Grantee: Saga Education
Study Type: RCT
Principal Investigator: Jens Ludwig – University of Chicago
Project Description: Researchers from the University of Chicago conducted two separate randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of Saga Education, which offers high-dosage tutoring to support student learning. The studies aimed to evaluate the impact of Saga’s two-on-one tutoring model—delivered by trained paraprofessionals—on high school students’ math performance. The first trial (“Study One”) was conducted during the 2013-14 school year; the researchers randomly assigned 2,633 rising ninth or tenth graders in 12 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) high schools to either receive Saga math tutoring or to continue business-as-usual instruction. The sample consisted almost entirely of male high school students of color from families with lower incomes. The researchers accessed students’ scores on CPS standardized tests and also accessed their grades in math and non-math courses to measure outcomes of interest.
In a second study during the 2014-15 school year, researchers randomly assigned a separate sample of 2,710 ninth and tenth graders (“Study Two”) across 15 schools to receive the same Saga tutoring intervention or to continue business-as-usual instruction. The researchers used a similar design and collected the same post-test outcome data. Given that only about 40 percent of students in Study One and 37 percent of students in Study Two actually participated in Saga tutoring (because they ended up not attending a school offering the program or their schedule did not allow for tutoring), the researchers also used instrumental variables estimation to calculate treatment of the treated effects for the group of students who did participate in at least one Saga tutoring session.
Key Findings: Pooling the data from the studies together revealed that there were statistically significant and positive intent-to-treat impacts of Saga on students’ math test scores (effect size = 0.12) and math GPA (effect size = 0.22) at the end of the first year of the program. Treatment-on-the-treated impacts for those students who did participate in at least one Saga tutoring session were substantially larger, with the program yielding substantial effects on math test scores (effect size = 0.28) and math GPA (effect size = 0.52) at the end of the first program year.
Study Citation: Guryan, J., Ludwig, J., Bhatt, M. P., Cook, P. J., Davis, J. M., Dodge, K., … & Stoddard, G. (2023). Not too late: Improving academic outcomes among adolescents. American Economic Review, 113(3), 738-765.
Full report here.
The Key Findings above were reproduced from the published report and do not necessarily reflect interpretation of Overdeck Family Foundation staff.