effects of the Talent Development Middle Grades Program on the reading achievement of adolescent readers. One study, a quasi-experimental design, meets WWC evidence standards with reservations and included adolescent readers from grades 7 and 8 in 29 urban middle schools in the Northeast. Based on this study, the WWC found that the program has potentially positive effects on comprehension for adolescent readers. Read the full report now at

enVisionMATH is a core curriculum for students in grades K–6. The program seeks to help students develop an understanding of math concepts through problem-based instruction, small-group interaction, and visual learning with a focus on reasoning and modeling. The WWC reviewed two studies that investigated the effects of enVisionMATH on the math performance of elementary school students. One of the studies meets WWC evidence standards without reservations and included 1,156 elementary school students in grades 2–4 in eight locations across the United States. Based on this study, the WWC determined that enVisionMath has potentially positive effects on mathematics achievement for elementary school students. Read the full report now at

To see other WWC reports, go to today and browse our topics. As the WWC continues its work to connect educators with the tools needed to make informed decisions, visit our website often and check your inbox for updates and new releases throughout the year.