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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Core Knowledge students learn more -- a lot more

Students taught a structured, knowledge-rich curriculum starting in kindergarten earned higher reading, math and science scores in third through sixth grade, concludes a new study profiled in Education Next. Researchers compared students who won lotteries to attend nine Core Knowledge schools in Colorado with students who applied but lost the lottery.

Core Knowledge students were 16 percentile points ahead in reading in grades 3-6 compared to the control group. "The size of this gain is approximately equivalent to the difference between the mediocre performance of U.S. 13-year-olds on the 2016 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study and that of top-scoring countries like Singapore and Finland," the researchers write.

"Students who attend a Core Knowledge charter also make outsized gains in science of 30 percent of a standard deviation, which is equivalent to a gain of 10 percentile points." The math gains, about percent of a standard deviation, were not statistically significant.

Systematically building student knowledge led to long-term gains, they concluded.

"Improved reading comprehension leads to increased knowledge, and increased knowledge leads to even better comprehension."

Most of the Core Knowledge students came from middle- and upper-middle-class families. Students also gained at a less-affluent charter, but the sample size was small.

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Mar 15

Kids who learn more stuff are smarter! Who woulda thunk it?

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