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Data Collection Methods Support Student Literacy

Each school year, the ECBA staff considers what tangible steps we can take to achieve greater results with our bottom line: helping children learn to read. Last summer, we approached this question through the lens of feedback from volunteers and staff, as well as, expertise provided by a strategic operations consultation with the National Experience Corps staff. We determined that one of the best ways we could increase our support of student literacy would be to improve our ability to track and report on student progress. In the past, we’ve collected student reading achievement data at the end of the school year, and, while this has provided ECBA staff and volunteers with a wonderful retrospective look at our impact, it has not supported our ability to make mid-year strategic changes in tutoring support. For 2016-17, we have laid the groundwork to collect student progress data throughout the school year, rather than waiting until June. The idea behind this change in the timing (and quantity) of our data collection practices, is that by monitoring student progress over the course of the year, we will be able to spot students who are not on track to reach the reading achievement goals set for them by their teachers, and provide them with additional personalized support before it is too late to course correct.

So what will this change look like in practical terms? ECBA tutors have already started tracking student progress in greater detail in the new 2016-17 Student Tutoring Session Logs. The new log asks volunteers to record student instructional reading levels in each tutoring session. It also contains a section for tutors to note the content of a given tutoring session for future reference by the volunteer or teacher. (Interestingly, many of the classroom teachers at our partner schools have expressed interest in using volunteer comments from the New Session Log to gather student progress updates for parent meetings.) Teachers are also being asked to provide ECBA with reading level goals for each student assigned to an ECBA tutor in a sustained match (thirty-five X 30-minute sessions in 1:1 or small groups). The ECBA staff has begun collecting and synthesizing this information so that by November, we can provide our tutors with a monthly student progress update for each of their student matches. We hope that this information will help tutors identify students who might need extra support and then reach out to their classroom teacher and EC site coordinator to determine the best course of action.

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