ERIC Number: ED464366
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
Evaluation of the Alabama Reading Initiative. Final Report.
A study evaluated the third year (2000-2001) of the Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI), which is designed to achieve 100% literacy by targeting reading performance of beginning reading and first-grade students, to expand the reading power for second- through twelfth-grade students and to intervene for struggling readers at all grade levels. Reading test scores on the Stanford Achievement Test, Level 9 were reviewed over a span of 5 years. The evaluation was also based on personal visits to 15 ARI schools and 10 after-school focus groups, which included some 225 teachers from 45 schools around the state. Results indicated: schools participating in the ARI outperformed schools not in the program; 14 of the schools in the first year of the program lost ground in the third year, and the second year gains of the 59 schools that started the program in the second year were smaller than their first year gains, suggesting annual gains level off over time; the top schools outperformed the norm by 4 NCE (normal curve equivalency) points the first year and 2.8 points the second, while students in the lowest 5 schools fell 1.7 NCE points the first and 1.6 the next year; and teachers reported enthusiastically that their faculty was working together as never before. Focus group discussions indicated that successful schools have in common: a strongly committed principal; a full-time reading specialist; faculty members who work cooperatively; teachers who make frequent use of diagnostic tests; teachers spend the greater part of the day in small-group instruction to meet individual needs; the school teaches phonemic awareness and systematic phonics to all students in the primary grades and to struggling readers in all grades; teachers re-enforce comprehension skills for all students; the school actively encourages students to read; the school receives follow-up and guidance from the state ARI staff; and the system's central office is supportive. Findings suggest that the second year of the program was the most successful; a better measure of student progress is needed than the Stanford 9 test; and the ARI will have to invest in a large corps of state-funded reading specialists who can keep in constant touch with new ARI schools or those that are struggling. An appendix contains a more detailed quantitative analysis. (Contains 5 references and 13 notes.) (RS)
Descriptors: Administrator Role, Elementary Secondary Education, Evaluation Methods, Literacy, Professional Development, Program Effectiveness, Reading Achievement, Reading Improvement, Reading Instruction, Reading Programs
Alabama Reading Initiative, Alabama Department of Education, PO Box 302101, Montgomery, AL 36130-2101. Tel: 334-353-1389; Web site: http://www.alsde.edu.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Alabama State Dept. of Education, Montgomery.