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Efficacy Evaluation of Zoology One

Integrated literacy & science curriculum to improve reading, writing, and science achievement of kindergarten students
July 2016—Present

About Zoology One: Kindergarten Research Labs

The efficacy evaluation of Zoology One: Kindergarten Research Labs is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305A160109 to the University of Pennsylvania.

The evaluation was a multi-site randomized controlled trial conducted in Philadelphia that examined the effects of the Zoology One curriculum (now ARC Core) on kindergarten student learning in literacy and science compared to business-as-usual literacy instruction. The project continues to follow students into upper elementary grades to explore longitudinal effects. Findings from the kindergarten year are summarized here and results from the study can be read here.

Zoology One, which is now called ARC Core, is a curriculum developed by the American Reading Company that integrates literacy and science instruction. The program features code-focused instruction, high-volume print exposure, complex text exposure, and integrated science and literacy instruction. Specific components of the program include direct instruction via flexible grouping, formative assessments and progress monitoring, high-volume reading and writing practices, accountable talk, professional development, and parent support resources. Zoology One also includes books, a curriculum guide for teachers, and various assessments.

This project is currently being led by Principal Investigator Dr. Brooks Bowden and Co-PI Dr. Ryan Fink. Project team members include Dr. Karina Diaz, Katarina Suwak, Dr. Sangyoo Lee, and Hanna Bernard. Dr. Abigail Gray of the School District of Philadelphia and Dr. Philip Sirinides of Pennsylvania State University are also key collaborators, who lead the design and study team, serving in PI roles on the project until 2019.

Project Activities

The research team collected longitudinal data from both students and teachers, following students who participated in the study in kindergarten through 4th grade. Standardized assessment data was collected from the school district (such as DRA scores) to evaluate the long-term impacts of the Zoology One curriculum on student learning. Additionally, teachers who implemented the curriculum during the study may or may not have elected to continue using the curriculum materials after their participation in the study ended. The research team collected data from these teachers regarding their sustained use and non-use of the curriculum. The initial study and ongoing work also include significant efforts to understand both the implementation of the curriculum as well as the cost. Findings in these areas provide a comprehensive understanding of how the curriculum interacts with teachers and students, as well as the resources required to implement the program.



The research team is continuing its work to disseminate findings through journal article submissions and a variety of policy and practice briefs. This includes student impacts and implementation findings regarding teachers continued use of the curriculum. Findings from the initial study can be found here. 

Consortium for Policy Research in Education

University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education
3440 Market Street, Suite 560
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Tel: 215.573.0700
Fax: 215.573.7914


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