Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s What’s Happening?   Demonstrates Significant Improvements in Literacy Skills for Middle and High School Students

BOSTON – Global education leader Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) today announced the results of a year-long study highlighting the effectiveness of its trusted literacy intervention program for middle and high school students, What’s Happening? © 2012.  During the 2012-2013 academic year, the Educational Research Institute of America (ERIA) conducted a study on the program’s ability to improve the reading skills and strategies of secondary school students.

The results, measured by pre-and post-tests, showed significant improvements in literacy skills, with an overall increase in the percentage of students reading at higher grade levels. Average student scores increased by 9%, and most notably, students who displayed lower reading levels at the beginning of the study showed marked improvements by the end of the academic year, increasing their scores by nearly 20% (see figure 1).

“The results from this study exemplify HMH’s commitment to ensuring that our customers receive only the most reliable and effective educational content,” said Mary Cullinane, Chief Content Officer and EVP, Corporate Affairs, HMH. “What’s Happening? can be paired with any ELA program, making it a flexible option for educators seeking to support students and strengthen the essential literacy skills they need for academic and career success.”

The ERIA study included students in grades seven through nine across seven different schools. A total of 19 teachers used What’s Happening? for 20 or more weeks, averaging three to five days per week for at least 30 minutes per session.

Student performance was measured by administering a comprehensive pre-test in September that was designed to cover the key reading skills and strategies taught in the What’s Happening? program. The positive results of a similar post-test at the end of the school year in June underscored the program’s capacity to effectively narrow literacy achievement gaps within student cohorts.

What’s Happening? is a supplementary reading intervention program for middle and high school students  designed to improve reading proficiency and test scores of Tier II students. The Student Edition includes high-interest, relatable nonfiction articles with before-, during-, and after-reading scaffolding and activities that promote student engagement. The Teacher’s Guide offers a variety of resources, including assessment support, as well as Lexile® levels for each selection. What’s Happening? instruction focuses on comprehension, vocabulary and fluency and can be effectively partnered with any  ELA curriculum, such as Collections © 2015, HMH’s dynamic new Common Core aligned literature program offering state-of-the-art digital solutions.

For more information on What’s Happening?, please visit hmhco.com/whatshappening.


What's Happening Figure 1

Figure 1 provides a pretest-to-posttest comparison of the standard scores of lower and higher scoring pretest students.

Source: Beck, M., Conner, J. & Kruse, K. A Study of the Instructional Effectiveness of What’s Happening © 2012. Report 148, July, 2013.

About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (NASDAQ:HMHC) is a global learning company with the mission of changing people’s lives by fostering passionate, curious learners. Among the world’s largest providers of pre-K–12 education solutions and one of its longest-established publishing houses, HMH combines cutting-edge research, editorial excellence and technological innovation to improve teaching and learning environments and solve complex literacy and education challenges. HMH’s interactive, results-driven education solutions are utilized by 50 million students in over 150 countries, and its renowned and awarded novels, non-fiction, children's books and reference works are enjoyed by readers throughout the world. For more information, visit www.hmhco.com.