The Effect of Reading Plus on Student Achievement as Measured by the Smarter Balanced (SBAC) Assessment
Purpose of Report
This report focuses on the impact of Reading Plus on student achievement as measured by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) English Language Arts (ELA) assessment.
Summary of Findings
Students who completed at least 80% of recommended Reading Plus assignments (100 lessons / 30 hours) achieved significantly larger gains on the SBAC ELA assessment in comparison to a group of demographically similar students who had minimal or no Reading Plus use.
The Reading Plus group achieved an average scale score gain of 59 points on the Spring 2016 SBAC ELA assessment (Figure 1). This gain was three times larger (40 points higher) than the one achieved by the comparison group. An SBAC ELA scale score gain of approximately 60 points often results in a student progressing to a higher SBAC ELA achievement level (SBAC scale score ranges).
As measured by the SBAC, Reading Plus students were more likely to improve their ELA achievement levels than the comparison group between Spring 2015 and Spring 2016:
Twice as many Reading Plus students advanced from Level 1 to a higher achievement level (Figure 2a).
Three times as many Reading Plus students advanced from Level 2 (below standard) to Level 3 or 4 (meeting or exceeding the standard) (Figure 2b).
Reading Plus students also were far less likely to lose ground on the SBAC between Spring 2015 and Spring 2016. Only 6% of the Reading Plus group dropped from SBAC ELA Achievement Level 2 to Level 1, while 38% of the comparison group regressed from Level 2 to Level 1 (Figure 2c).
A quasi-experimental ex post facto methodology was used for this study. This approach estimates the effect of Reading Plus by accounting for important student characteristics that may impact the results. The procedure creates “treatment” and “comparison” groups ex post facto (after the fact) to approximate the random assignment of students that would occur in an experimental design study. Specifically, it was possible to match 265 of 355 (75%) students who completed at least 80 Reading Plus lessons during the 2015-16 school year with other students in the district who had minimal or no Reading Plus use but had comparable demographic characteristics, school attendance, and Spring 2015 SBAC ELA scores. The Study Inclusion Requirements (see side panel on page 1) provide additional details about the matching procedure. Table 1 demonstrates that the Reading Plus group and the comparison group were statistically similar and had “baseline equivalence” prior to Reading Plus students completing 106 lessons, on average, during the 2015-16 school year.