Research Suggests That School May Not Benefit High-Ability Students’ Reading Achievement

Does school matter? Most anyone’s response would be, unequivocally, yes.

And yet startling results from a recent research study suggest that, depending on the ability of the student, the answer may not be quite so clear-cut.

Researchers Betsy McCoach, professor in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut and director of research at NCRGE, and UConn Neag School alum Karen Rambo-Hernandez ’11 Ph.D., now assistant professor at West Virginia University, set out to examine the extent to which school impacts students’ levels of reading achievement over time.

With access to national data for a population of more than 170,000 students from 2,000 schools, McCoach and Rambo-Hernandez compared students whose reading test scores at the start of third grade ranked in the top 2 percent – a group designated as “initially high-achieving students” – with those students whose reading test scores at the start of third grade were among the average.

Read the full UConn story at

Rambo-Hernandez, K. E., & McCoach, D. B. (2015). High-achieving and average students’ reading growth: Contrasting school and summer trajectories. The Journal of Educational Research, 108, 112-129