READ 180: Newark Public Schools

At a glance

  • Strong Evidence
  • Program: Read 180®
  • Subjects: Literacy Curriculum, Intervention Curriculum
  • Report Type: Efficacy Study, Study Conducted by Third Party
  • Grade Level: Middle
  • Region: Northeast
  • Population: Students with Disabilities
  • Race/Ethnicity: Black, Hispanic
  • District Urbanicity: Urban
  • District Size: Large
  • Implementation Model: 80+ Minutes
  • District: Newark Public Schools, NJ
  • Participants: N=5,098
  • Outcome Measure: Reading and Language Arts Subscales of the Stanford Achievement Test Series, Tenth Edition (SAT-10)
  • Evaluation Period: 2006–2011
  • Study Conducted by: Westat, Inc.
Struggling students, including those with disabilities, show gains in reading achievement after READ 180.

The Newark Public Schools (NPS) system is the largest school district in New Jersey, serving a population of approximately 39,440 diverse students. Struggling middle school students in NPS participated in the Striving Readers program for five project years, spanning from 2006 to 2011. A third-party research organization, Westat® Inc., evaluated the impact of the READ 180 intervention on the reading achievement of eligible participants over this period (Meisch et al., 2011).

The original Striving Readers sample included all students in Grades 6–8 in participating schools who were reading two or more years below grade level. In year one, participants consisted of eligible students in Grades 6–8. In years two through four, additional students were added to the sample in the sixth grade only. In year five, no new students were added, and only the eighth-grade students were followed.

To assess program impact, data from SAT-10™ were collected for 5,098 students across the five years.

Overall, students who received two years of READ 180 instruction performed significantly better on the Reading Comprehension subtest of the SAT-10 than control group students (effect size of .14). This finding held for students with disabilities and African American students, with READ 180 being particularly effective for students with disabilities (Table 1). Students with disabilities performed significantly better on the Vocabulary subtest of SAT-10 after receiving one year of READ 180 instruction (effect size of .13), as well as on the Reading Comprehension subtest after receiving two years of READ 180 instruction (effect size of .22). Male students and African American students who received READ 180 instruction for two years also performed significantly better on the Reading Comprehension subtest (effect size of .21 and .15, respectively). Graph 1 displays those results that were statistically significant. Generally, students who received one year or three years of READ 180 instruction had higher mean scores on SAT-10 subtests than control group students; however, these differences did not reach statistical significance.

4 2 Newark Table 1
*p,0.05; **p,0.01
4 2 Newark Graph 1

GRAPH 1. Newark Public Schools READ 180 and Control Group Students, Grades 6–8 (N=5,098)

Performance on SAT-10 Reading and Language Arts Subscales by Student Group, 2006 to 2011

Note. Significant effect sizes were translated into percentile gains to predict the amount of improvement in terms of percentile points, e.g., with a percentile gain of six, students scoring at the 50th percentile on the SAT-10 would be predicted to score at the 56th percentile after using READ 180.

Meisch, A., Hamilton, J., Chen, E., Quintanilla, P., Fong, P., Gray-Adams, K., Petta, I., & Thornton, N. (2011). Striving readers study: Targeted and whole-school interventions— Year 5. Rockville, MD: Westat. Retrieved from