Situated in western Orange County, the Huntington Beach Union High School District (HBUHSD) enrolls more than 16,000 students. Approximately 45% of students were White, 22% were Asian American, 22% were Hispanic/Latino, 7% Native American, 1% Filipino, 1% African American, 1% Pacific Islander, and less than 1% multiracial. Twenty-one percent of HBUHSD students qualifed for free and reduced-price lunch through the National School Lunch Program, and 10% of students were English learners (EL).
HBUHSD was seeking to implement an adolescent literacy program for at-risk ninth-grade students, with the goal of strengthening students’ literacy skills and setting them on track for college. Toward this end, the district offered threehigh schools the opportunity to pilot a new English 1 Intensive class that carefully integrated English 1 and READ 180 into a comprehensive and cohesive course of study that would meet the A–G requirements for University of California-approved course work.
During the 2008–2009 school year, the English 1 Intensive course was implemented with ninth-grade students in three classes in three different schools. The English 1 Intensive course combined the READ 180 90-minute instructional model with additional core literature designed to support the California Standards for ninth-grade English. Students who were selected to participate in the program scored a grade equivalent of 7.5 on the Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension Subtests of the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test® (GMRT®) in their eighth-grade year (in February 2008).
Students using READ 180 in English 1 Intensive course outperformed students in traditional English 1 course on CST ELA.
In an effort to measure achievement gains in the English 1 Intensive course, 2008 and 2009 data from the GMRT and California Standards Test of English Language Arts (CST ELA) were gathered from 50 students enrolled in the English 1 Intensive course and a comparison group of 118 students solely enrolled in the traditional English 1 course (Scholastic Research, 2009).
Ninth-grade students who participated in HBUHSD’s English 1 Intensive course outperformed their peers in the traditional English 1 class on measures of comprehension skills and ninth-grade English Language Arts standards. On the Comprehension subtest of the GMRT, an analysis of variance (ANOVA) demonstrated that a significantly greater proportion of students in the English 1 Intensive classes (46%) performed at or above the ninth-grade equivalent at posttest in 2009, as compared with 28% of students in the traditional English 1 course (Graph 1).
Students in the English 1 Intensive course also demonstrated positive outcomes on the CST ELA. ANOVA results indicated that a significantly greater proportion of students in the English 1 Intensive classes (44%) scored Proficient or Advanced on the 2009 CST ELA. Forty-four percent of the English 1 Intensive students scored Proficient or Advanced in 2009, compared with 27% of students in the traditional English 1 classes (Graph 2).