System 44: Three Public School Districts for English Learners
At a glance
  • Demonstrates a Rationale
  • Programs: System 44®, Read 180®
  • Subjects: Intervention Curriculum, Literacy Curriculum
  • Report Type: Efficacy Study
  • Grade Level: Elementary, Middle, High
  • Region: Midwest, Northeast
  • Population: English Learners
  • District Size: Large
  • Implementation Model: 40-59 Minutes, 60-79 Minutes, 80+ Minutes
  • District: Three Public School Districts: IN, MA, MI
  • Participants: N=170
  • Outcome Measure: Woodcock-Johnson lll (WJ lll), Reading Inventory, Phonics Inventory
  • Evaluation Period: 2009–2010
  • Study Conducted by: Scholastic Research

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

English learners demonstrate significant improvement in decoding and word-reading fluency.

During the 2009–2010 school year, three public school districts in central Indiana, eastern Massachusetts, and southeastern Michigan piloted System 44 for their most challenged readers who had not yet mastered basic phonics and decoding skills. Total student enrollment in these three urban districts varied from 12,220 to 16,536 students, representing a diverse mix of English learners (EL) and students with disabilities. Across the three districts, a total of 331 students participated in System 44 during the 2009–2010 school year. Approximately 170 of the 331 System 44 students were ELs. The ethnic demographics of the sample varied across the three districts. In the Indiana district, the majority of ELs were Asian/Pacific Islander (83%) or Hispanic (16%). In the Massachusetts district, a large proportion of the ELs were Hispanic (87%) and 13% were identified as multiracial/other. The EL population in the Michigan district was 58% Hispanic, 25% White, 8% African American, 4% Asian/Pacific Islander, and 4% multiracial/other.

A total of 170 third- through eleventh-grade ELs across the three districts comprise the sample in this report. Students were placed into System 44 if they performed poorly on the Reading Inventory®, and then exhibited poor word-reading skills on the Phonics Inventory®System 44 was implemented using a stand-alone model in all three districts. In one district, System 44 was implemented in a 60-minute classroom period that started with a 10-minute whole-group introduction, followed by 25-minute rotations on the instructional software and in small-group instruction. In the other two districts, System 44 classroom periods ranged from 50 to 90 minutes. In all of these classrooms, students participated in whole-group and small-group instruction and were expected to use the software for at least 25 minutes a day. For the purposes of this analysis, all models were analyzed together.


In order to measure changes in reading skills, Phonics Inventory, Woodcock-Johnson® III (WJ III®), and Reading Inventory data were obtained from 170 elementary, middle, and high school students who used the program during the 2009–2010 school year. Findings indicate that this sample of System 44 ELs demonstrated significant improvement in performance on the Phonics Inventory. As shown in Graph 1, ELs across all grades averaged gains of 4.1 points in Fluency. The elementary school students in the sample averaged a 6.1 point gain in Fluency. Middle school ELs gained 3.5 points in Fluency, on average, and high school students evidenced a 1.7 point gain in Fluency, though not statistically significant.

System 44 ELs demonstrated significant improvements on the Basic Reading Skills cluster from the WJ III. Overall, students’ mean score was 7 points higher at posttest than at pretest. Students at the elementary, middle, and high school levels averaged significant gains of 4 points, 8 points, and 11 points on the WJ III Basic Reading Skills cluster, respectively (Table 1).

Reading Inventory results indicated that on average, System 44 ELs also made significant gains in reading comprehension. On average, students improved from 55 Lexile® (L) measures at pretest to 148L at posttest, a statistically significant gain of 93L. As Graph 2 indicates, over the course of the school year, elementary school System 44 ELs improved 141L over the year, middle school students gained 61L, and high school students improved 52L.

2.1 P 51 Graph 1

GRAPH 1. Three Public School Districts’ System 44 English Learners, Grades 3–11 (N=170)

Change in Phonics Inventory Fluency Score by Grade Level, 2009–2010

Note. The gains were statistically significant for overall Fluency (t=8.20, p=.00), elementary school Fluency (t=7.19, p=.00), and middle school Fluency (t=4.83, p=.00).

2.1 P 51 Table 1 1
Note. The increase in score was statistically significant for elementary school (t=3.50, p=.00), middle school (t=5.39, p=.00), high school (t=4.14, p=.00), and overall (t=7.41, p=.00). Standard scores are rounded to the nearest integer.
2.1 P 51 Graph 2

GRAPH 2. Three Public School Districts’ System 44 English Learners, Grades 3–11 (N=134)

Performance on Reading Inventory by School Level, 2009–2010

Note. The gain in Lexile score was statistically significant for all students (t=8.08, p=.00), elementary school students (t=10.35, p=.00), middle school students (t=3.72, p=.00), and high school students (t=2.35, p=.03).