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1 research update Newark Public Schools, NJ U.S. Department of Education s Striving Readers Program Economically Disadvantaged Students in Newark Public Schools Improve Reading Achievement After Using READ 180 for Two Consecutive Years Around 58% of the students were African American, 33.5% were Hispanic, 7.5% were Caucasian, and 1% were Asian or Other. Approximately 10% of the students were English language learners (ELL) and 14% received special education services. According to an analysis of district achievement data, middle school students were struggling in the area of language arts. In the spring of 2009, only 39% of sixth graders, 37% of seventh graders, and 52% of eighth graders were proficient on the state reading assessment. PROFILE Districts: Newark Public Schools (NPS) Evaluation Period: Evaluator: Westat Grades: 6 8 Model: Daily 90-minute model Assessments: Reading and Language Arts Subscales of the Stanford Achievement Test, Tenth Edition (SAT 10) DISTRICT CHARACTERISTICS The Newark Public School (NPS) system is one of the oldest school systems in New Jersey, dating back to NPS is the largest school district in New Jersey, serving a population of approximately 39,440 diverse students. IMPLEMENTATION OVERVIEW From the school year to the school year, eligible middle schools in NPS participated in the Striving Readers program. 1 The schools were randomly assigned to either the READ 180 treatment condition or to a business-as-usual control condition. In order to be eligible to participate in the study, schools had to meet the following criteria: 1) meet Title 1 eligibility requirements; 2) serve a minimum of two grades (6 8); 3) not already use READ 180; 4) fall under in need of improvement category under the No Child Left Behind Act; and 5) serve a minimum of 25 eligible students. Students were identified as eligible if their scores on the reading subtest of the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJASK) were below the following cut-off scores: 198 in the sixth grade, 186 in the seventh grade, and 192 in the eighth grade. In year one, participants consisted of eligible students in grades six through eight. 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. 1. 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/. 1

2 Implementation Model In the treatment condition schools, the READ 180 intervention replaced the core language arts curriculum for targeted students. In the control condition schools, students received the district s regularly implemented core language arts curriculum. READ 180 directly addresses the individual needs of adolescents reading below grade level by using adaptive and instructional software, high-interest literature, and direct instruction. READ 180 also includes the Scholastic Achievement Manager (SAM), which collects and organizes student performance data for supporting data-driven instruction. Table 1. Newark Public Schools READ 180 and Control Group Students, Grades 6 9 (N = 5,154) Characteristics of Students in the Program Evaluation, READ 180 Students Control Group Students Y1 Y2 Y3 Y4 Y5 Y1 Y2 Y3 Y4 Y5 Number of Students Grade % 35% 35% 35% -- 36% 31% 35% 38% % 36%* 32%* 34%* -- 35% 37% 30% 32% % 29%* 32%+ 31%+ 54%+ 28% 32% 35% 30% 46% Gender Male 57% 56% 59% 60% 66% % Female 43% 44% 41% 40% 34% 45% 49% 45% 37% 35% Status ED 91% 59% 62% 62% n 91% u 84% 57% 58% 61% 83% ELL 6% 8% 11% 15% 12% 8% 7% 9% 11% 11% Special Education 39% 44% 48% 46% 42% 40% 40% 39% 42% 37% Race/Ethnicity Ethnicity African American 57% 57% 54% 53% 49% 58% 54% 54% 57% 53% Hispanic 41% 41% 43% 43% 46% 41% 44% 43% 41% 45% Caucasian <1% 1% 1% 1% <1% 1% 1% 1% 1% -- Other <1% 1% 3% 2% 1% <1% 1% 1% 1% 2% Not identified % 3% * Two years of exposure. + Three years of exposure. n The economic status was not provided for 322 students (178 treatment and 144 control students). u The economic status was not provided for one student. 2

