The Ohio Department of Youth Services (ODYS) is the juvenile corrections system for approximately 110,000 youth, ages 10 to 21, in the state of Ohio. There are currently four ODYS facilities, each of which operates a year-round school that offers general curriculum as well as vocation opportunities. At the start of the Striving Readers Program , there were eight facilities in ODYS; however, by year five there were only five facilities that remained open.
From the 2006–2007 school year to the 2010–2011 school year, The Ohio State University conducted a study involving five cohorts of eligible students from the ODYS facilities (Loadman, Moore, Zhu, Zhao, & Lomax, 2011). Students were randomly assigned to receive either READ 180 instruction or traditional English classes.
In order to be eligible to participate in the study, students had to meet three criteria: 1) assigned to the care of ODYS for more than six months; 2) have a Lexile® (L) measure below grade level (approximately 1000L), but above Below Basic level (200L or less), at baseline on the Reading Inventory®; and 3) cannot be a high school graduate. The majority of students who participated in the study were African American (70.3% in the READ 180 group and 68.2% in the control group), followed by White (22.9% and 25.7%, respectively). Of these students, 96.2% in each group were male. In the READ 180 group, 44.8% were classified as students with disabilities. As Table 1 shows, these students were further classified by type of disability.
To assess program implementation, input ratings and instructional model ratings were determined for each of the five years. To assess program impact, data from the Reading Inventory was collected across the five years for 1,245 students (677 students in the READ 180 treatment group and 568 in the control group), and data from the ReadCAT was collected for 243 students (133 students in the READ 180 treatment group and 110 in the control group).
Table 2 summarizes the five years of program implementation ratings. Overall, implementation of READ 180 occurred at a high level 49% of the time and at a moderate level 32% of the time across the five years. Nineteen percent of the time, the implementation was deemed in need of improvement. The professional development implementation was rated more highly than the instruction implementation. The majority of the time, professional development attendance was high (71%), followed by moderate attendance (19%) and attendance deemed in need of improvement (10%). For the instruction implementation, the majority of the time the amount of READ 180 instruction delivery was moderate (44%), followed by an equal amount of high delivery and delivery that was deemed in need of improvement (28% in both cases).
Reading Inventory results revealed a significant overall impact on Lexile measures (effect size of .21) for READ 180 students (Graph 1). Students in the READ 180 group outperformed the control group students by an average of 59 Lexile points. Additionally, according to ReadCAT Grade Equivalent scores, READ 180 had a significant overall impact on student reading outcomes (effect size of .26). Students in the READ 180 group outperformed the control group students by an average of 0.61 scale points, the equivalent of over half a year’s gain.
Loadman, W., Moore, R., Weijia, R., Zhu, J., Zhao, J., & Lomax, R. (2011). Striving readers year 5 project evaluation report: Ohio. Submitted to OESE June 2010. Retrieved on 11/18/2010 from http://www2.ed.gov/programs/strivingreaders/ohioeval.pdf
The Striving Readers Program was funded by the United States Department of Education with two aims: 1) to raise middle and high school students’ literacy levels in Title I-eligible schools with significant numbers of students reading below grade levels; and 2) to build a strong, scientific research base for identifying and replicating strategies that improve adolescent literacy skills. The full reports for each district are available at www2.ed.gov/programs/strivingreaders/.