Mar 24, 2011 by Logan De Ley

In a 5-week summer program, students at eleven schools from Wayne County Public Schools in North Carolina used the Reading Assistant softwarefrom Scientific Learning. To evaluate the impact of this program, the district conducted an observational study using reading scores, collected before and after the intervention, from 117 students.

The outcomes measure used for the study was Reading Progress Indicator- RPI for short. This computer-based assessment is standardized and nationally normed, and it is correlated with other widely used reading measures. RPI assesses student learning in four key skill areas: phonological awareness, decoding, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Study participants used Reading Assistant software, which combines advanced speech verification technologywith research-based interventions to function as a personal tutor for guided oral reading practice. On average, the study participants worked with the software for a total of 6.3 hours over a 24 day period.

At the beginning of Wayne County’s summer program, the study participants scored at the 21 stpercentile in reading skills, on average. Five weeks later, after working with Reading Assistant, the study group moved to the 30 thpercentile in reading skills – a statistically significant improvement. They also improved their average reading level, moving from “struggling readers” to “emerging readers.”

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