READ 180

Study: Sprague, Zaller, Kite, & Hussar (2011)

Sprague, K., Zaller, C., Kite, A., & Hussar, K. (June, 2011). Springfield-Chicopee School Districts Striving Readers (SR) Program Year 4 Report: Evaluation of Implementation and Impact. Grantee: Springfield and Chicopee, MA Public Schools. Submitted to the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Institute of Education Sciences. Providence, RI: The Education Alliance at Brown University.

Descriptive Information


Acquisition and Cost

Program Specifications and Requirements


READ 180 is a comprehensive system of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional development to raise reading achievement of struggling readers.

READ 180 integrates principles of cognition and learning with practices for instructional effectiveness for older struggling readers.

The READ 180 instructional model facilitates a blended model of instruction with clear organization for the classroom.

READ 180 leverages adaptive technology to individualize instruction for students and provide powerful data for differentiation to teachers. Respectful of students of all ages, READ 180 is available in three Stages each with rigorous, age-appropriate content: Stage A (Grades 4—6), Stage B (Grades 6—8), and Stage C (Grades 9 and Up).

READ 180 is intended for use in grades four through high school. The program is designed for students with disabilities (particularly behavioral disabilities), English language learners, and any student at risk of academic failure. The academic areas of focus are reading (including phonological awareness, phonics/word study, comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, and spelling) and handwriting (including spelling, sentence construction, and planning and revising).

READ 180 is currently used in all 50 states and in over 40,000 classrooms. There are over one million active students’ licenses currently being used every day.

Where to Obtain:
Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway
New York, NY 10012
Phone #: 877-234-READ

Cost: READ 180 pricing is determined by the number of students being served and number of classrooms set up. At the basic level, the cost is $43,000 for a Stage of READ 180 service of 60 student licenses. READ 180 can also be purchased for 30 students.

  • Initial cost per student for implementing program: Year 1: $716 per student (based on 60 students)
  • Replacement cost per student for subsequent use: Year 2 and Beyond: $29.95
  • Licenses are sold on a perpetual basis.
  • Volume discounts are available.

Included with Purchase of License:

  • Teacher Materials
  • Implementation Training
  • Leadership Materials
  • Leadership Training
  • Student Materials

READ 180 is designed for individual students and small groups. Class size for READ 180 should be 15-24 students, with three small groups of 5-8 students.

READ 180 takes 90 minutes per session with a recommended 5 sessions per week.

The program includes highly specified teacher manuals.

READ 180 is a blended instructional model, where a third of the class is on the computer during the small group rotations. Therefore, the number of computers depends on the number of students in the READ 180 classroom.

The program requires training for the instructor over the course of a few days. The teachers in READ 180 receive two full days of in-person training in order to implement the program.

Scholastic provides comprehensive professional development in person and online. Scholastic provides two-and-a-half days of in-person professional development with the purchase of a complete stage of READ 180.

  • Embedded professional development resources – a collection of professional development strategies is embedded within all of the teacher’s materials.
  • Additional resources exist for READ 180 teachers – Purchase of READ 180 includes a one-year subscription to the online course Best Practices in Reading Intervention.

The minimum qualifications of the instructor are that they are a professional, but the program does not assume the instructor has expertise in a given area.

Training manuals and materials are available by READ 180. The READ 180 training materials and teacher implementation guides are reviewed by Scholastic consultants and field-tested by consultants who work with teachers using READ 180 across the country.

Practitioners may obtain ongoing professional/technical support.

Additional Training Available:

  • Coordinator Training
  • Certified Support Specialist Training
  • In-Classroom Support
  • Scholastic Training Zone
  • Scholastic U


Participants: Unconvincing Evidence

Sample size: 364 students (186 program, 178 control)

Risk Status: The Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) was used to identify students as “at risk for academic failure.”  The SRI has overlapping Lexile levels and, as a result, the range for identifying eligible students had to be established (therefore, the 50th Normal Curve Equivalency or NCE was used as the benchmark).  


