Professional Development: Blog

The Science of Learning

September 26, 2017
To Prevent and Close Reading Gaps, Wichita Falls ISD Adds the Neuroscience-Based Fast ForWord Program to All Elementary Schools

North Texas’ largest district will implement the evidence-based intervention program to provide students with the foundational skills, intensive practice, and guided reading they need to read on grade level 9/26/17 Media Contact: Hallie SmithDirector of MarketingScientific Learning Corporation(619) [email protected] Oakland, Calif. — Sept. 26, 2017 — Research shows that struggling readers need 10 to 30 times more practice to catch up to their peers. To prepare students for reading success and provide the direct, intensive practice that struggling readers need, Wichita Falls Independent School District (ISD) will begin using the Fast ForWord® program from Scientific Learning Corp. (OTC PINK:SCIL) in all 16 elementary schools and one middle school this month. As part of the district’s focus on early learning, all kindergartners will participate in the Fast ForWord online language and reading intervention. It will also be used by struggling learners, students with disabilities, English language learners, and other students in grades 1-8. “Many children enter our schools with little or no early literacy experience, and they leave third grade still behind in their reading skills. Our goal is to close that gap early so all students enter third grade reading on grade level,” said Michael S. Kuhrt, superintendent of schools for Wichita Falls, which is the largest public school district of the 38 located in North Texas. Developed by neuroscientists, Fast ForWord uses a unique three-step approach to deliver fast gains to struggling students. First, it prepares the brain for reading by improving the foundational language and cognitive skills that are often weak in these students. Second, it provides personalized, intensive practice on a variety of language and reading skills — more than any other approach or intervention. Third, it uses speech verification technology to support and listen to students as they read aloud, like a guided reading coach. Once these areas are addressed, students’ language, reading, and all […]

October 21, 2015
Grand Prairie ISD Expands Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant Programs to 37 Schools

Texas district’s students achieve strong reading gains after using Scientific Learning products 10/21/15 Media Contact: Hallie SmithDirector of MarketingScientific Learning Corporation(619) [email protected] Oakland, Calif. — Oct. 21, 2015 — After successfully implementing the Fast ForWord® and Reading Assistant™ programs from Scientific Learning Corp. (SCIL: OTC PINK) in 30 schools, Grand Prairie Independent School District (ISD) in Texas will expand its implementation to 37 schools this fall. During the 2014-15 school year, students who used these neuroscience-based solutions achieved average reading level gains of one year and five months in 75 days of use. “Across the board, we’ve seen gains in the reading levels of our students who have been using the Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant programs,” said Linda Ellis, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning for Grand Prairie ISD. “It’s really allowed us to accelerate our reading instruction for our students.” In Grand Prairie ISD, where 72 percent of students are economically disadvantaged, 22 percent are limited English proficient, and 9 percent receive special education services, each school determines which students will use the Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant online interventions. In many schools, the programs are used by struggling readers, English language learners and students receiving special education services. In addition, some schools make the programs available to specific grade levels or other populations, such as students participating in the gifted and talented program. “When students struggle in reading, it’s often difficult to identify the root cause,” said Ellis. “Fast ForWord starts with cognitive skills such as memory, attention and processing speed, and works from the bottom up to remediate underlying difficulties that keep students from making progress. With Reading Assistant, students receive individualized reading coaching every time they use the software. The schools that weren’t using these programs saw the improvements in other schools and thus made the choice to implement the programs this […]

April 9, 2013
Harlingen Consolidated ISD Expands Fast ForWord Program Implementation To All Elementary Schools

Students in 15 elementary schools achieve a seven-month gain in reading level in just 27 days of Fast ForWord participation 4/9/13 Media Contact: Hallie SmithDirector of MarketingScientific Learning Corporation(619) [email protected] Investor Contact:Jane FreemanChief Financial OfficerScientific Learning Corporation(510) [email protected] Oakland, Calif. — April 9, 2013 — After successfully implementing the Fast ForWord® program at the middle school level for more than three years, Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District (CISD) in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas has expanded its implementation to include all elementary schools as well. This year, the district rolled out the Fast ForWord online reading intervention to 15 elementary schools. Developed by Scientific Learning Corp. (OTCQB:SCIL), the Fast ForWord program addresses reading skills and concurrently develops foundational cognitive skills like memory, attention, processing, and sequencing. These cognitive skills are central to all learning, resulting in improved outcomes for reading and other subject areas, too. Students using the Fast ForWord program can raise their reading skill level up to two years in as little as three months. Harlingen CISD, which enrolls 18,500 students in 28 schools, began using the Fast ForWord program in 2009-10 in five middle schools to close reading gaps for struggling learners and students with disabilities. During the 2011-12 school year, the program was added to two elementary schools and an alternative high school. This January, the district expanded the Fast ForWord program to the remaining 15 elementary schools to support its early literacy program. At each elementary school, a minimum of 175 students work on the Fast ForWord program in the computer lab for 30 to 50 minutes a day. The program is used by diverse populations in kindergarten through fifth grade, including students working below, at or above grade level; English language learners (ELL); and students with learning disabilities. “This is our fourth year with the Fast ForWord program and we’re very […]

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.

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