WWC review of this study

What works in afterschool programs: The impact of a reading intervention on student achievement in the Brockton Public Schools (phase II).

Fitzgerald, R., & Hartry, A. (2008). Berkeley, CA: MPR Associates, Inc. and the National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning at SEDL.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    483
     Students
    , grades
    4-6
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: November 2016

Alphabetics outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Stanford 10 Spelling subtest

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Cohort 1;
295 students

630.82

625.88

No

--
More Outcomes

Stanford 10 Spelling subtest

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Cohort 2;
187 students

N/A

N/A

No

--
Show Supplemental Findings

Stanford 10 Spelling subtest

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

23 Weeks

Cohort 1, grade 4;
107 students

619.81

613.45

No

--

Stanford 10 Spelling subtest

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

23 Weeks

Cohort 1, grade 5;
132 students

637.2

634.14

No

--

Stanford 10 Spelling subtest

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

2 Years

Cohorts 1 & 2;
292 students

N/A

N/A

No

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

Stanford Achievement Test, Tenth Edition (Stanford 10) Reading Comprehension subtest

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Cohort 1;
296 students

635.41

625.75

Yes

 
 
12
More Outcomes

Stanford 10 Vocabulary

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Cohort 1;
296 students

639.11

630.68

No

--

Stanford 10 Vocabulary

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Cohort 2;
187 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

Stanford Achievement Test, Tenth Edition (Stanford 10) Reading Comprehension subtest

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Cohort 2;
187 students

N/A

N/A

No

--
Show Supplemental Findings

Stanford Achievement Test, Tenth Edition (Stanford 10) Reading Comprehension subtest

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

23 Weeks

Cohort 1, grade 5;
132 students

644.34

627.2

Yes

 
 
22

Stanford 10 Vocabulary

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

23 Weeks

Cohort 1, grade 5;
132 students

651.04

634.91

Yes

 
 
17

Stanford Achievement Test, Tenth Edition (Stanford 10) Reading Comprehension subtest

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

2 Years

Cohorts 1 & 2;
294 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

Stanford 10 Vocabulary

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

2 Years

Cohorts 1 & 2;
293 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

Stanford Achievement Test, Tenth Edition (Stanford 10) Reading Comprehension subtest

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

23 Weeks

Cohort 1, grade 4;
108 students

622.32

623.2

No

--

Stanford 10 Vocabulary

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

23 Weeks

Cohort 1, grade 4;
108 students

620.15

621.24

No

--
Literacy achievement outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Stanford 10 Total Reading Score

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Cohort 2;
185 students

N/A

N/A

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Stanford 10 Total Reading Score

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

2 Years

Cohorts 1 & 2;
291 students

N/A

N/A

No

--
Reading fluency outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS): Oral Reading Fluency subtest

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Cohort 1;
297 students

106.27

103.73

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS): Oral Reading Fluency subtest

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

23 Weeks

Cohort 1, grade 4;
109 students

105.21

101.13

No

--

Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS): Oral Reading Fluency subtest

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

23 Weeks

Cohort 1, grade 5;
132 students

110.76

108.67

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 80% Free or reduced price lunch

  • Female: 54%
    Male: 46%
  • Race
    Black
    52%
    Not specified
    5%
    White
    31%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    11%
    Not Hispanic
    89%

  • Urban
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    Massachusetts

Setting

The study included students in grades 4, 5, and 6 in four elementary schools in Brockton, Massachusetts.

Study sample

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.

Intervention Group

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.

Comparison Group

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.

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.

  • Kim, J. S., Capotosto, L., Hartry, A., & Fitzgerald, R. (2011). Can a mixed-method literacy intervention improve the reading achievement of low-performing elementary school students in an after-school program? Results from a randomized controlled trial of READ 180 Enterprise. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 33(2), 183–201.

  • Vaden-Kiernan, M., Hughes Jones, D., & Rudo, Z. (2008). The National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning randomized controlled trial studies of promising afterschool programs: Summary of findings. Austin, TX: SEDL Afterschool Research Consortium.

 

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