  Program Control p of chi square
Number Percentage Number Percentage
Grade level
  Grade 1          
  Grade 2          
  Grade 3          
  Grade 4          
  Grade 5          
  Grade 6          
  Grade 7          
  Grade 8          
  Grade 9 186 100% 178 100%  
  Grade 10          
  Grade 11          
  Grade 12          
Mean Age          
  American Indian          
  Asian/Pacific Islander          
  Minority 45 24% 52 29%  
  Not Minority 141 76% 126 71%  
Socioeconomic status
  Subsidized lunch 132 71% 135 76%  
  No subsidized lunch 54 29% 43 24%  
Disability status
  Speech-language impairments          
  Learning disabilities          
  Behavior disorders          
  Intellectual disabilities          
  Special Education Status 26 14% 27 15%  
  Not identified with a disability 160 86% 151 85%  
ELL status
  English language learner 4 2% 7 4%  
  Not English language learner 182 98% 171 96%  
  Female 115 62% 93 52%  
  Male 71 38% 85 48%  

Training of Instructors: In Year 4, READ 180 teachers had on average, 10 years of teaching experience.  They had worked at their current school for three years, on average. READ 180 teachers were supposed to receive a variety of professional development opportunities and support, ranging from trainings, seminars, in-classroom support, web-based instructional support, and online RED courses focused on aspects of reading instruction.  All READ 180 teachers, except one, received all professional development as defined by the developer. 

Design: Convincing Evidence

Did the study use random assignment?: Yes.

If not, was it a tenable quasi-experiment?: Not applicable.

If the study used random assignment, at pretreatment, were the program and control groups not statistically significantly different and had a mean standardized difference that fell within 0.25 SD on measures used as covariates or on pretest measures also used as outcomes?: Yes.

If not, at pretreatment, were the program and control groups not statistically significantly different and had a mean standardized difference that fell within 0.25 SD on measures central to the study (i.e., pretest measures also used as outcomes), and outcomes were analyzed to adjust for pretreatment differences? Not applicable.

Were the program and control groups demographically comparable at pretreatment?: Yes.

Was there attrition bias1? No.

Did the unit of analysis match the unit for random assignment (for randomized studies) or the assignment strategy (for quasi-experiments)?: Yes.

1 NCII follows guidance from the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) in determining attrition bias. The WWC model for determining bias based on a combination of differential and overall attrition rates can be found on pages 13-14 of this document:


Fidelity of Implementation: Unconvincing Evidence

Describe when and how fidelity of treatment information was obtained:  Classroom observations were conducted by evaluators twice during the school year—in February and May—in order to collect data on classroom-level implementation. Two observations were used to increase reliability (an over 85% rate of item-level agreement). Secondary data and extant documents provided by districts to document their implementation efforts were collected for analysis by evaluators. Miscellaneous documents reviewed included developer materials, professional development agendas, meeting minutes, memoranda, written curricula, and course syllabi. In addition, many meetings were held with the districts as well as clarifications made after meetings and receipt of data. Documents were used to corroborate findings and triangulate data for reporting verification.

Provide documentation (i.e., in terms of numbers) of fidelity of treatment implementation: An overall implementation rating involved compiling the primary component ratings by teacher and indicating the numbers of teachers achieving the highest level (adequacy). The overall ratings for inputs consisted of three primary components: (1) professional development participation, (2) provision of materials/technology/assessments, and (3) classroom organization/structure. The overall classroom model rating, as a primary component itself, consisted of the four subcomponents: (1) instructional practices including use of structured content, research-based instructional methods, and responsive teaching; (2) dosage, including use of rotations, pacing for the year, and amount of instructional time; (3) use of materials and/or technology; and (4) use of assessments to inform instruction. Summary input and classroom model ratings were created by averaging to calculate overall implementation percentages and associated implementation levels: 1 = no evidence (0–24%); 2 = low (25–49%); 3 = moderate (50–74%); and 4 = adequate or high (75–100%). 

For the inputs, four of the five READ 180 teachers received ratings of adequate or high, indicating that the professional development, materials, and classroom structure required for implementation had been provided for the majority of teachers. The remaining teacher received a rating of moderate, consistent with the prior year, indicating that most but not all inputs were provided. All teachers indicated they had enough teacher materials and were provided with the required 90 minute daily class period; the teacher with the moderate score, according to district records, did not receive the prescribed amount of professional development. For the classroom model, two of the five READ 180 teachers received a rating of adequate or high, indicating fidelity of implementation as defined was achieved. The remaining READ 180 teachers (three of the five) were implementing with moderate fidelity. Teachers received moderate scores rather than adequate because they were observed to be behind schedule as per the pacing calendar and did not devote the full 90 minute class period to READ 180 instruction.

