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.

Reading Assessment Chart

This graph indicates the percentage of our students who are reading at or above grade level as reflected in DRA testing in November (red bars) and in June (blue bars). The numbers below in parentheses indicate the number of students for whom we received test scores for that year. Each year there is a percentage of our students for whom we are unable to obtain county testing data.

Cumulative Growth

The following graphs indicate the weighted average growth in reading scores over the twelve years of testing from 2006-07 through the 2017-18 school year. This data reflects the DRA scores of 4,093 elementary students.

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.

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. We include the results of these surveys in our annual report. The 2017-18 annual report can be found in the About Us section of our website.

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.

We are also thankful for the recognition of our Readers Are Leaders program over the years by the communities in which we work: in 2008, by the Northern Urban League; in 2014, for the nomination for the Blue-Ribbon Partnership Award by Fairfax County Government and Fairfax Public Schools; in 2015, for a Loudoun County School-Business Partnership Award, and also in 2015 for an award by Bean Tree Learning’s Love of Literacy program.

Interested in bringing Readers Are Leaders to your school?

Take the first step toward building a successful partnership. If you would like to learn more about bringing Readers Are Leaders to your school, please click on the link below.

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