Deer Valley Unified School District (DVUSD), located in central Arizona, serves approximately 36,000 students in 37 schools, nine of which receive Title I funding. At the time of the study, 60% of READ 180 students in DVUSD were male, 47% were students with disabilities, and 26% were English learners (EL). Sixty percent were White, 31% were Hispanic, 4% were African American, 2% were Asian, 2% were Native American, and less than 1% were Native Hawaiian.
DVUSD adopted READ 180 to improve the reading skills of elementary and middle school students who performed at the Falls Far Below or Approaching reading standard on the Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) and who also performed poorly on the Reading Inventory®, a measure of reading comprehension. Additionally, students with a reading disability were placed into READ 180.
AIMS Reading test and Reading Inventory scores for 1,036 READ 180 students were obtained during the 2010–2011 school year.
Findings show that after one year of READ 180, students demonstrated significant gains on the AIMS Reading test (Graph 1). Overall, the percentage of READ 180 students meeting the standard increased significantly from 9% in 2010 to 42% in 2011. Students in the fifth and sixth grades made the largest improvements, with the percentage of students meeting or exceeding the standard increasing by 38% and 45%, respectively.
When the results were disaggregated by students with disabilities and ELs, these significant positive trends continued (Graph 2). The percentage of READ 180 students with disabilities meeting or exceeding the AIMS standard more than doubled—from 11% in 2010 to 27% in 2011. In addition, the percentage of READ 180 ELs meeting or exceeding the standard increased substantially—from 6% in 2010 to 37% in 2011.
Further disaggregation of this data indicated that all ethnic groups demonstrated significant increases in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding the AIMS standard from 2010 to 2011 (Graph 3).
Consistent with the AIMS Reading test findings, READ 180 students evidenced significant gains in reading comprehension on the Reading Inventory during the 2010–2011 school year. On average, READ 180 students improved from a pretest score of 312 Lexile® (L) measures to a posttest score of 556L, resulting in a statistically significant gain of 243L. When the data were disaggregated by grade, all grades achieved significant Lexile gains that exceeded annual growth expectations. In addition, students with disabilities, ELs, and all ethnic groups demonstrated significant Lexile gains from 2010 to 2011.