The Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) is a national organization which represents the needs of urban public schools. One of CGCS’s primary goals is to ensure that America’s public schools are educating the nation’s most diverse student body to the highest academic standards.
During the 2000–2001 school year, a study was conducted to examine the impact of READ 180 on the reading achievement of middle school students enrolled in seven urban school districts. Each district agreed to recruit two middle schools for the study. The research design called for each school to rank order their sixth- and seventh-grade students by reading ability, then randomly assign the lowest-ranked students to either a READ 180 class or a control group.
A third-party research company, Interactive, Inc., monitored and evaluated the study implementation (Interactive, Inc., 2002). Four of the seven districts provided valid pretest and posttest student data. This report describes the impact of READ 180 on students who were enrolled in Boston Public Schools (BPS), MA; Columbus City Schools (CCS), OH; Dallas Independent School District (DISD), TX; and Houston Independent School District (HISD), TX. READ 180 was implemented in four middle schools in BPS, two in CCS, four in DISD, and two in HISD.
Interactive, Inc. examined Stanford Achievement Test Series, Ninth Edition (SAT-9), reading test data for 881 students who had valid test scores from 2000 and 2001. Results were reported based on when the pretests and posttests were administered. Students in BPS, DISD, and HISD took the SAT-9 in spring 2000 and spring 2001. For all READ 180 students in these three districts, the difference in growth between the treatment and control groups (+22.94 and +17.24, respectively) was statistically significant and in favor of the students in the READ 180 classes (F=12.624, p=0.000). Graph 1 shows the differences in reading growth, broken down by district.
In CCS, the pretest was administered in fall 2000, and the posttest was administered in spring 2001. The difference in the growth between the treatment and control groups (+14.4 and -3.8, respectively) was statistically significant and in favor of the students in the READ 180 classes (Graph 2).
Using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) to control for prior levels of achievement, the difference in the adjusted mean between the treatment (648.48) and control groups (642.42) was statistically significant and in favor of the students in the READ 180 classes (F=12.624, p=0.000).
Further, survey and observational data were used to assess the quality of implementation in each participating classroom. BPS, HISD, and CCS implemented READ 180 at both moderate and high-quality levels, while DISD had high-quality implementation. Findings indicated that students in both moderate- and high-quality implementation classrooms averaged significant gains of 27 points and 22 points, respectively on SAT-9, compared to the average gain of 16 points by the control group.
Interactive Inc. (2002). An efficacy study of READ 180, a print and electronic adaptive intervention program, grades 4 and above. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc.
Students in the moderate implementation classrooms had a significantly lower average pretest score than students in high implementation, and thus had a higher gain. The higher pretest score in the high-quality implementation group is likely due to DISD, which only implemented with 8th graders (rather than 6th or 7th graders), and where half of the high implementation classrooms were located.