Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Edward Behrman


This study investigated the effectiveness of the READ 180 balanced literacy program in addressing the problem of low reading achievement among urban minority high school students. Research has shown low reading achievement to negatively impact academic and economic success. Holdaway's theory of natural literacy, which suggests reading instruction should be purposeful and realistic, supports READ 180 as a remedial intervention. The specific purpose of the study was to evaluate READ 180 in relation to improving classroom reading achievement, standardized language arts test scores, and graduation rates among students in a low-income, high-minority urban high school. Subjects were 2 cohorts of students consisting of 619 enrolled in READ 180 during the school year of 2007-2008 and 358 students enrolled in READ 180 during the school year of 2010-2011 at an urban high school in New Jersey. Following a goals-based program evaluation design, a paired difference t test was used to evaluate classroom reading achievement; a chi-square test was used to evaluate graduation rates; and a multiple regression analysis controlling for initial status was used to evaluate performance on the standardized language arts test. Findings indicated moderate improvement in classroom reading achievement, no improvement in graduation rates, and strong improvement in standardized test scores only for English learners. Results suggested that a balanced literacy program such as READ 180 may provide effective reading remediation for English learners in low-income urban areas, thereby promoting social change through increased academic success and upward economic mobility.