Student Achievement Guarantee in Education (SAGE)

An Effective Practice


The Student Achievement Guarantee in Education (SAGE) program is a statewide effort in Wisconsin to increase the academic achievement of children living in poverty. The key mechanism used to achieve this goal is a reduction of the student-teacher ratio in kindergarten through third grade to 15 to 1. In addition to class size reduction, schools participating in the program are expected to implement curricula with a rigorous academic focus, engage in professional development and accountability plans, and develop "lighted schoolhouse" before- and after-school programming with activities for both students and community members.

Goal / Mission

The goal of this program is to increase the academic achievement of children living in poverty.

Results / Accomplishments

Overall, analyses of test results at the classroom level suggest that students in smaller classrooms tended to score significantly higher in language arts, mathematics, and reading as well as the total CTBS score after adjusting for individual pretest results, socioeconomic status, and attendance. In other words, classrooms with fewer students were more likely to have higher class average achievement scores and were more likely to contribute to closing the achievement gap between African American and white students than were classrooms with a higher number of students.

When SAGE began in 1996 the program was limited to districts with high poverty schools. In 2000 the law was changed to allow any Wisconsin school to apply. Approximately 500 schools participated in the 2005-06 school year.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Elizabeth McClure
SAGE Program Coordinator
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
P.O. Box 7841
Madison, WI 53707-7841
Education / Student Performance K-12
Education / School Resources
Education / School Environment
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
Promising Practices Network
Date of publication
Sep 2006
Date of implementation
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Target Audience