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The Science of Learning

July 20, 2011
Scientific Learning to Host Brain Summit in Conjunction with Building Learning Communities Conference in Boston

Dr. William Jenkins and Sherrelle Walker will present one-day summit on how brain fitness can help students improve one to two years in reading levels in eight to 12 weeks 7/20/11 Media Contact: Jessica LindlSenior Vice President, Marketing and Product ManagementScientific Learning Corporation(510) [email protected] Investor Contact: Bob FellerChief Financial OfficerScientific Learning Corporation(510) [email protected] Oakland, Calif. — July 20, 2011 — Scientific Learning Corp. (NASDAQ:SCIL), makers of the Fast ForWord® and Reading Assistant™ family of products, will host a New Science of Learning Brain Summit at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers on July 26. The Brain Summit is being held in coordination with the Building Learning Communities (BLC) Conference, sponsored by November Learning. The BLC conference, which is designed to have an immediate and long range impact on improving teaching and learning, will be held at the same hotel in downtown Boston with pre-conference sessions July 24-26 and main conference sessions July 27-29. At the Brain Summit, Scientific Learning’s founder and chief scientific officer, Dr. William Jenkins, and chief education officer, Sherrelle Walker, will discuss how current neuroscience research is contributing to viable, innovative and impactful solutions for improving academic performance. They will describe the importance of brain fitness in education and explain how students can exercise their brains to overcome literacy challenges and improve their capacity to learn. Participants will learn how schools can accelerate learning for students of diverse ages and ability levels by combining good teaching, good content, and exercises that stimulate the brain to build brain fitness in the areas of English language arts and reading. In the Boston area, school districts such as Everett Public Schools, an urban district located a few miles north of Boston, are realizing positive results by helping students build brain fitness with the Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant programs from Scientific Learning. After participating in the programs in 2009-10, elementary and […]

May 12, 2011
68% of Students Improve MEPA Proficiency Significantly after Fast ForWord®

This study looked at 118 English Language Learner students who used Fast ForWord® products in the 2009-2010 school year from Everett Public Schools in Everett, MA.  A small minority of the students also used the Fast ForWord products in the previous 2008-2009 school year. These students were tested in both 2009 and 2010 with the Massachusetts English Proficiency Assessment, or the “MEPA” for short.  The impact of Fast ForWord products was dramatic and positive.  Following Fast ForWord participation, students averaged about 15 and a half scaled score points of improvement between 2009 and 2010.   In addition, no student scored at proficiency level 1 (the lowest proficiency level) after using Fast ForWord products.  On the other end of the spectrum, the number of students in the top two proficiency levels (levels 4 and 5) more than doubled, from 33 to 74 students.  Finally, 68% of participants improved one or more proficiency levels; 26% maintained the same proficiency level they had in 2009; while only 6% dropped a level.  This shift is statistically significant.

April 20, 2011
Students Exceed State Average on TAKS after Fast ForWord, Maintain Gains

Since the 2004-2005 school year, the Dallas Independent School District has used the Fast ForWord products in many of their high schools. This multi-year study followed more than 500 high school students from 20 schools over the years of their Fast ForWord participation.   This study shows impressive longitudinal results on the TAKS which is The Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills which is administered annually throughout Texas and is closely aligned with the state curricular standards.   A longitudinal study is a type of study that follows the same subjects over time. Students started with the Fast ForWord Middle & High School product, now known as the Fast ForWord Literacy product. Many went on to use the Fast ForWord Language to Reading and Fast ForWord to Reading products. On average, students spent 60 days using the products during a 5 ½ month period.  The scores of Fast ForWord participants moved in step with the state average until the students started to use Fast ForWord products.  During the year of Fast ForWord product use, the participants experienced accelerated learning that separated their performance from that of their peers.  Even up to two years after they finished using the products, the Fast ForWord participants maintained their improvements. The TAKS gains made during the study were statistically larger for the Dallas Fast ForWord participants than the gains made by their statewide peers.

March 3, 2011
Truth in Numbers: School Achieves Statistically Significant Improvements on TAKS

In the 2008-2009 school year, selected students at Sam Houston Elementary School in the Grand Prairie Independent School District, TX, worked with the Reading Assistant software. To evaluate the impact of this intervention, the school conducted an observational study using scores from the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, or “TAKS,” the annual state assessment. Administered in the spring of each year, students throughout Texas take the TAKS, which measures progress against the state’s curricular standards. On average, the study students worked with the Reading Assistant software for a total of two and a half hours over a 27-day period. The outcomes measure used for the study was the reading portion of the TAKS. Assessment results were reported in Lexile scores, which provide a continuous scale for tracking students’ reading achievement over time. Before and after scores were available for 18 fifth graders who had worked with the software: Prior to using Reading Assistant, many of these students were struggling readers. Only 56% of study participants met the state standard for reading proficiency in 2008. The group’s average reading level was more than a year below what it should have been for their grade. After using Reading Assistant, the percentage of students who met the Texas state standard for reading proficiency increased from 56% to 78%. The group’s average Lexile score went up from 541 before using the software to 753 after using the software. The study group showed statistically significant gains in both reading score and passing rate, suggesting that guided oral reading practice with Reading Assistant had a dramatic impact on reading achievement. Reading Assistant software combines advanced speech recognition technology with research-based interventions to function as a personal tutor for guided oral reading practice.

