Located outside of Houston, the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District (CFISD) enrolls more than 104,000 students in 50 elementary schools, 16 middle schools, 11 high schools, and four special program facilities. At the time of the study, the district’s student population was largely Hispanic (43%) and White (29%), followed by African American (16%), Asian American (8%), Native American (less than 1%), and Pacific Islander (less than 1%) students. Just under half (42%) of all students received free and reduced-price lunch through the National School Lunch Program; 16% of all students were English learners (EL).
Growing interest in research-based education inspired district leaders to pilot READ 180 as a reading intervention program with a cohort of fifth graders in spring 2007. Due to the pilot’s success, the district expanded READ 180 to 31 elementary schools, 16 middle schools, and 11 high schools.
READ 180 was used as an intervention program for fourth- through twelfth-grade students who were reading below proficiency. Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) Reading and Reading Inventory® data, along with teacher recommendations and grades, were used to identify and place students in the program.
TAKS Reading and Reading Inventory data were collected and analyzed for students who used the program during the 2008–2009 school year. TAKS Reading data was obtained from a total of 2,249 students in Grades 4, 5, 7, 8, and 9 with valid pretest and posttest data. READ 180 students in Grades 4–5 and 7–12 were included in the Reading Inventory analysis, comprising a total sample of 2,799 students with valid pretest and posttest Reading Inventory data.
Across all grades in this analysis, the percentage of READ 180 students achieving Proficiency on TAKS Reading increased from 2008–2009 (Graph 1). Results were particularly impressive for middle school students who demonstrated more than a fourfold increase in proficiency rates on the TAKS. When results were disaggregated by education classification, upper elementary and middle school students with disabilities also exhibited gains. The percentage of upper elementary and middle school students with disabilities achieving Proficiency on the TAKS improved from 40% to 56% and from 16% to 60%, respectively, mirroring the overall findings for these grade levels. While the overall percentage of ninth-grade students achieving Proficiency increased (Graph 1), TAKS reading proficiency level for ninth graders with disabilities remained the same from 2008 to 2009 (30%) (Graph 2).
Reading Inventory results revealed similar trends in reading performance for students in all three school levels. Upper elementary, middle, and high school students gained 1.9, 1.8, and 2.5 grade levels, respectively (Graph 3). Findings also indicated that, on average, 76% of elementary students and 69% of middle and high school students demonstrated 1.0 or more years of reading growth on the Reading Inventory.
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