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Model Programs Database

Core Knowledge

801 East High Street
Charlottesville, VA 22902

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Contact Information:
Yolanda Van Ness
Grant Support Coordinator

Program Specification:






Moderate Evidence of Effectiveness

Age/Grade Level:

Target Settings:

Target Groups:

Middle School

Inner City

School Wide


Other Participation Criteria:

All Ethnicities


Many people say that knowledge is changing so fast that what students learn today will soon be outdated. While current events and technology are constantly changing, there is nevertheless a body of lasting knowledge that should form the core of a Preschool-Grade 8 curriculum. Such solid knowledge includes, for example, the basic principles of constitutional government, important events of world history, essential elements of mathematics and of oral and written expression, widely acknowledged masterpieces of art and music, and stories and poems passed down from generation to generation.

Program Descriptors Include:
Academic Improvement, GED, Mentoring/Tutoring, Service Learning, Substance Abuse, Life Skills Training

Starting Date: 1986
Students Served Per Year: 500+
Last Verified: 2009

Risk Factors:

Protective Factors:

Program addresses the following:

Individual factors

  • Low achievement
  • Low educational expectations
  • Lack of effort
  • Low commitment to school

Family factors

  • Low socioeconomic status

School factors

  • Teacher expectations

Program promotes the following:


  • Presence and involvement of caring, supportive adults
  • Good relationships with parents, peers, and teachers
  • Involvement with positive peer activities

Program Resources:

Annual Cost:

The annual cost range of the program is $25,000 - $100,000.

Funding Sources Include:

Program Staff Includes:

Federal Agencies
State Agencies
Local/City/County Agencies
School Districts

School Administrators

Materials Used:

Supporting / Partner Organizations:

Instructional Texts/Manuals


Evaluation Information:

Early results from the pilot tests are promising. At the end of the 2007-2008 school year, kindergarten teachers from all pilot schools anecdotally reported that based on their own observations of students' performance, as well as informal and standardized measures of reading achievement used in their school districts, the kindergarten students who used the Core Knowledge Reading materials appeared to be decoding and reading early text at a level that far exceeded students in previous years. An objective evaluation of 275 kindergarten students, selected randomly from the pilot schools, was conducted by outside evaluators using the Woodcock-Johnson Diagnostic Reading Battery. Results were in line with the Foundation's expectations, with students displaying strong results on word attack and decoding measures, as these are areas in which rapid increases can be achieved as a result of successful, systematic phonics instruction. In many cases the students posted mean standard scores 1-2 standard deviations above the national norm.

How evaluation data was collected:
Outside experimental studies
Data collected and analyzed at school/district level
Data collected and analyzed at state or organizational level

Additional Evaluation Information:

National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities
209 Martin Street
Clemson, SC 29631-1555
Toll Free: 866-745-5641
TDD: 866-212-2775
Fax: 864-656-0136
Email: NDPCSD-L@clemson.edu

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Last Updated: May 29, 2015