February 10, 2011
Why Your Brain Loves Chocolate

As mid-February rolls around, two subjects, hand in hand, start winding their way into our societal consciousness. Like it or not, you probably have two items “on the brain” these days: love and chocolate. Now, I sincerely hope you have an affinity for love. Likewise, probability indicates that you most likely have an affinity for chocolate. But what is it about chocolate that has all of us running to the store on Valentine’s Day to procure those shiny red boxes for our loved ones? Consider the sensations that love creates in the brain. When we are in love, what do we feel? What are the elemental feelings and emotions that a true, heart-felt loving relationship create?  Think about the sensations associated with a budding romantic bond; being with that other person creates feelings of well-being and centeredness. We feel stimulated and awake in their presence, aware of their every word and move. We feel pleasure just being in the same room with them. Now, consider chocolate. As it turns out, there are an extensive number of compounds in chocolate – about 380 – a number of which can have profound effects on our brain chemistry and contribute to these same feelings and sensations that accompany courtship and love. Imagine that you have just received that delightful box from your loved one. You lift off the flimsy, red cardboard top, slip off that sheet of paper, and within you find a dozen small brown paper cups, each gently holding one of these delicious trifles. You pick the darkest one in the box and pop it in your mouth. Then what happens? As you chew, savor and swallow, your body begins to digest and metabolize those 300+ compounds. Here are a few of them and their effects: Tryptophan and serotonin: They create […]

September 2, 2010
79% of ELL Students Increase Proficiency by One or More Levels

During the 2008 – 2009 school year, a group of kindergarten through sixth-grade students used the Fast ForWord® products. All participants were English language learners. Participants used products from both the Fast ForWord Language and Fast ForWord Reading series. Kindergartners typically started with the Fast ForWord Language Basics product and then progressed through Fast ForWord Reading Prep and Fast ForWord Reading Level 1 while students in first grade and above started with the Fast ForWord Language product, and then progressed through Fast ForWord Language to Reading followed by the Reading product.  On average, students used the products for 54 days across a 3½ month period. The Arizona English Language Learner Assessment, abbreviated as AZELLA, is used to determine the English language proficiency of Arizona K-12 students whose primary home language is other than English. AZELLA results include a composite proficiency level score and separate subtest scores for Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Total Writing. Scores are reported in terms of scaled scores and proficiency levels. The five proficiency levels of the AZELLA are Pre-Emergent, Emergent, Basic, Intermediate, and Proficient. Students in this study were assessed on the AZELLA in the fall, prior to using Fast ForWord products, and again in the spring, after using the products. Seventy-nine percent of the students increased their proficiency by one or more levels. According to a study through the Arizona Department of Education, students typically have a difficult time moving beyond the Intermediate level, with 38% moving to Proficient after one year, and 46% moving to Proficient after two years.  After using the Fast ForWord products, 68% of the Intermediate students reached the Proficient level.  In fact, 22% of the students who were initially at Basic reached Proficient.

July 13, 2010
The Results of Fast ForWord Use at the Westfield Washington Schools in Indiana

The Westfield Washington Schools are located just north of Indianapolis, in Indiana. During the 2007 - 2008 school year, the Westfield Intermediate School implemented Fast ForWord products. For this study, the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) were used as a pre- and post-test. The MAP assesses language arts, math, and reading skills. Ninety-eight students used the Fast ForWord products and had MAP scores that could serve as pre- and post-tests. School personnel administered the assessment and then reported scores to Scientific Learning for analysis. On average, students used the products over a period of six months. The majority of students used three or more Fast ForWord products, starting on the Fast ForWord Literacy product, then advancing to the Literacy Advanced product, and then on to one or more Fast ForWord Reading products. MAP scores are reported in terms of RIT scores, which indicate a student’s achievement level within a specific subject. To provide a performance comparison, participants’ gains were compared to the student’s expected gains, which were based upon RIT growth norms in the three subject areas of language arts, math, and reading. Students showed exciting results and exceeded the expected RIT growth norms. Students who used Fast ForWord products made 7 points of RIT growth in language arts, which is 67% greater than the expected growth of 4.2 points. Gains of 10.1 points were seen in math for the Fast ForWord participants, which is 35% greater than the expected growth. Students gained 8.8 points in reading, which is nearly double the expected 4.5 points growth. The differences between the gain scores and the expected gain scores were statistically significant in all three subject areas. These results suggest that using the Fast ForWord products strengthened the students’ foundational skills and better positioned them to benefit from the classroom curriculum.

February 4, 2010
Are "Smart" Kids Born Smart?

Did you ever know someone that others referred to as a “brain”? It is a term most commonly used in a school environment referring to a top student. Often the “brain” did not seem to have to work hard at school; he or she was viewed as naturally intelligent, knowledgeable in many subjects, liked by teachers and admired by fellow students. Did you ever wonder how that person got that way? Most likely you thought, as did most experts in psychology, the field that assesses intelligence, that he or she was just “born” smart.  Until very recently, intelligence was viewed as a fixed innate capacity, a genetic gift from mom and dad that more or less propelled a child on their way to success in school then ultimately success in life. But it turns out, that intelligence is not as fixed as was previously thought nor is it preset by a person’s genetic inheritance.  There are many variables that affect intelligence as it is measured by tests, measured in school, and measured in life.   Neuroscience: nature vs nurture Current neuroscience research suggests that most newborn infants are born with the potential to achieve in many cognitive areas. There will be some genetic predispositions, but the child’s brain is extraordinarily malleable and “teachable”. One could say that the job of the infant brain is to figure out, from what is going on around him or her, what skills and sensory abilities it will be important to master. Once the basics are established the child’s brain will set out on a path to become an expert in those areas.  By stimulating their child in certain ways, parents set the stage for the infant brain to begin a developmental trajectory that will influence what the child becomes “smart” at – science, math, […]

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