Measuring Success

Reading Assessment

In striving for excellence, it is critical to evaluate the success of our program in a variety of ways. Each year, we visit some of our schools and community centers to observe the mentoring process and to check with our coaches and elementary school coordinators about any concerns they may have.

Since 2006, we have used the well-established testing data that our schools were using for all of their students to see how our RAL students were progressing with their reading skills. We use the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) results from November and June to get a clearer picture of the growth for as many of our young students as possible. Each year, our students have shown significant achievement. The COVID epidemic and its aftermath disrupted our mentoring program. We began rebuilding in the 2021-22 school year, but we did not begin gathering reading score data again until the 2022-23 school year.

Reading Assessment Chart

The red bars indicate the percentage of students read reading on or above grade level in November, and the blue bars indicate the percentage of students read reading on or above grade level in June.

Cumulative Growth

The following graphs indicate the weighted average growth in reading scores over the fourteen years of testing from 2006-07 through the 2022-23 school year. This data reflects the DRA scores of 4,476 elementary students. (Because of the COVID epidemic and its aftermath, there was no collection of testing data for the school years 2019-20, 2020-21, and 2021-22.)

 

November Chart
June Chart

Student testing data is tightly guarded by schools; and with the limited details of the DRA results that we receive, we learn basically whether our kids are reading on grade level or below grade level in November and June. (No names or identifiers appear on the information that we receive.) As a broad stroke, this information helps us to evaluate how well our program is doing. However, even though some of our students improve appreciably, their reading scores may not yet be on grade level. And especially for those kids who start the year reading significantly below grade level, this single criterion may not be a fair or accurate measure of the gains that they have made. Often our students respond well to the program and grow as readers during the course of the year, yet this single piece of testing data does not necessarily reflect the extent of their growth. We see evidence of this misperception every year, yet we have to be content with the limited testing data that is released to us. We are proud of the efforts of all of our students who work hard and make great strides as readers but who may not yet achieve the goal of reading on grade level.

Mentorship Numbers

RAL Mentorship Growth Chart

The blue bars on the graph above indicate years affected by COVID.

Student Surveys

We use a brief survey at the beginning and end of our mentoring experience to assess the change in attitudes for our elementary school students and our high school student-athletes. The survey for our student-athletes focuses on their attitudes toward community service, helping others, and their ability to make a contribution. The survey for our elementary school students focuses on five underlying goals about their attitudes toward reading and learning. Each year, these surveys reveal positive, often significant, growth in the attitudes of our students.

Feedback About Our Program

With all important learning experiences, there are significant results that cannot be quantified—those priceless intangibles that may include a sense of belonging, friendship, confidence, pride, growth, accomplishment, etc. To provide some small sense of the intangibles experienced, we have included a handful of observations of a few who have been a part of our program or have witnessed it firsthand. These can be found on the Testimonials page.

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