WWC review of this study

An efficacy study of READ 180: A print and electronic adaptive intervention program, grades 4 and above.

Interactive, Inc. (2002). Ashland, VA: Author.

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
    , grades
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations

Reviewed: November 2016

Comprehension outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Stanford 9 Reading Comprehension Subtest

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Columbus, grades 6-7;
171 students




More Outcomes

Stanford 9 Total Reading Score

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Boston, Dallas, Houston Grade: 6, 7, 8;
710 students




Show Supplemental Findings

Stanford 9 Total Reading Score

READ 180® vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Dallas Grade: 8;
243 students





Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

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    California, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Ohio, Texas


The study took place in seven districts in six states: Atlanta, Georgia; Boston, Massachusetts; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas, Texas; Houston, Texas; Miami-Dade, Florida; and San Francisco, California. Outcome data were not available for Atlanta, Miami-Dade, and San Francisco, so the study’s findings are available for only four of the seven districts.

Study sample

The study was designed as a randomized controlled trial with assignment at the student level, but students were not assigned entirely by chance. The original study included middle school students from seven districts, but data are reported for only four of these districts. Students in different grade levels participated across districts. The authors report findings for the following districts by grade level combinations: • Boston, sixth grade: This sample included 115 students in the intervention group and 105 in the comparison group. Students in the intervention group were from four schools. Students in the comparison group were from seven middle schools, with 30 students in the comparison group attending the same four middle schools as the intervention group, while the others attended three middle schools that did not participate in the intervention. • Dallas, eighth grade: This sample included 101 students in the intervention group and 142 in the comparison group, all from the same four schools. • Houston, seventh grade: This sample included 112 students in the intervention group and 40 in the comparison group, all from the same two schools. • Houston, eighth grade: This sample included 59 students in the intervention group and 36 in the comparison group, all from the same two schools. • Columbus, sixth and seventh grade (combined): This sample included 119 students in the intervention group and 52 in the comparison. Students in the intervention group came from two schools; students in the comparison group came from three other schools. • The authors also present findings for a combined sample of Boston, Dallas, and Houston students (all grades). The study demonstrated baseline equivalence on the Dallas sample, the Columbus sample, and the combined Boston, Dallas, and Houston analytic sample described above and, therefore, received a rating of meets WWC group design standards with reservations. Among the four districts for which outcomes are reported, there were a total of 506 students in the intervention group and 375 in the comparison group.

Intervention Group

The intervention was delivered during the 2000–01 school year. READ 180® included daily whole-group, small-group, and individual instruction. Literacy instruction was delivered in 90-minute blocks. During the first 10 minutes of the block, students met together with the teacher to receive language arts instruction. The class then broke into three smaller groups that proceeded through 20-minute rotations of small-group instruction (the teacher sat with 5–6 students doing group reading and/or language arts instruction), independent reading (students read leveled paperbacks with the option of adding audio through headphones as modeled reading), and direct instruction (through nine topic-focused CD-ROMs). In using the CD-ROMs, students were presented with a reading passage based on a video that was tailored to the student’s ability level as determined by an electronic placement test administered at the beginning of the program. After the video and the reading passage, students worked through three “zones” on each CD: the word zone (instruction for developing basic decoding skills), the spelling zone (instruction on spelling patterns and sounds), and the success zone (individual assessment for comprehension, word recognition, and fluency skills). There was some variation across sites in how READ 180® was implemented. For example, in one school in Boston, teachers set aside 45 of the 90 minutes twice a week to focus on writing skills.

Comparison Group

The comparison condition varied both within and across districts (and in some cases, within schools). For example, the authors report that the Houston Independent School District conducted an audit of their middle school reading curricula and identified 50 to 60 different programs being implemented across the district. In Columbus, the district offered a “Safety Net” program for students who performed at low levels on tests of reading proficiency; schools with a significant number of low-performing students could choose to implement one of a variety of literacy interventions.

Support for implementation

While district staff from the seven participating districts selected the schools that would participate in the study, the school staff were responsible for the implementation of READ 180®. Teachers from each site generally reported receiving “good” support from school administrators, though this support declined in some cases over the course of the school year. In the four districts in which READ 180® was considered to be well implemented (Boston, Dallas, Houston, and Columbus), a district administrator was assigned to be the READ 180® liaison and oversaw implementation of the program. Teachers in the intervention group were trained in the summer or early fall prior to initial implementation of the program. Although districts could initiate follow-up training, the authors note that teachers were mostly on their own. In responding to a teacher survey, approximately two-thirds of teachers reported that the professional development provided for READ 180® was not sufficient.

Reviewed: July 2010

Study sample characteristics were not reported.

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