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Improving ELA outcomes in Florida: Hillsborough County Public Schools students see gains in reading and writing

Third-party study shows usage of Paper positively impacted ELA outcomes, notably with Hispanic and Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL) students

Districts have been seeking solutions to the pandemic’s negative impact on English Language Arts (ELA) achievement. Through 2020 and 2021, students have seen ELA scores consistently decrease, particularly those in high-poverty environments.

A new study conducted in partnership with Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) and LearnPlatform, a third-party research company, demonstrated that students using Paper’s Educational Support System saw higher academic gains than those not using it.

HCPS_Blog In line Graphic-Option 1Most notably, results highlighted that many of the most historically disadvantaged groups saw the biggest benefits. Students with Free and Reduced Lunch status (FRL) who were hit particularly hard by the pandemic saw higher spring Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) ELA achievement. The same was also true for Hispanic students.

The study, involving HCPS students in grades six through 12, looked at data from both the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years. LearnPlatform’s analysis found that in the 2021-22 school year, middle and high school students had statistically significant higher spring FSA results when using tools within Paper’s Educational Support System. The study also found this to be true for students with FRL status and Hispanic students, who achieved higher spring FSA ELA scores. 

The study also found evidence of statistically significant improvements in the 2022-23 school year where students saw gains on their interim Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (FAST) scores.

“Having a rigorous, independent third party validate the power of Paper to improve outcomes is inspiring,” says Drew Madson, the Head of Impact at Paper. “This is especially true given the significant ELA findings for historically disadvantaged students.” 

Results underscored Paper’s ability to quickly and effectively accelerate students’ ELA learning and echoed similar findings in LearnPlatform’s analysis of Paper usage in other school districts.

According to Addison Davis, superintendent at HCPS, “Paper has allowed our students to not only have a better conceptual understanding of the content, but also to be able to navigate and overcome their individual challenges and see academic gains.”

“Aligning an Educational Support System (ESS) with rigorous research is crucial to driving impact for all students,” says Phil Cutler, CEO at Paper. “The success of HCPS in accelerating student ELA achievement is a testament to this approach. We’re dedicated to supporting districts with solutions that are grounded in research to ensure every student is set up for a confident, successful life.”


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