Aug 18, 2010 by Melissa Agocs

Since the 2006-2007 school year, the St. Mary Parish Public School System has been implementing the Fast ForWord products. The district started with seven elementary schools that were in academic assistance, which is a designation for schools that don’t make sufficient progress. After seeing the results on student achievement, the St. Mary Parish Public School System expanded its use and now has a district-wide implementation.

Students started with the Fast ForWord Language products and then progressed through the Fast ForWord Reading products. The Scientific Learning Reading Assistant software was first used in the district during the 2009-2010 school year.

The Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP) is part of Louisiana’s criterion-referenced state testing program and is administered to students in the fourth and eighth grades.

The LEAP has two components – the results shown in this presentation are from the English Language Arts test. Students receive one of the following five achievement ratings: Advanced, Mastery, Basic, Approaching Basic, or Unsatisfactory.

This graph shows the percentage of fourth graders each year who achieved a performance rating of Basic or Above on their LEAP English Language Arts test. The blue line indicates The St. Mary Parish 4 thgraders and the red line indicates the 4 thgraders in all of Louisiana for their initial LEAP tests given each spring.

Fast ForWord started being used in the district during the 2006-2007 school year, shown by the yellow shading. Since that school year, as you can see in the graph, fourth graders in the St. Mary Parish Public School System have shown dramatic improvements in their reading achievement as measured by the LEAP ELA.

In 2008, for the first time in a decade, the district exceeded the state average for the percentage of fourth graders reading at or above the Basic level.

During the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 school years, Fast ForWord was extended to the rest of the district, and the schools began using Reading Assistant. In four years, the percent of fourth graders in the district performing at or above Basic on the initial LEAP ELA test increased impressively from 53% to 78%, starting out far below the state average and then exceeding it.

For more information, please see the Educator Briefingon this study as well as any of our 200+ additional reportson Fast ForWord results. If you have questions about any of our research studies, please contact us.