Serving approximately 4,270 students in Grades 9–12, James A. Garfield Senior High School (Garfield High) is one of more than 60 high schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). As the second-largest public school district in the country, LAUSD serves approximately 695,000 diverse students in Grades Pre-K–12, at 696 schools. The large majority of students at Garfield High are Hispanic (99%). Approximately 87% of the students receive free and reduced-price lunch, and 30% of students are classified as English learners (EL).
Garfield High had been using READ 180 as an integral component of its English 1 Intensive course for ninth-grade students since 2008. During the 2010–2011 academic year, the school continued using READ 180 with its English 1 Intensive course for ninth graders and expanded to offer an English 2 Intensive course for tenth graders. The English 1 and English 2 Intensive courses are yearlong courses built on the daily 90-minute READ 180 Instructional model, which consists of time spent on the Instructional software, small-group instruction, and modeled and independent reading.
Students who performed at the Basic or below performance levels on the prior year’s California Standards Test of English Language Arts (CST ELA) were enrolled into one of the English 1 or 2 Intensive courses. Students who were enrolled into an English 2 Intensive course had also placed into READ 180 during the 2009–2010 school year after having performed in the lower quartile of the CST ELA Far Below Basic Performance Level during the spring of 2009.
Data from the CST ELA was obtained from 232 ninth-grade and 183 tenth-grade students who used the program during the 2010–2011 school year. Analyses of the reading performance for ninth-grade students enrolled in English 1 Intensive revealed remarkable improvements. After one year of English 1 Intensive, built on the READ 180 model, nearly 30% of these students performed at the Proficient level or above. As Graph 1 shows, from spring 2010 to spring 2011, the percentage of students who performed at Basic or below decreased from 99% (63% at Basic + 33% at Below Basic + 3% at Far Below Basic) in spring 2010 to 70% (54% + 14% + 2%) in spring 2011. In tandem, the percentage of students who performed at Proficient or above on the CST ELA increased from 1% to 29%.
Likewise, tenth-grade students enrolled in English 2 Intensive also revealed improvements. As Graph 2 shows, from spring 2010 to spring 2011, the percentage of students who performed at Basic or below decreased from 89% (65% + 16% + 8%) to 86% (60% + 25% + 1%). Concurrently, the percentage of students who performed at Proficient or above on the CST ELA increased from 10% to 13%.