The study included students in grades 4, 5, and 6 in four elementary schools in Brockton, Massachusetts.
Brockton Public Schools identified four of its 16 elementary schools to participate in the study. Schools were chosen because they had a large number of students reading below grade level, they had adequate facilities, and afterschool programs already existed in the schools. Students who enrolled in the afterschool program at each of these four schools were randomly assigned within school- and grade-blocks to be in either a READ 180® classroom or a comparison classroom.
The study took place over 2 school years (2006–07 and 2007–08). In each study year, 24 afterschool classrooms participated: 12 READ 180® classrooms and 12 comparison group classrooms. The sizes of these afterschool classes ranged from eight to 17 students. A total of 36 teachers participated in the study in Year 1, and 30 teachers participated in Year 2.
There are three analytic samples of interest in this study: (1) Cohort 1, first year sample (297 students); (2) Cohort 2, first year sample (187 students); and (3) Cohorts 1 and 2, combined second year sample (294 students). Findings from the Cohort 1, first year sample are presented in Kim et al. (2011). Although findings from this sample were also presented in Fitzgerald and Hartry (2008), sample sizes and findings differed slightly between the two sources, and the WWC opted to use the most recent reference to use in this report. Findings from the Cohort 2, first year sample and the Cohorts 1 and 2, second year sample are presented in Fitzgerald and Hartry (2008).
As reported in Kim et al. (2011), there were 155 students in the READ 180® group at baseline in the fall of 2007 (Cohort 1). Of these students, 67% were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch; 52% were female; and the average age of students was 10.6 years. At baseline in the fall of 2007, there were 157 students in the comparison group: 71% were eligible for free or reduced price lunch; 56% were female; and the average age of students was 10.6 years. Across both groups in Cohort 1, 28% of students were White, 54% of students were African-American, 12% were Hispanic, and 6% were other races or ethnicities. Across both groups, 36% of students were in grade 4, 44% of students were in grade 5, and 20% of students were in grade 6.
Detailed information on the Year 2 sample, which is a combination of the Cohort 1, second year and Cohort 2, first year samples, is provided in Fitzgerald and Hartry (2008). The intervention group in year 2 included 152 students. Of these students, 49% were female; 92% were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch; 19% were in special education; 55% were African American, 32% were White, 7% were Hispanic, 5% were Asian American, and 2% were from other ethnic backgrounds. The comparison group in Year 2 also included 152 students. Of these students, 57% were female; 90% were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch; 18% were in special education; 43% were African American, 38% were White, 10% were Hispanic, 5% were Asian, and 5% were from other ethnic backgrounds.
The study tested the READ 180® Enterprise intervention. Students in the intervention condition received the READ 180® structured reading program in an afterschool setting. Although the READ 180® program was implemented in an afterschool setting, the key program components were implemented, including the structuring of time to include whole-class instruction, as well as three rotations focused on (1) time using READ 180® software, (2) modeled and independent reading, and (3) small-group direct instruction. Because of the reduced 60-minute session length (relative to the standard READ 180® 90-minute session length), the program developer devised a schedule in which, on any given day, students would rotate through two rather than three of the small-group centers. Student workbooks (“rBooks®”) were also provided in keeping with the program design, and the intended class size of 15 or fewer students was generally maintained. In Year 1, READ 180® students received the program 4 days per week in 60-minute sessions for 23 weeks. In Year 2, three of the four study schools changed the schedule so that the program was implemented for only 2 days per week in 90-minute sessions. The fourth school provided the program 4 days per week and in 90-minute sessions.
Students in the comparison condition attended Brockton Public Schools’ standard afterschool program, which generally includes 40 minutes of homework, 1 hour of another structured learning activity such as a math or reading, and the remainder of the time in physical exercise or recreation. Instructors could choose from 16 structured learning activities, including math games, reading, art projects, or science activities, or they could develop their own activities. In Year 1, comparison group students attended the regular afterschool program for 4 days each week. In Year 2, three of the four schools switched to a 2-day-per-week schedule for the regular afterschool program, while the fourth school retained the 4-day-per-week schedule.
Support for implementation
Scholastic, Inc., the publisher of READ 180®, provided professional development services to participating teachers. These services consisted of a full day of training prior to the launch of the READ 180® intervention, as well as a half-day of training after approximately 6 weeks of implementation. During the implementation period, a Scholastic trainer periodically met with all of the teachers implementing READ 180® to discuss challenges and identify solutions. All teachers also had access to an online professional development program, called RED, provided by Scholastic.