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Last modified: 8/21/2014 6:30:18 AM
Research and Evaluation

  Outcome Evaluation of the Waterford Early Reading Program®



The Waterford Early Reading Program® (WERP) is a component of the Prince George’s County Public Schools’ (PGCPS) Title I Program. The WERP develops foundational reading skills in early learners through a balanced approach to reading instruction. PGCPS implemented the WERP for students in kindergarten and grade 1 enrolled in 10 selected Title I schools. The purpose of this evaluation is to help inform WERP maintenance and rollout to additional Title I schools. Specifically, the evaluation of the WERP was designed to generate information that will help program managers and stakeholders in several key areas: 1) To document the context of WERP, its goals, objectives, and outcomes; 2) To document how the WERP is delivered and who the participants are; 3) To measure the impact the WERP has on participating students’ reading achievement; and 4) To provide information to assist PGCPS in making data-driven decisions about maintenance, refinement, and implementation of the WERP. A mixed method design, including qualitative and quantitative techniques, was employed. The evaluation relied on data obtained from review of documents and focus group interviews of teachers and program staff. To measure the impact of WERP on participating students’ reading achievement, this evaluation used a quasi-experimental design with pre- and post-treatment data collected from WERP school servers and PGCPS Comprehensive Reading/Language Arts assessment data. Focus group participants were unanimous in their belief that the WERP was an effective program. Teachers were confident that with additional time for training, more support in the form of integration into their existing practices, provision of better technical support, and spending for additional supplies, the WERP would be even more successful than currently perceived. In terms of student participation, approximately one in five students used the WERP software for about half the recommended time. However, results from the quasi-experimental analysis provided no evidence that WERP had a positive impact on students’ reading achievement. Despite the lack of statistical evidence to demonstrate any positive program impact, qualitative evidence suggests that the Title I department should continue its efforts to fully implement the WERP. Recommendations for improving the program are discussed.

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