The Effects of Doubling Instruction Efforts on Middle School Students’ Achievement

In this new paper, the authors study a double-dose program implemented in the middle schools of a mid-sized Midwest School District (MSD). Starting in the school year 2010–2011, the MSD increased instructional time for middle-school students who did not meet required standards in a subject. This intervention is called “double blocking,” because the student is assigned to a second block (a second period) in that subject. Students assigned to a second block are provided with a combination of direct instruction, independent practice time, and computerized exercises and quizzes. Bartik and Lachowska estimate the effects of double blocking sixth-grade students on their academic performance in middle school using a regression-discontinuity design and find large, positive, and persistent effects of double blocking in reading. But, unlike previous research, they find no statistically significant effects of double blocking in mathematics either in the short run or medium run.


Timothy J. Bartik headshot

Timothy J. Bartik

Senior Economist
Marta Lachowska headshot

Marta Lachowska

Senior Economist and Deputy Director of Research

Research Topics: K-12 Education