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For over 20 years, Idaho leaders have recognized the critical importance of early childhood literacy. In this time, the Idaho State Legislature, State Board of Education and State Department of Education have developed policies, rules and plans as well as implemented programs to support reading proficiency in Idaho’s kindergarten through third grade students. In 2015, the Board of Education published an updated Comprehensive Literacy Plan for the state. The Legislature responded in 2016 by amending statutes related to early literacy development and establishing the current Literacy Intervention Program. In 2018, the Idaho Policy Institute completed an external evaluation of the Literacy Intervention Program requested by the Legislature. In 2019, the Legislature requested an additional, updated external evaluation. This report serves as that evaluation. The report evaluates the Literacy Intervention Program and discusses its design, use of funds and effectiveness during its first three years.

The Literacy Intervention Program enables tailored literacy intervention plans at the Local Education Agency-level, allowing for flexibility to account for local needs. The mandated collection of data such as Idaho Reading Indicator scores, program budgets and annual expense reports is necessary for ongoing evaluation.

Three years of expense data indicate a trend in which Local Education Agencies are better anticipating costs associated with the Program. This allows them to allocate their resources more efficiently.

The testing instrument and procedures were changed (moving from the legacy IRI to the new IRI by Istation) in the Program’s third year in order to more effectively evaluate student literacy achievement. This change in testing limits the ability to compare overall literacy achievement across all Program years. However, early indications of patterns within the data can inform the Program’s implementation and evaluation in the future.


This report was prepared by Idaho Policy Institute at Boise State University and commissioned by the Idaho Office of the State Board of Education.