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School Overview

Ps 109 is an elementary school located in Brooklyn, NY, in the New York City (NYC) District # 22. The school serves a total of 603 students in grades K-8 with a total faculty of 52 educators. The school is comprised of a largely minority student body with 76% of students being Black and 21% of students being of Hispanic descent. Sixty-five percent of students in the school are eligible for Free/Reduced Lunch.1 Fifteen percent of students in the school are identified as Limited English Proficient (LEP) with 12% of students having a learning disability. 2

Students will read, write, listen, and speak for social interaction. To gauge student progress toward these standards, the ELA assessment contain approx. 50-60 multiple choice items, as well as various short response items and long response items in which students construct their own responses to prompts and open-end questions by producing original work. In New York, students test scores can be categorized into one of four levels of mastery: Below Standard (Level 1), Meets Basic Standard (Level 2), Meets Proficiency Standard (Level 3), and Exceeds Proficiency Standard (Level 4).

New York Assessments


The New York State Assessment Program (NYSTP) was developed to assess students progress toward New York State Learning Standards.3 As part of the states adoption of the Common Core State Standards, since 2010 New York has been improving their assessment program to reflect increased rigor and college and career readiness expectations of students at all grade levels, including elementary school.4 For English Language Arts (ELA,) the NYSTP administers yearly assessments at grades 3-8. These tests are designed to measure grade-level expectations of students ability to express themselves and are guided by four comprehensive standards: (1) Students will read, write, listen, and speak for information and understanding; (2) Students will read, write, listen, and speak for literary response and expression; (3) Students will read, write, listen, and speak for critical analysis and evaluation; and (4)
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Student Success with Holt McDougal Literature

To assess if implementing Holt McDougal Literature had an impact on learning, student test scores from the Spring of 2011 (prior to using the program) and the Spring of 2012 (after the first year of usage) were obtained for students at PS 109 at grades 6, 7, and 8. These findings are presented in Figure 1.

Figure 1 Percent of Students at Levels 3/4

43% 42%

36% 33% 36%



Data based on 2011 School Year and obtained from National Center for Education Statistics (


Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 5

2011 Percent

2012 Percent

The comparison of achievement scores revealed that at all grade levels examined, the percentage of students that Met or Exceeded the state ELA standards were greater in 2012, after using Literature, than the previous year with an average gain of over 4%.

This one-year examination of an implementation of Holt McDougal Literature revealed that the program was associated with increased English Language Arts performance. This case study provides evidence that Literature is an effective program.