February 27, 2019

Research: Austen High School

***The research findings (below) correspond to the Reading Horizons ELL reading instruction. To learn more about all Reading Horizons reading curriculum, visit the structured literacy program page, and the reading intervention page. There is also a reading for corrections program.***

Summary of Findings

A higher percentage of students in a high school refugee program made gains on Word Recognition Assessment scores after receiving Reading Horizons instruction than did students in the program who did not receive Reading Horizons instruction.


A program was established at Austen High School to meet the needs of students who had recently relocated to the area as refugees. The students, who are linguistically and culturally diverse, were separated into two classes for this study: one that received Reading Horizons instruction and one that didn’t.

One program aspect that presented a logistical challenge to gathering student outcome data was the varied length of student enrollment. Some students spent a whole year in the program, whereas others spent less than half a year. Two types of students were in the program for fewer months: (a) those who relocated to the city mid-school year, and (b) those who, at the mid-year assessment, demonstrated sufficient linguistic skills to transfer to more inclusive classrooms. Although the partial-year student group varied as described, both classrooms had a similar proportion of students from this sub-group: 45% of students receiving Reading Horizons instruction spent less than four months in the program as compared to 46% of students who did not receive Reading Horizons instruction.


Reading Horizons interactive software and a teacher trained in the Reading Horizons method.


The refugee program included two classes. Students in one class received instruction in Reading Horizons.

NOTE: In the Word Recognition Assessment included in the Reading Horizons software, students read word lists of increasing difficulty and receive a score based on corresponding grade-level equivalents. Levels on the assessment range from 0.0 to 12.0. The assessment was administered three times: at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year. Students in the program for less than four months participated in two rather than three assessments: at the beginning and end of their time in the program. The assessment was given to students in both classes; however, only a sample of students in the class not receiving Reading Horizons instruction took part in the assessment (60 students who were tested received Reading Horizons instruction and 15 students who were tested did not receive Reading Horizons instruction).

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