3 Students receiving the READ 180 intervention were expected to receive 90 minutes of instruction daily. The implementation guidelines included specified time for whole-group instruction (20 minutes), small group work with rotations among three stations (60 minutes), and whole-group wrap up (10 minutes). The three rotations consisted of: small-group direct instruction; independent work using READ 180 s computer-assisted instructional (CAI) software; and modeled or independent reading. Teachers using READ 180 received initial and ongoing training on all aspects of the curriculum, as well as on using student data for differentiated instruction and on interpreting READ 180 data reports. Participants Nineteen schools across the district participated in the program; ten schools were randomly assigned to the treatment condition, and nine schools were randomly assigned to the control condition. In year one, there were 1,371 students participating in the program. Of these, 708 students (52%) attended READ 180 treatment schools, and 663 (48%) attended control schools. Thirtyseven percent of the READ 180 students were in the sixth grade; 30% were in the seventh grade, and 33% were in the eighth grade. Across the grades, 57% of the READ 180 students were African American, 41% were Hispanic, <1% were Caucasian, and <1% were Other. A majority of the students were economically disadvantaged (ED) (91%), 6% were English language learners (ELL), and 39% received special education services. In year two, there were 1,232 students (53% treatment); in year three, there were 1,167 students (55% treatment); in year four, there were 1,070 students (54% treatment); and in year five, there were 314 students (54% treatment). Table 1 provides the student characteristics for each of these years. MEASURES Reading and Language Arts Subscales of the Stanford Achievement Test, Tenth Edition (SAT 10) The SAT 10, available in 13 levels that roughly correspond to each year in school, can be used to assess children from kindergarten through high school. Vertical scaling and norm-referenced scores are used by the SAT 10 to ensure scale scores can be directly compared when students are assessed with different grade-level assessments at different times. Each level of the test is broken into subtests that cover various subjects. The Reading and Language Arts subscales of the test contain three subtests Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary, and Language Arts. Implementation Ratings To determine the degree of fidelity to READ 180 implementation, teachers at each school were evaluated from year one to year four on the components of class size, ongoing student assessments, and instructional software. Summary scores for these components were developed each year based on data from SAM reports. Scores that ranged from represented a high level of implementation rating, represented a moderate-tohigh level of implementation rating, represented a low-to-moderate level of implementation rating, and 0 1 represented a low level of implementation rating. RESULTS 1 Implementation Findings To meet fidelity to the class size component, no more than 21 students should be enrolled in a READ 180 classroom per Scholastic s recommendation. Across the READ 180 schools, the average score for years one through four on the class size component was 3.8 points. This score represents a high level of implementation rating, thus indicating that fidelity to the class size component was met. See Graph 1. In six out of the ten READ 180 schools, a perfect score of 4 points was received each year. In the remaining four READ 180 schools, scores increased by a range of 0.3 points to 2 points from year one to year four, so that each school received a perfect score of 4 points by year four. The number of Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) assessments that were administered to students was analyzed to determine fidelity to the ongoing student assessments component. SRI assessments allow teachers to monitor student progress by assessing reading comprehension growth. Since all READ 180 teachers assessed more than 75% of their students at least three times during the year in years two, three, and four, and the vast majority of teachers assessed more than 75% of their students at least three times during the year in year one, the average score for years one through four on the ongoing student assessments component was a perfect score of 4 points. See Graph 1. This score represents a high level of implementation rating, thus indicating that fidelity to the ongoing student assessments component was met in all ten READ 180 schools each year. To meet fidelity to the instructional software component, Scholastic recommends that students use the READ 180 software a minimum of three times a week for minutes per session. Across the READ 180 schools, 1. See final report: Meisch, et al. (2011). Striving Readers study: Targeted and whole-school interventions Year 5. Rockville, MD: Westat. 3

4 Graph 1. Newark Public Schools READ 180 Schools, Grades 6 8, (N = 10) Summary Scores for Intervention Implementation, Implementation Score Year Class Size Ongoing Student Assessments Instructional Software Year Year Year TOTAL Note. Across the years, small class size and ongoing student assessments were implemented with high fidelity. Recommended use of the instructional software was implemented with moderate-to-high fidelity. Scores of = high level of implementation ratings; = moderate-to-high level of implementation ratings; = low-to-moderate level of implementation ratings; 0 1 = low level of implementation ratings. the average score for years one through four on the instructional software component was 2.6 points. See Graph 1. Only in years one and three did the scores represent high level of implementation ratings; in years two and four the level of implementation ratings were low-tomoderate. This indicates that fidelity to the instructional software component was not met with consistency. In all but one READ 180 school, scores dropped by a range of 2 to 3 points from year one to year two, and in all READ 180 schools scores dropped by a range of 1 to 3 points from year three to year four. Impact Findings Based on analyses from five years of Striving Readers data, READ 180 had a positive impact on the reading achievement of struggling students. Three analytic groups students who received one year of READ 180 instruction, students who received two years of READ 180 instruction, and students who received three years of READ 180 instruction were compared to control group students. 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 subgroups of special education students, male students, and African American students, with READ 180 being particularly effective for special education students. Special education students performed significantly better on the Vocabulary subtest of the 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 2 displays those results that were statistically significant. Overall, students who received one year or three years of READ 180 instruction had higher mean scores on the SAT 10 subtests than control group students; however, these differences did not reach statistical significance. 4

5 Graph 2. Newark Public Schools READ 180 Students, Grades 6 8 (N = 5,098) Performance on SAT 10 Reading and Language Arts Subscales, Percentile Gain Over Control Students With Disabilities One Year of READ Male Students Two Years of READ 180 African American Students All Students Note. All students, including students with disabilities, male, and African American students, demonstrated significant improvements in reading achievement after two years of READ 180. Students with disabilities also demonstrated significant improvements in reading achievement after one year of READ 180. 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 CONCLUSION The results of the five year Striving Readers intervention in 19 public schools in Newark demonstrate that struggling students, including those who are economically disadvantaged, who participate in two years of READ 180 instruction, show significant gains in reading achievement beyond those of students who do not participate in the intervention. When breaking down the results further for struggling students, special education students showed significant gains in reading achievement after both one and two years of READ 180 instruction. Male students and African American students demonstrated such gains after two years of READ 180 instruction. While the mean scores for READ 180 students were higher in years one and three than those of control group students, the differences did not reach statistical significance. This finding suggests that struggling students who are reading two or more years below grade level may need two years of READ 180 instruction before significant gains can be observed. While fidelity to the class size and ongoing student assessments components of the implementation remained high across the first four years, fidelity to the instructional software component dropped sharply in years two and four. This decrease in the amount of time that students were able to use the READ 180 software could explain why gains made by students in their third year of READ 180 instruction did not reach statistical significance. 5

6 research update Scholastic Research & Results Scholastic Inc. 557 Broadway New York, NY SCHOLASTIC Scholastic is committed to developing innovative educational programs that are grounded in research and proven to work. We collaborate with school districts and third-party research organizations to conduct evaluations that provide useful information to help school leaders advance school change and improvement. Scholastic believes strongly in a mixed-methods approach to our research, an approach that provides meaningful and contextualized information and results. For more information, please visit the Scholastic Research website at: research.scholastic.com. TM & 2013 by Scholastic Inc. All rights reserved. Other company names, brand names, and product names are the property and/or trademarks of their respective owners. Job# /13

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