Measures Targeted: Data Unavailable

Measures Broader: Convincing Evidence

Targeted Measure Score type and range of measure Reliability statistics Relevance to program instructional content
Not applicable      


Broader Measure Score type and range of measure Reliability statistics Relevance to program instructional content
Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test-4 (SDRT-4) Scaled scores
Normal Curve Equivalency (NCE)
Test-retest reliability Kuder-Richardson 0.84 - 0.90 vocabulary; 0.91 to 0.94 comprehension; 0.88 to 0.93 scanning Diagnostic reading test that includes four key indicators of reading achievement: decoding (phonetic analysis), vocabulary, comprehension, & scanning


Number of Outcome Measures: 2 Reading

Mean ES - Targeted: Data Unavailable

Mean ES - Broader: 0.20*

Effect Size:

Targeted Measures

Construct Measure Effect Size
  Not Applicable  

 Broader Measures

Construct Measure Effect Size
Reading Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test-4 NCEs 0.20*
Reading Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test-4 Scaled Scores 0.20*


*      p ≤ 0.05
**    p ≤ 0.01
***  p ≤ 0.001
–      Developer was unable to provide necessary data for NCII to calculate effect sizes
u      Effect size is based on unadjusted means
†      Effect size based on unadjusted means not reported due to lack of pretest group equivalency, and effect size based on adjusted means is not available


Visual Analysis (Single Subject Design): N/A

Disaggregated Data for Demographic Subgroups: No

Disaggregated Data for <20th Percentile: No

Administration Group Size: Individual, Small Groups

Duration of Intervention: 90 minutes, 5 times a week, 36 weeks

Minimum Interventionist Requirements: Professional, 2 days of in-person training in order to implement the program

Reviewed by WWC or E-ESSA: WWC & E-ESSA

What Works Clearinghouse Review

Adolescent Literacy Evidence Protocol

EffectivenessREAD 180 was found to have potentially positive effects on comprehension and general literacy achievement for adolescent learners.

Studies Reviewed: 9 studies meet standards out of 39 studies total

Full Report

Students with Learning Disabilities Evidence Protocol

Effectiveness: No studies of READ 180® that fall within the scope of the Students with Learning Disabilities review protocol meet What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) evidence standards. The lack of studies meeting WWC evidence standards means that, at this time, the WWC is unable to draw any conclusions based on research about the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of READ 180® on students with learning disabilities.

Studies Reviewed: N/A

Full Report


Evidence for ESSA

Program Outcomes: Five studies of READ 180 met inclusion standards. Two of these had statistically significant positive effects in comparison to control groups, qualifying READ 180 for the ESSA “Strong” category. These were studies in Western Massachusetts (effect size =+0.18) and Milwaukee (effect size =+0.14). A Florida study found positive outcomes for students at moderate risk, but negative effects for students at high risk, with an average effect size of +0.12. Studies in Newark (NJ) and Memphis found no differences. The average effect size across all studies was a modest +0.08.

Number of Studies: 5

Average Effect Size: 0.08

Full Report


Other Research: Potentially Eligible for NCII Review: 5 studies

Interactive Inc. (2002). An efficacy study of READ 180, a print and electronic adaptive intervention program, grades 4 and above. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc.

Scholastic Research. (2008). Desert Sands Unified School District, CA. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc.

White, R. N., Haslam, M. B., & Hewes, G. M. (2006). Improving student literacy: READ 180 in the Phoenix Union High School District, 2003–04 and 2004–05. Washington, DC: Policy Studies Associates.

White, R. N., Williams, I. J., & Haslam, M. B. (2005). Performance of District 23 students participating in Scholastic READ 180. Washington, DC: Policy Studies Associates.

Woods, D. E. (2007). An investigation of the effects of a middle school reading intervention on school dropout rates. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg.