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California 2010 Validation Grant Abstract



PR Award Number:


Project Title:

Reading Apprenticeship Improving Secondary Education (RAISE)

Project Director:

Ruth Schoenbach

Amount of Award:


Length of Award:

5 years

Absolute Priority:

AP3: High Standards and High-Quality Assessments

List of Partners (with states for each):

Colonial Intermediate Unit 20 (PA)
Indianapolis Public Schools (IN)
Ogden School District (UT)
Washtenaw Intermediate Unit (MI)

Project Website:

Description of Project:

The Reading Apprenticeship Improving Secondary Literacy (RAISE) project builds on existing networks of practitioners using the rigorously tested Reading Apprenticeship (RA) model of academic literacy instruction to reach 2,800 teachers and 400,000+ high school students by 2015. RAISE will validate and scale up the impact of the RA intervention for transforming subject-area instruction and increasing adolescents' literacy engagement, academic identity and achievement in 300 high schools in four states.

The new Common Core Standards call for all students to demonstrate advanced literacy proficiency in academic subjects such as English, science and history. Nationally, however, two-thirds of high school students are unable to read and comprehend complex academic material, think critically about texts, synthesize information from multiple sources or communicate clearly what they have learned. Teachers often are unprepared for simultaneously building students’ academic literacy skills and engaging them in rigorous subject-area study. Through the RA instructional framework, teachers gain skills for "making thinking visible" through text-based classroom discussions as they move away from lecturing and toward supporting students' increasing independence. Students learn to increase their stamina, motivation and strategies for engaging with challenging academic texts; they become agents of their own learning.

Key project activities include (1) providing 65 hours of professional development to teams of six to nine teachers (two to three teachers of English Language Arts, biology and U.S. history) in each participating high school; (2) selecting and developing RA leaders in each state; (3) creating a web portal to provide RA leaders and teachers with a highly interactive learning environment to reinforce face-to-face training experiences; and (4) documenting and disseminating information about the scale-up of the RA program.

Built on existing sites of strong RA practice, RAISE will be scaled to new sites within each of the four states through a combination of local leadership, WestEd centralized coordination, and cycles of professional development and site-based follow-up, including web-based follow-up opportunities for teacher leaders.

The goals of RAISE are to (1) transform academic literacy teaching and learning in high school subject areas in 300 high schools so that students are able to achieve high standards and (2) build local school and district capacity to disseminate, support and sustain academic literacy improvement in high school subject areas. It is anticipated that students at RA sites will have greater gains in reading comprehension, English language arts, history and biology achievement compared to students at non-RA sites.

Description of Evaluation:

The RAISE evaluation will consist of an impact study and a formative evaluation. The impact evaluation is a randomized controlled trial of implementation and student impact for a subset of 40 of the 300 participating high schools. Random assignment will occur at the school level. This study will address the following question: To what extent does the implementation of the RA instructional framework and professional development model improve literacy instruction; change high school students' reading behaviors; and increase academic achievement in science, history and reading such that students achieve to high standards? A formative evaluation will help identify key elements for replication.

Project Evaluator:

Denis Newman


Empirical Education Inc.

Project Evaluator:

Jason Snipes


Impaq International

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Last Modified: 05/01/2012