Hernando County School District (HCSD) is located on the central-west coast of Florida, north of Tampa Bay. Of the 22,820 students the district enrolls, approximately 74% are White, 13% are Hispanic, 7% are African American, 5% are Native American/multiracial, and 1% are Asian. Approximately 16% of students are classified as having disabilities. During the 2009 to 2010 school year, ninth-grade students who scored in Level 1 or Level 2 on the spring 2009 Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) Reading Test were placed into READ 180 .
Spring 2009 and spring 2010 FCAT® Reading Developmental Scale Score (DSS) data were analyzed for 436 ninth-grade READ 180 students. As Graph 1 shows, these students achieved an average FCAT Reading DSS score of 1679 at pretest and 1768 at posttest, resulting in a statistically significant gain of 89 points.
These improvements in performance were maintained when the data were disaggregated, revealing that students with disabilities also demonstrated statistically significant gains (Graph 2). Approximately two-thirds of students with disabilities include those diagnosed with a specific learning disability, including dyslexia. As Graph 3 illustrates, students with a specific learning disability showed the greatest average DSS gain and exceeded expected yearly growth benchmarks on the FCAT Reading Test in 2010.