Independent Study: Raz-Plus and Reading Achievement in Students in Grades 3–5

Research Applies to: Raz-Kids, Raz-Plus

About this Research

In this independent study, Empirical Education, Inc. compared the reading abilities, as measured by the STAR assessment, of students in a large urban school district. Two groups were created for comparing scores: one group consisted of students whose teachers actively used Raz-Plus, while the other group consisted of students whose teachers did not.

ESSA Evidence Level: Moderate

This study meets moderate evidence standards because it used a well-controlled quasi-experimental design and produced statistically significant positive effects with a large sample size across multiple sites.*

Main Findings

Students whose teachers actively used Raz-Plus had significantly higher scores in the STAR Reading assessment compared to students whose teachers did not use Raz-Plus. Specific subgroups of students also showed significant differences in favor of Raz-Plus. Those subgroups included fourth-grade students, non-white students, and economically disadvantaged students.


This study examined data from 7,083 students in grades 3–5 from an urban, ethnically diverse school district.

Study Design and Procedures

This study analyzed reading achievement data from students in two groups: students whose teachers actively used Raz-Plus in the 2016–2017 school year, and students whose teachers did not actively use Raz-Plus. In order to ensure comparable groups, classrooms were matched based on student gender, ethnicity, ELL status, eligibility for free or reduced-price lunch, disability, and fall (pretest) STAR scores.


Empirical Education, Inc. (2019). Effectiveness of Learning A-Z’s Raz-Plus in Milwaukee Public Schools (Empirical Education report number LAZ_6057-DDS-R-2019-O.1). San Mateo, CA: Author.

*Source: U.S. Department of Education (2016). Non-regulatory guidance: Using evidence to strengthen education investments. Washington, DC: Author.

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