ESSA Studies Show Newsela Products Accelerate Learning

New ESSA Tier II Studies Show Newsela Products Accelerate Learning for Students across ELA and Social Studies

February 27, 2024

Newsela released the findings of four ESSA Tier II efficacy studies showing positive student outcomes for students who used Newsela products compared to their peers who did not. The results demonstrated gains equal to about 3 additional months of literacy growth in ELA and 10 additional months of social studies instruction.

The studies meet the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) standards for "Moderate - Tier II" research. ESSA is America's primary education law that provides a framework for evaluating the effectiveness of educational programs. Tier II research evaluations are well-designed and well-implemented quasi-experimental studies. They compare a treatment group using a target program to a comparable comparison group and demonstrate a statistically significant effect on improving student outcomes. Newsela's recent studies showed consistent results of accelerating learning growth for students across race, ethnicity, gender, and language status.

"When students are given the knowledge and skill-building tools needed to become great readers and critical thinkers, that success is not just seen in the ELA classroom," said Dan Cogan-Drew, Chief Academic Officer of Newsela. "Our latest studies show that Newsela is building strong readers across subjects and the skill and strategy practice ingrained in our suite of products is contributing to real outcomes in the classroom."

Newsela is changing the way skills are practiced in the classroom, and that starts with putting relevant, real-world content and activities at the center of its products. Its content-rich literacy approach, based on the science of reading, helps students build key language comprehension skills like vocabulary, reasoning, and background knowledge that are critical to becoming skilled readers and, as these studies show, producing positive outcomes across subjects.

"Not only did our students show literacy gains after using Newsela ELA, but teachers had access to higher quality resources and better tracking of student achievement and progress," said Pamela Krebs, Dexter Community School Instructional Coach. "If we can simultaneously improve outcomes and take away some of the burden on teachers to find high-quality resources, that's a huge win as a district."


These studies include independent, third-party evaluations designed to align with What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) Standards With Reservations.

  • California - Large Urban District

    • 2,500 6-8th graders across 162 schools participated.

    • Student demographics: Female (50%), Male (50%), Hispanic/Latino (81%), White (8%), Black (3%), Asian (3%), Filipino (3%), two or more races (2%), and American Indian (<1%).

    • Newsela users scored about 4 percentile points higher than non-users on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) state assessment

    • Among Hispanic/Latino students, Newsela users outscored non-users on SBA by about 5 percentiles

  • Michigan - Dexter Community School

    • 188 3rd-4th graders participated.

    • Student demographics: Female (46%), Male (56%), White (94%), free or reduced-lunch (18%), Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) (18%).

    • Fourth grade Newsela ELA users exceeded the state's reading performance average.

    • Students read 44% more nonfiction texts than comparison classes.

  • Washington - Large Suburban District

    • 1,330 6th-8th graders participated.

    • Student demographics: Black (8%), Asian (14%), Hispanic or Latino (21%), two or more races (10%), White (47%); English Language Learner (ELL) (12%), free or reduced-lunch (30%).

    • Newsela ELA users outscored non-users on i-Ready by about 5 percentiles.

    • Among students of color, Newsela users outscored non-users on i-Ready by about 3 percentiles.

  • Wisconsin - Racine Unified School District

    • 264 8th-graders across 8 schools participated.

    • Student demographics: Female (44%), Male (56%), White (51%), Black (14%) Hispanic/Latino (23%), English Language Learner (ELL) (14%)

    • Newsela Social Studies users showed 2x the expected outcomes when compared to non-Newsela peers.

    • Positive impact on achievement was consistent regardless of student race, gender, and/or language status.

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