Students at the East Oakland elementary school improve their performance on the California Standards Tests in English-language arts and mathematics
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Oakland, Calif. — March 26, 2012 — Once a low performing school, Fred T. Korematsu Discovery Academy in East Oakland has achieved double-digit gains on the California Standards Tests (CSTs) in English-language arts and mathematics, and is now a nominee for a National Blue Ribbon School. The dramatic gains are due in no small part to the hard work of teachers, students, parents and school leaders, but also to the use of the Fast ForWord® family of educational software products from Scientific Learning Corp. (NASDAQ:SCIL).
In 2008-09, Korematsu Discovery Academy, a Title I school, was identified for Program Improvement after failing to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for two consecutive years. With support from the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), Principal Charles Wilson launched the Fast ForWord program in fall 2010 in an after-school program for students identified at the Below Basic and Far Below Basic performance levels on the CSTs, and in a before-school program for English learners. Through the individualized, adaptive exercises of Fast ForWord software, students build memory, attention, processing, and sequencing skills in the areas of English language and reading. The program supports struggling students, as well as those working at or above grade level, by building their brain fitness and improving their ability to learn and retain knowledge.
From 2009 to 2011, the percentage of students in grades 2-5 performing at the Proficient and Advanced levels on the CSTs increased from 17 percent to 41 percent in English-language arts, and from 39 percent to 67 percent in mathematics. Likewise, the school’s API score increased, rising from 641 points in 2009 to 788 points in 2011. After meeting AYP requirements in 2009-10 and 2010-11, the school exited Program Improvement status in 2011-12.
“The Fast ForWord program increases students’ abilities to take on a heightened cognitive load. When they’re in class, they’re better able to focus, sustain their attention, and follow directions. Their reading ability has improved, and they’re able to retain information and make connections faster,” said Wilson. “I believe the huge reduction in the failure rate on the CSTs and the 103-point gain we made in our API in one year is related to this.”
As a result of students’ substantial gains, Korematsu Discovery Academy received an award from OUSD for the largest increase in the proficiency rate of English learners of all elementary schools in the district. The school also received the Alameda County English Learner School of the Year award for achieving the most improvement among all elementary schools in the county. In January 2012, the school was nominated for the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, one of K-12 education’s highest honors. It was selected as one of 35 public schools to represent California in the 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools Program.
“Overall, our school climate is becoming more about students participating in the academic discourse of the school and less about remediation,” said Wilson. “I think Fast ForWord has played a role in helping us get to that place. Students can participate at a much higher level because they now bring a level of cognitive fitness to their work that they didn’t have before.”
About Scientific Learning Corp.
We accelerate learning by applying proven research on how the brain learns. Scientific Learning’s results are demonstrated in over 250 research studies and protected by over 55 patents. Learners can realize achievement gains of up to two years in as little as three months and maintain an accelerated rate of learning even after the programs end.
Today, learners have used over 3 million Scientific Learning software products. We provide our offerings directly to parents, K–12 schools and learning centers, and in more than 40 countries around the world. For more information, visit www.scientificlearning.com or call toll-free 888-810-0250.