Overview of the STAR Initiative

The STudent Achievement in Reading (STAR) initiative is a national professional development program focused on building the reading skills of intermediate level adult learners (GLE 4.0–8.9). This evidence-based approach to reading instruction, launched in 2006 by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE), is supported by years of research in reading methodology.

The research found that mid-level adult learners struggle with one or more reading components, or skill areas: alphabetics, fluency, vocabulary, and/or comprehension. An evidence-based reading instruction (EBRI) approach requires teachers to use diagnostic assessments to identify their learners' individual strengths and weaknesses and target reading instruction accordingly.

Since OVAE launched the pilot in 2006, 19 states have adopted this approach. In Massachusetts, 18 programs representing every region were selected, through an application process, to participate in the implementation of STAR during FY 2010 and FY 2011. In the funding cycle beginning in FY 2013, ACLS began to expand STAR to every pre-ASE classroom across the state.

During the FY2013–2017 funding cycle, all recipients of Community Adult Learning Center and Adult Basic Education Programs in Correctional Institutions grants with a Grade Level Equivalence (GLE) 4.0–8.9 class will participate in the STAR initiative on a staggered schedule, subject to annual appropriations.

STAR Students Say . . .

  • Understanding the meaning of difficult words is hard but with our group and the way we learn, it is easy to remember and use it each day.
  • I am very happy because where I work, the people over there say... "Now we got to talk, because your pronunciation is much better to understand." ...Sometimes it is hard to come to school after a day of work, tired. But I come happy because here at school, I am always learning!
  • Before I started to do assessment testing, I never know how much vocabulary I knew... I think it is helpful to know a lot of vocabulary not just to pass the Hi-Set test. It's helpful to communicate with friends, especially at work.
  • The best thing is how the teacher helps us, we are divided by group, and each group is helped in the most necessary way.
  • Since I started the vocabulary group, I have been using words in my daily life that I have never used before. Personally, I think that the vocabulary group is the best.

Dates for FY18 (2017-2018)

Face-to-face STAR trainings will take place in central MA from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration is by invitation only; contact Merilee Freeman (STAR State Coordinator) at mfreeman@qcc.mass.edu for more information. Please read this update on the changes to STAR PD in FY18.

  • Registration Deadline: Friday, September 15, 2017
  • PD Begins, Online: Monday, September 25, 2017
  • Face-to-Face Day 1: Monday, December 4, 2017 (alternate date:)
  • Face-to-Face Day 2: Thursday, March 8, 2018  (alternate date: Friday, March 9, 2018)

 The STAR Team of Massachusetts

Learn More About STAR:

PD Center: 
ELA