Too many adolescents reach high school without the skills necessary to read and understand the complex content required to be ready for college and careers by graduation. The consequences for failing to develop these complex reading skills are well documented, and include higher rates of course failure, high school dropout, and poor postsecondary outcomes (Snow & Biancarosa, 2003; Biancarosa & Snow, 2004).
The U.S. Department of Education’s Striving Readers program aimed to raise the literacy levels of middle and high school students reading below grade level and to build a strong research base on effective adolescent literacy interventions.
A new report by Abt Associates summarizes the results of rigorous evaluations of ten interventions funded by the Striving Readers grant program. This review assessed the evaluations against the What Works ClearinghouseTM (WWC) standards, and answers the question: What do the evaluations funded by the Striving Readers grant program tell us about effective interventions for improving the achievement of struggling adolescent readers?
In short, the report:
- Found that 12 of the 17 evaluations met WWC evidence standards without reservations, three evaluations met the standards with reservations, and two evaluations did not meet the evidence standards; and
- Based on findings from the evaluations found to meet WWC standards with or without reservations, four of the 10 interventions funded by Striving Readers had positive, potentially positive, or mixed effects on reading achievement.
“This summary increases the amount of strong evidence available to district and school leaders as they make informed choices about how to help struggling adolescent readers,” said Dr. Beth Boulay, Project Director and Principal Associate at Abt.
Read the full report.