Four Years of U.S. Department of Education Research Shows "READ 180" Effective in Combating Adolescent Illiteracy


READ 180® students in Newark, N.J., Springfield/Chicopee, Mass., and Ohio Department of Youth Services Striving Readers programs show significant gains in achievement


New York, NY — November 15, 2011 — A four-year U.S. Department of Education evaluation of adolescent literacy programs shows that students in Newark, N.J., Springfield/Chicopee, Mass., and the Ohio State Department of Youth Services who were enrolled in their READ 180® programs significantly outperformed students who were not placed in READ 180 as part of the study. The data was made available as part of the Striving Readers report released by the U.S. DOE’s Institute of Education Services. READ 180, created by Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL), the global children’s publishing, education and media company, and one of the most thoroughly researched and widely-used adolescent literacy programs in the country, was one of several programs included in the Striving Readers pilot program, which has been evaluated yearly since 2007.

"This is an historic moment in the field of education research – when a rigorous federal study has shown an adolescent literacy program to be effective in raising achievement in some very challenging schools, and with a wide variety of student populations," said Margery Mayer, President of Scholastic Education. "We're just at the beginning of doing this kind of research in education, but what we've seen from Striving Readers is that rigorous evaluation can determine what works and what doesn't."

In the latest Striving Readers report, schools in Newark, N.J. showed significant impacts across all sites, as well as positive results for important student population groups that include boys, African Americans and students receiving special education services. READ 180 was shown to have a significant overall impact on students using the program in Ohio Department of Youth Services facilities, as well as in the urban-suburban school district in Springfield-Chicopee, Mass.

"More than 40 research studies in the last 12 years have shown READ 180's blended model to be a proven, effective way to teach adolescents who struggle to read," Mayer continued. "Looking at the Newark, Springfield/Chicopee and Ohio site data in the Striving Readers report, we see that even in the most challenging environments, with the most challenged of students, when students receive the right support they are able to make tremendous progress with READ 180."

Findings in the Striving Readers report buttress the 2010 study, Implementation Matters: Systems for Success, an analysis by the American Institutes for Research, The Council of the Great City Schools and Scholastic that details the critical importance of implementing a reading intervention program as it was intended in order to achieve maximum effectiveness. These and other studies tell us that factors such as student attendance, amount of time participating in the program, and teacher turnover and training – among others – are critical variables in student outcomes.

In March 2006, the Striving Readers program awarded grants to eight sites, four of which elected to implement Scholastic's READ 180 program as their targeted intervention. The four sites included: The Newark (New Jersey) Public Schools, The Ohio Department of Youth Services, The Springfield (Massachusetts) Public Schools, and The Memphis (Tennessee) City Schools.

Students in a Memphis, Tenn., trial of READ 180 progressed, but did not show significant gains. Scholastic will be doing further analysis of the data in Memphis to better understand the effects there.

READ 180 is a comprehensive system of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional development that helps schools raise reading achievement for struggling students in grades 4–12. In READ 180 classrooms, students move in small groups through rotations that include adaptive technology, independent reading and direct, individualized instruction from the teacher. The technology tracks student progress in real time every day, delivering personalized instruction to the student and data to the teacher that makes differentiation easy. In 2011, Scholastic released READ 180 Next Generation, a new version of the reading intervention program that includes new technology, instruction and content to help make teachers more effective and students more engaged, and state-of the art supports for the Common Core State Standards.

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Kyle Good

Tyler Reed