In-House Evaluation = High Ratings

Published October 1, 1999

While Reading Recovery┬« can’t be faulted for promoting its success, independent researchers point out that RR’s assessment of its success is the result of in-house evaluations.

For example, the Reading Recovery Task Force Report from the San Diego County Office of Education states RR’s studies are “designed and implemented, either expressly or incidentally, so they result in favorable outcomes for RR.”

Practices that inflate RR’s success rate include:

  • rejecting eligible children if RR tutors think they won’t succeed; and
  • dropping low-performing students early in the program.

RR omits data on these children in its own evaluations, which it uses to market the program to schools. According to researchers Timothy Shanahan and Rebecca Barr, RR’s claimed short-term success rate of 84 percent with one group of children would drop to just 51 percent if these data were included in the analysis.