Background

Minnesota Public Radio reports that “53% of Minnesota fourth graders and 44% of eighth graders reached math proficiency thresholds in 2019.”1 When disaggregated by race/ethnicity, about 63% of white students met state standards, compared to 26% of black students and 31% of Hispanic students.2 It is against this backdrop that ServeMinnesota (ServeMN) administers the Math Corps program.

A growing initiative, ServeMinnesota’s Math Corps (a division of AmeriCorps) is a regional tutoring program. Math Corps “provides free, evidence-based interventions to keep all of our students on track in math and to success in college, careers, and beyond” writes CEO Audrey Suker. 

Math Corps engaged with Ecotone to help prove and communicate the value of their model and their work.

Ecotone’s Work

As with all Impact Overview engagements, the collaboration began with a deep dive to create and refine a logic model based on the ServeMN theory of change. Ecotone’s proprietary approach uses social science research and applied economics to, among other things, calculate a Social Return on Investment (SROI). For ServeMN, Ecotone calculated a projected SROI of $3.83 for every $1 invested. Breaking down returns to funders, for every $1 of investment by the state, nearly $4 is returned while private donors can expect to see an impact of over $7 per dollar invested. The Sankey diagram below visualizes these benefits and to whom those benefits accrue: students, schools, taxpayers, society, and the tutors themselves.  

Outcomes

Ecotone’s work has been instrumental for ServeMN in their advocacy, messaging, and fundraising efforts. Ecotone’s tools also help promote and expand interest in the Math Corps program from various stakeholders ranging from policy makers to private donors to tutors. With these assets, ServeMN hopes to continue expansion and reduce the achievement gap so that it may one day be eliminated.

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2019/10/30/minnesota-math-and-reading-scores-on-par-or-higher-than-national-averages
https://www.mprnews.org/story/2019/08/29/minnesota-math-scores-continue-decline

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