It’s Still Working

Achieve3000_0About a year and a half ago, I published some exciting data about the effectiveness of our reading intervention program Achieve 3000, which was relatively new to us at the time.  (click here to read “It’s Working – Feb 2013”).  We were thrilled with the results we were getting with this tool, closing the gaps in our students’ Lexiles to an even greater extent than promised.  So here we are, much further down the road, having invested significant classroom time, professional development and money into this resource.  Is it still working?  Has it been worth it?


Our students just took their third consecutive Level Set test to determine their start-of-school reading level.  Using Achieve’s robust data reporting, I was able to track students as they progressed through grade levels.  The graphs give me goose bumps… and not just because I’m a data-loving geek!  Although we also monitor each grade level from year-to-year to measure the effectiveness of our instruction and implementation, I wanted to track the same group of students over the years they have been using Achieve.  This would help us know if the improvements we see over a school year really stick, and their reading levels really are improving.  Take a look at our current 6th graders as an example:

Screenshot 2014-09-15 10.20.46

Allow me to explain what we learn from this graph…

  1. When our students started using Achieve, they tested in 369 Lexile points BELOW their grade level range (orange line). Yikes!
  2. Tracking normal school year growth without intervention through their senior year (blue line) reveals that they will not graduate ready for college and careers…. not even close.
  3. According to independent research, proper implementation of the Achieve program will get our students where they need to be by the time they graduate (yellow line)
  4. And the best part… our results are even better (green line).  Our students’ Lexile deficit has closed by 60%!  They still aren’t where they need to be, but they are unbelievably closer, and continuing on this track WILL get them ready for college and careers by their senior year.

Another key factor that I wanted to investigate is the cross over from our elementary buildings to our Jr-Sr High school.  Historically, student success seems to drop when they move up.  Here is the graph for our current 8th graders, who started the program in 6th grade at their elementary schools and have had a full year of using it in each building.

Screenshot 2014-09-15 10.33.24The thing that pleases me the most is how consistently our data holds.  With just a couple of minor exceptions, the graphs are very similar from class to class.  You can see the full data portfolio here.  You may think I’m crazy for getting goose bumps over data like this, but it means that we are doing what is best for our kids.  Because we are leveraging technology to provide truly differentiated learning, we are growing students into much better readers.  And that will make all the difference in the world for their lives – in school and beyond.

I will be presenting our implementation methods and results with Achieve 3000 at the Indiana Connected Educators Conference in October.  If you’d like to know more about the program, how we use it, and our results I hope will you will come see me!

It’s Working

The primary reason we pursued a 1:1 initiative and a transition from print to digital resources is for the increased ability to give differentiated, current, relevant and and engaging curriculum that addresses an increased number of learning intelligences.  I want to share with you some statistics today that show how well it is working.

When we started using Achieve 3000, our program that provides differentiated content for reading comprehension of informational text, we immediately discovered that the number of students below grade level in this area was greater than we thought.  Previous measures had given us data that included both fiction and non-fiction, and were based on old grade level bands for Lexile measures, so we didn’t have an accurate picture.  Initial assessments with Achieve showed us that 80% of Southwest Parke Students were below grade level.  Not good.  What is good is how fast that’s changing with the digital tools we are using.  In the report we ran in early February, after just one semester of using the program, we found a 9% change in that statistic!  It’s working.

Screen Shot 2013-02-27 at 2.37.57 PM

But wait… there’s more!  Not only were students below grade level, many were significantly below.  I won’t clutter this page with all 11 graphs, but take a look at this one as a representation of what we’re seeing.   Initial tests showed the average student Lexile to be 224 below the low end of the 3rd grade range.  At the end of January, they were only 90 Lexile points below that line.  In a very short time we are closing the gap.  It’s working. 

Screen Shot 2013-02-27 at 2.08.46 PM

We are using a number of tools that I believe are making this kind of difference.  Achieve 3000 is just the one I have the most concrete data from to prove it.  This is what happens when we use technology in all the right ways, proving differentiated, dynamic content that just can’t be found in a textbook.  It has to be done right, but when it is…

it works.