Understanding the Effect of the North Carolina Read to Achieve Program on Student Outcomes

In 2012, in an effort to increase elementary reading achievement statewide, the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation that required the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to oversee administration of a program intended to support on-grade reading mastery for all grade 3 students. The initiative is commonly referred to as Read to Achieve (RtA).

The RtA policy provides multiple supports for students who do not demonstrate reading proficiency by the end of 3rd grade, including an optional reading camp between the 3rd and 4th grade years. For students who do not become proficient by the end of the summer, supports include supplemental tutoring and enhanced reading instruction during the next school year.

To begin to uncover the academic impacts of RtA, this project addresses the following research questions:

  • What is the causal effect of the Read to Achieve program on subsequent student reading performance one year and two years later?
  • What is the causal effect of being retained in 3rd grade on student reading performance one year later?
  • How do short- and longer-term effects vary by student sub-groups (gender, race/ethnicity/ economic disadvantage)?


This research project has been funded by the Institute for Education Sciences under the Low-Cost, Short-Duration Evaluation of Education Interventions program, grant number R305L160017. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.

Project Team