The study was conducted in five high schools in two districts in Massachusetts.
For the analytic ITT sample (N = 679), 71% were minority, 56% were female, 21% were receiving special education and related services, 4% were EL, 69% received free or reduced price lunch, and average attendance was 92%.
Comparison was 71% minority, 53% female, 19% were receiving special education and related services, 4% were EL, 74% received free or reduced price lunch, and average attendance was 91%.
Read 180 was 74% minority, 61% female, 18% were receiving special education and related services, 3% were EL, 69% received free or reduced price lunch, and average attendance was 90%.
Xtreme Reading was 78% minority, 57% female, 24% were receiving special education and related services, 4% were EL, 76% received free or reduced price lunch, and average attendance was 91%.
Read 180 is a multi-part intervention for struggling readers that includes extensive use of instructional software, small-group instruction, and modeled and independent reading. The program uses "anchored instruction," a pedagogical technique that relies on "authentic situations as anchors" for problem solving. The program also uses computer-assisted instructional software that tracks individual student progress and adjusts reading instruction accordingly. The software has "an animated tutor who guides the student and provides feedback via a digitized human voice." The model is based on a 90-minute block that blends whole-class instruction and small-group student work, beginning with 20 minutes of whole-class instruction and concluding with 10 minute whole-class wrap up. For the intervening 60 minutes, students rotate among various stations.
Measures of implementation fidelity varied over the five years of the study, depending in part on whether teachers followed the pacing calendar or devoted the full 90 minutes to READ 180 instruction. "Over time, data from multiple sources suggest READ 180 classes in one of the vocational-technical schools did not occur as planned, and were blended with regular ELA content." It appears that as of Years 4 and 5, all participating schools scheduled students to receive 90 minutes of Read 180 instruction
Xtreme Reading targets students reading at least two years below grade level but who read at or above the fourth grade level. Intensive strategy instruction focuses on accurate word recognition and increased fluency and comprehension. The approach to instruction involves intensive lessons in which students have numerous opportunities to practice targeted learning strategies. Developers train teachers on “Learning Strategies” for students. The professional development model includes initial training, ongoing in-class mentoring by providers, and workshops on specific routines (See support for implementation below.) Class size was set at 15, and dosage was set to 45 minutes per day, sometimes within a 90-minute block of ELA courses. Some barriers prevented students from receiving the full 45 minutes of Xtreme Reading instruction in some cases: mediating factors for whether students received the correct dosage of the intervention included "Teacher buy-in and satisfaction with the program; (2) teacher ability to manage student behavior and elicit student engagement with material;; and (3) prevalence of reported barriers such as ELA and/or district or school assessment requirements as well as low rates of student attendance."
Students in the comparison condition received supplemental services available to students in need of additional reading support and standard English language art courses for all students.
Support for implementation
Read 180: Teachers attended an initial 2 day summer training and administrators attended a 1 day training. Mentoring was provided by developers in-class monthly during the school year (only 6 months of the 8 in Year 1). Online RED course of 7 online sessions and in-person seminar (8 3 hours sessions) were held during the year. Materials included a paper library, CDs, audio-books, computers, audio equipment, interactive software (including online books, CAI-software, online lessons, and videos), and data management software and assessments.
Xtreme Reading: Teachers received three days of summer training in Year 1, which was shortened to 2 days in Year 2. Administrators held a one day summer meeting to support teachers in Year 1 only.
Developers provided in-class mentoring monthly during the school year (8 times in Year 1 and 9 times in Year 2).
Teachers also attended 4 full days of additional workshops in Year 1 and 5 days in Year 2.
Teachers received a reading library, lists of supplements, a curriculum included teacher/student notebooks, lesson plans for curriculum, assessments and measures of fidelity.