Lawrence Public Schools (LPS) began using READ 180 with nine schools in the 2005–2006 school year. By the 2008– 2009 school year, 15 schools (nine elementary and middle schools, and six high schools), 38 classes, 34 teachers, and 513 students were using READ 180. More than half (53%) were general education students, 32% were students with disabilities, 12% were English learners (ELs), and 4% were both EL and had a disability. The majority, 83%, of READ 180 students were in the fourth through eighth grades.
Upon conclusion of the 2008–2009 school year, the Office of Assessment and Accountability in LPS gathered numerous data sources to compile a comprehensive picture of READ 180 students’ literacy achievement. Findings from the analysis were summarized by Scholastic Research (2010) for 426 students enrolled in READ 180 who had both pretest and posttest data during the 2008–2009 school year.
Data from the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System English Language Arts (MCAS ELA) and Northwest Evaluation Association Measures of Academic Progress (NWEA® MAP®) were collected from READ 180 students during the 2008–2009 school year.
Findings show READ 180 students demonstrated measurable gains on the MCAS ELA from 2008 to 2009. Overall, 50% of all READ 180 students increased their Performance Level by more than one category. Students in the fifth and seventh grades made the largest improvement, with 58% of fifth graders and 63% of seventh graders increasing their scores by at least one Performance Level (Graph 1). When the data were disaggregated by educational classification, these positive trends continued. Just over half (55%) of general education students improved their Performance Level on the MCAS ELA; similarly, nearly half of the students with dual classifications (disability and EL) increased at least one Performance Level from 2008 to 2009 (Graph 2).
Using historical MCAS and NWEA MAP data, the Office of Assessment and Accountability in LPS-aligned MAP Rasch Unit (RIT) scores with the MCAS Performance Levels. RIT scores are used to calculate yearly expected growth targets on NWEA MAP in order to meet MCAS performance benchmarks. Student performance on NWEA MAP is then labeled as falling below the target (Below Target), meeting the target (Met Target), or scoring above the target (Above Target).
Results from the 2009 MAP revealed that READ 180 general education and EL students made the greatest progress over the course of the year, with 67% and 56% meeting or exceeding the target, respectively. Performance improvements trailed closely behind for students with disabilities and students with dual classifications (disability and EL), with 53% and 50% meeting or exceeding the target, respectively (Table 1).