Strong literacy skills are central to a child’s success as they move across grades and into adulthood. Yet, according to the 2009 NAEP, nearly two-thirds of fourth grade students are performing only at or below basic reading levels.
STEP™ was created in response to the need expressed by teachers and researchers for a comprehensive literacy assessment that would evaluate and provide data on comprehension, reading rates, accuracy, fluency, word level skills and concepts about print in order to identify areas of student strength and need. Ultimately, this data would be used to both inform and improve teacher instruction, resulting in increased student growth. Validation studies show that students who achieved STEP 12 by the end of 3rd grade had an 86% positive correlation with students meeting or exceeding standards on the 3rd grade ISAT.
In general, schools have not been organized to close achievement gaps. Research conducted by the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research in 2006 demonstrates there is no single aspect that drives change, but multiple areas that must improve to push student learning and prepare students to graduate from high school and college—Effective Leaders, Collaborative Teachers, Involved Families, Supportive Environment, and Ambitious Instruction. The 5Essentials is an evidence-based system designed to drive improvement in schools nationwide by focusing on these five essential components for school success.
High School and College Readiness
The majority of our nation’s public schools fail to prepare students from low-income families to succeed in college and life. Given the level of knowledge and skills needed to participate fully in our economy and democracy, it is a national imperative to ensure that all students are college ready and college successful. 6to16 seeks to vastly increase the number of students who are successful in high school, college, and beyond using a research-based, student-centered 6-12th grade college-readiness curriculum.