Effingham County Schools, GA

Mixed-model READ 180 and System 44 middle school students outperform nonparticipating peers on Georgia Criterion-Referenced Competency Test.


Evaluation Period: 2013–2014 
Grades: 5–9 
Category: Implementation, Independent Measure
Assessment: Georgia Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT), The Reading Inventory
Participants: N=2,042 
Implementation: 55- to 75-minute blended learning model


Effingham County Schools (ECS) includes 14 schools that serve 11,462 students in Grades Pre-K through 12. The mission of ECS is “to provide rigorous and relevant instruction in a safe environment to enable all students to obtain ... postsecondary success.” Of the approximately 55,000 people who live in Ef ngham County, 83% are Caucasian, 14% are African American, and 3% are either Hispanic/ Latino, Asian, or American Indian/Alaska Native.

In the 2013–2014 school year, ECS implemented READ 180 Next Generation (NG) and System 44 Next Generation (NG) in their sixth- through ninth-grade classrooms as part of a Response to Intervention (RTI) model. Students identified as readers struggling with comprehension were placed into READ 180NG, and students identi ed as readers struggling with foundational literacy skills were placed into System 44 NG. The two programs were implemented together within classrooms as part of a multitiered, blended learning model.

All three middle schools in Ef ngham County participated in this study. In the READ 180 NG program, there were 81 sixth-grade students, 87 seventh-grade students, 67 eighth-grade students, and 37 ninth-grade students for a total of 272 students included in the study. As part of a mixed-model intervention, students received READ 180 NG Tier 2 or System 44 NG Tier 3 instruction daily, for 75 minutes in one middle school and for 55 minutes in two middle schools.


Across the grades, students used the READ 180 NG software an average of 28 hours over the year. An average of 94 sessions took place during this time, which resulted in the completion of 14 segments.

READ 180 NG and System 44 NG students outperformed their nonparticipating peers on the reading section of the Georgia Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT). Across the schools, 176 students enrolled in READ 180 NG or System 44 had an average SGP increase of 13.6 percentile points, whereas 1,873 non-READ 180 NG or System 44 students had an average SGP decrease of 1.8 points. See Graph 1.

Overall, READ 180 NG students also experienced a signi cant average fall-to-spring Lexile gain of 148L on The Reading Inventory, with 77% of students exceeding average annual growth. Seventh and eighth graders had the greatest mean Lexile gains (168L for both, with 87% and 81% of students exceeding average annual growth, respectively), followed by ninth graders (128L, with 68% of students exceeding average annual growth) and sixth graders (128L, with 67% of students exceeding average annual growth). See Graph 2.

These results provide evidence that students who received READ 180 NG instruction as part of a mixed-model intervention made signi cant improvements on both proximal measures of reading achievement such as The Reading Inventory and distal measures of reading achievement such as the Georgia CRCT Reading.