Pledge Posts Significant Gains in K-12 Math And Literacy Performance
Posted February 9, 2000
New data from the 1998-1999 school year reveals that students participating in the Berkeley Pledge, a K-12 outreach program, have posted impressive gains in math, reading and writing.
For example, third graders in a Washington Elementary School class in Richmond who participated in a pledge program called Break the Cycle performed so well on a standardized math exam that the class's ranking within the district rose from 30th to 9th.
Such successes continue to raise the program's stature as a national model, and the Berkeley Pledge could guide anyone seeking to turn around troubled schools.
"We're helping children excel. These are children whom many in society would have callously written off as not meriting a college education," said Anita Madrid, director of the Berkeley Pledge. "We see some little ones whose lives are turned around in six months to a year because they have hope and new skills."
The pledge, launched in 1995 as a partnership with Bay Area schools, is guided by research, continual assessment and the in-the-trenches work of undergraduate students, campus educators and K-12 teachers and administrators.
During the 1996-1997 school year, pledge students made significant improvements in math. In the 1997-1998 school year, they continued their math achievements and also were offered pledge programs in literacy. In the 1998-1999 school year, students made marked improvements in three areas -- math, reading and writing.
In addition to the third graders in Richmond, there are many success stories connected with the Berkeley Pledge.
They include the Cal Reads literacy program at Martin Luther King Middle School in Berkeley, where every young participant saw his or her reading scores climb; and a writing program at San Francisco's Burton High School that helped 20 percent more ninth graders pass the school district test. That writing program was designed by teachers and the pledge-funded Bay Area Writing Project.
U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley has hailed the pledge as a national model. And, the National Center for Urban Partnerships recently selected Madrid to join a team of education leaders who hold national training sessions to help colleges and schools build partnerships.
Under the Berkeley Pledge, UC Berkeley educators and students offer K-12 schools help with curriculum development, teacher training, mentorships, summer school, in-class support and tutoring.