WWC review of this study

Springfield-Chicopee School Districts Striving Readers (SR) program final report Years 1–5: Evaluation of implementation and impact.

Sprague, K., Zaller, C., Kite, A., & Hussar, K. (2012). Providence, RI: The Education Alliance at Brown University.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    1,029
     Students
    , grade
    9
No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: February 2018

Literacy achievement outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test, fourth edition (SDRT-4)

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Read 180 vs. Control (Stayers);
456 students

24.14

21.75

Yes

 
 
2
More Outcomes

Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test, fourth edition (SDRT-4)

READ 180® vs. Xtreme Reading

0 Days

Read 180 vs. Xtreme Reading (Stayers);
454 students

24.14

21.95

No

--

Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test, fourth edition (SDRT-4)

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Xtreme Reading vs. Control (Stayers);
448 students

21.95

21.75

No

--

Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test, fourth edition (SDRT-4)

READ 180® vs. READ 180®

0 Days

Xtreme Reading vs. Read 180 (Stayers);
454 students

21.95

24.14

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 4% English language learners
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    Massachusetts

Setting

The study was conducted in five high schools in two districts in Massachusetts.

Study sample

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%.

Intervention Group

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."

Comparison Group

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.

At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations

Reviewed: November 2016

Literacy achievement outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test, fourth edition (SDRT-4)

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Cohorts 1-5;
456 students

24.14

21.75

Yes

 
 
7
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test, fourth edition (SDRT-4)

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Cohorts 1-4;
364 students

665.41

660.12

Yes

 
 
4

Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test, fourth edition (SDRT-4)

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Cohorts 1-3;
334 students

665.27

659.99

Yes

 
 
4

Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test, fourth edition (SDRT-4)

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Cohorts 1-2;
241 students

664.78

661.94

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 3% English language learners

  • 74% Minority

  • 26% Non-minority

  • Female: 61%
    Male: 39%
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    Massachusetts

Setting

The study was conducted in two school districts, Chicopee and Springfield, in western Massachusetts.

Study sample

In each of the 5 study years, students in five study schools were screened prior to random assignment. Students at least two—but less than four—grade levels behind in reading performance were selected to participate. Students were excluded from the sample if (a) they had an IEP that specified reading supports not compatible with READ 180®, (b) they lacked sufficient English language proficiency, (c) their parents opted out of the study, (d) they were enrolled in an off-campus evening school, (e) they were deemed not to be a “struggling reader” based on grade history and MCAS scores, or (f) they could not be located in school enrollment records. Over the five annual cohorts, a total of 548 ninth-grade students with five teachers per year (one in each of five schools) were randomly assigned to the READ 180® group. The READ 180® analysis sample included 231 students taught by five teachers in five schools. This analysis sample was comprised of 74% racial and/or ethnic minorities, 61% female students, 18% special education students, and 3% English learners. A majority of students (69%) were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. A total of 566 students with five teachers per year (one in each of five schools) were randomly assigned to the comparison group. The analysis sample for the comparison group includes 225 students taught by five teachers in five schools. This analysis sample was comprised of 71% racial and/or ethnic minorities, 53% female students, 19% special education students, and 4% English learners. A majority of students (74%) were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Results for additional samples were reported in Year 2, Year 3, and Year 4 reports. In the Year 2 report, which includes impact estimates for a sample combining Cohorts 1–2, there were 128 students in the intervention group and 113 students in the comparison group. The Year 3 report presents findings for Cohorts 1–3, which included 175 students in the intervention group and 159 in the comparison. The Year 4 report presents findings on Cohorts 1–4, which included 186 students in the intervention group and 178 in the comparison. These supplemental findings do not factor into the intervention’s rating of effectiveness.

Intervention Group

The READ 180® intervention was delivered as a 90-minute daily supplement to the standard ninth-grade ELA course. A typical daily session included 20 minutes of whole-class instruction, 60 minutes of small-group breakouts involving direct instruction, independent work using program software, and modeled or independent reading. In addition, the intervention included recommended instructional strategies and instructional materials, including videos and interactive work texts. The READ 180® curriculum was paced to be completed over 125–145 school days; the average number of sessions attended by each student was not reported.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison condition received the standard ELA course (as did students in the intervention condition), as well as supplemental services ordinarily available to all students. In practice, comparison group students had minimal access to supplemental services. None of the comparison group teachers reported having any past experience with the READ 180® program, and they did not receive formal professional development in literacy instruction beyond what was customarily provided to all teachers. Use of multimedia appears to have been much more limited in the comparison group than in the intervention group.

Support for implementation

Teachers implementing the intervention were required to participate in professional development activities. Those implementing READ 180® for the first time were required to complete 52 hours of professional development over the course of the year in online training (seven sessions), group seminars (up to 30 hours), and individual face-to-face sessions (up to 16 hours). Less professional development was required of more experienced users: teachers with 3 years of prior READ 180® experience had to complete only 8 hours, and those implementing their fifth year had no such requirement.

In the case of multiple manuscripts that report on one study, the WWC selects one manuscript as the primary citation and lists other manuscripts that describe the study as additional sources.

  • Sprague, K., Zaller, C., Kite, A., & Hussar, K. (2010). Springfield-Chicopee School Districts Striving Readers (SR) program Year 3 report: Evaluation of implementation and impact. Providence, RI: The Education Alliance at Brown University.

  • Sprague, K., Zaller, C., Kite, A., & Hussar, K. (2009). Springfield-Chicopee School Districts Striving Readers (SR) program Year 2 report: Evaluation of implementation and impact. Providence, RI: The Education Alliance at Brown University.

  • Sprague, K., Zaller, C., Kite, A., & Hussar, K. (2011). Springfield-Chicopee School Districts Striving Readers (SR) program Year 4 report: Evaluation of implementation and impact. Providence, RI: The Education Alliance at Brown University.

Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: March 2016

Study sample characteristics were not reported.
 

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