System 44: Bethlehem Area School District
At a glance
  • Demonstrates a Rationale
  • Programs: System 44®, Read 180®
  • Subjects: Intervention Curriculum, Literacy Curriculum
  • Report Type: Efficacy Study
  • Grade Level: Elementary
  • Region: Northeast
  • District Urbanicity: Suburban
  • District Size: Large
  • Implementation Model: 40-59 Minutes, 60-79 Minutes
  • District: Bethlehem Area School District, PA
  • Participants: N=68
  • Outcome Measure: Reading Inventory, Phonics Inventory
  • Evaluation Period: 2011–2012
  • Study Conducted by: Scholastic Research

Read 180 now incorporates the comprehensive foundational literacy skills scope and sequence from System 44.

Elementary students demonstrate significant gains on decoding and fluency after using System 44.

Bethlehem Area School District enrolls approximately 15,000 students in Grades K–12 in 16 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, and 2 high schools. The majority of students in Bethlehem are White (55%), 9.5% are African American, 32.3% are Hispanic, 3.1% are Asian, and 0.2% are American Indian.

During the 2011–2012 school year, 68 elementary school students in Grades 3 through 5 in Bethlehem Area School District were selected to participate in a study of System 44’s  effectiveness. System 44 was first implemented in the district during the 2009–2010 school year, making it the third year that the program had been implemented in the elementary schools. Six elementary schools participated in the study, each of which was a Title 1 school. While the eligibility criteria varied from school to school, the schools were directed to use the following data points: Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA), Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS®), Study Island, and Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) for third graders. Reading Specialists then targeted kids based on these data points, as well as on Phonics Inventory® and Reading Inventory® scores. Generally, students who were at the low end of Basic and the high end of Below Basic on the Reading Inventory for their grade levels were eligible for System 44. Teacher recommendations were also considered. Students who were placed into System 44 classrooms at Bethlehem were expected to receive 60 to 90 minutes of instruction, three to five times per week. The model varied across the district with some schools using a stand-alone System 44 model and some schools using an integrated System 44/READ 180® model.


Phonics Inventory and Reading Inventory data were collected and analyzed for students who used the program during the 2011–2012 school year. Phonics Inventory and Reading Inventory outcomes showed positive gains for the System 44 students on measures of decoding and fluency. Analysis of Phonics Inventory Decoding Status showed that the percentage of System 44 students identified as Developing Decoder or Advancing Decoder increased from the first Phonics Inventory assessment to the last, whereas the percentage of students identified as Pre-Decoder or Beginning Decoder decreased (Graph 1). System 44 students also made significant gains in Phonics Inventory Total Fluency (6.6 points) from the first Phonics Inventory assessment to the last. On the Reading Inventory, System 44 students demonstrated significant gains in their Lexile® (L) scores from pretest to posttest (215L), with an average of nearly one-third of students exceeding their individual growth targets.

When both Phonics Inventory and Reading Inventory outcomes were considered as a function of System 44 software progress, students who completed more topics demonstrated greater gains. For Phonics Inventory Fluency, students completing more software topics demonstrated higher initial fluency scores, as well as significantly greater gains in fluency across the school year (Graph 2). For Reading Inventory, students completing 60+ software topics demonstrated significantly greater Lexile gains across the school year than students completing fewer than 60 software topics (Graph 3).

2.1 Bethlehem Graph 1

GRAPH 1. Bethlehem System 44 Students, Grades 3–5 (N=68)

Performance on Phonics Inventory by Decoding Status, 2011–2012

2.1 Bethlehem Graph 2

GRAPH 2. Bethlehem System 44 Students, Grades 3–5 (N=68)

Performance on Phonics Inventory Total Fluency as a Function of System 44 Software Usage, 2011–2012

2.1 Bethlehem Graph 3

GRAPH 3. Bethlehem System 44 Students, Grades 3–5 (N=68)

Performance on Reading Inventory as a Function of System 44 Software Usage, 2011–2012