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CPRE : Consortium for Policy Research in Education

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Case Study

Ramp-up to Literacy: A Case Study of Implementation in Three Schools

The goal of Ramp-Up to Literacy (RU) is to bring students who are reading one to two years below grade level up to grade level and, after one or two years, place them in regular English courses. To accomplish this task, the National Center for Education and the Economy (NCEE) developed two English courses (RUI and RUII) with their own curriculum and approach to instruction. These courses are intended to be taught by selected teachers to a specific group of students; RU is not designed as a whole school reform. In preparation to teach the RU courses, there is a series of formal professional development opportunities for the selected teachers, and the RU courses include curriculum and supporting materials. The focus of the professional development is on changing teachers’ understanding of, and strategies for, addressing poor reading. Schools are required to purchase classroom libraries with leveled books (books categorized by reading ability) for every RU classroom, and the reform also calls for a number of organizational changes (e.g., scheduling) which address the needs of RU teachers and students.

This case study focuses on school-level perceptions about implementation of RU in three schools at different stages of the implementation process. The schools were selected for study by NCEE at the Consortium for Policy Research in Education’s (CPRE) request, and had been working with RU for one year, two years, and five years, respectively, at the beginning of the study. Two of the schools were small high schools (200-500 students) while one was much larger (over 1,000 students). One was rural, while two were urban. All three study schools struggled with low student achievement and pressure to increase scores on state tests, largely due to No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation. Two of the schools had also adopted NCEE’s whole school reform, America’s Choice—one in the middle school attached to the high school, the other in the high school itself.

Publication Date

February 2007