National Center on Response to Intervention’s review of Fast ForWord research validates its effectiveness in RTI programs


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Oakland, Calif. — Sept. 19, 2011 — The National Center on Response to Intervention (NCRTI) has added the Fast ForWord® Language series program from Scientific Learning (NASDAQ:SCIL) to its “Instructional Intervention Tools Chart.” The NCRTI publishes the Instructional Intervention Tools Chart to help educators and families select instructional intervention programs that best meet their particular needs.

Through intensive, individualized interventions, Fast ForWord Language Series helps districts move elementary Tier 3 students, as well as struggling students, English language learners, and those with special needs, toward grade level reading skills — and success in the general classroom. Fast ForWord Language Series is part of the Fast ForWord family of educational products that accelerates learning by applying proven research on how the brain learns.  The products can improve student achievement by one- to two-years in as little as eight to 12 weeks.

Located at the American Institutes for Research, the National Center on Response to Intervention is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). The center partners with researchers from Vanderbilt University and the University of Kansas to build the capacity of states to assist districts in implementing proven models for Response to Intervention (RTI).

The center’s Technical Review Committee (TRC) on instructional intervention established criteria for evaluating the scientific rigor of studies demonstrating the efficacy of instructional intervention programs. Three studies on the Fast ForWord Language series were evaluated by the committee and are also listed on NCRTI’s “Instructional Intervention Tools Chart.”

“When the studies are ranked by effect size, the top two listed are on the Fast ForWord Language Series,” said Andy Myers, president and CEO of Scientific Learning. “The improvements made by students in these two studies show that the Fast ForWord Language Series had the greatest impact and the largest positive effect of any intervention on the chart. These studies confirm what districts have been telling us: Fast ForWord helps students increase academic achievement.”

Westerly Public Schools in southern Rhode Island is an example of a district that uses Fast ForWord for Response to Intervention.  During the 2009-10 school year, Westerly set out to see how much of a difference the Fast ForWord program would make when it was the only intervention used.  The district started with kindergarten students who scored at the deficient or very deficient levels in letter sound fluency and letter naming fluency on the AIMSweb benchmark. Said Kristen Federico, the district’s Fast ForWord coordinator, “We put these students in Fast ForWord only; they had no other interventions.”

After the implementation the district found not only that students’ test scores went up considerably, but that many were exited from their personal literacy plans which are implemented for struggling elementary students. “Since Fast ForWord was the only intervention used at the kindergarten level, we know that’s what helped these students, in addition to their regular classroom instruction,” Federico said. “And, since fewer students needed interventions, it certainly saved resources that year.”

Parties interested in reviewing Scientific Learning’s listings on the NCRTI’s “Instructional Intervention Tools Chart,” can go to:

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