The Science of Learning Blog

May 13, 2020

New Research Shows Accelerated Reading Growth in Boone County, KY

BY Claire Kappler

A teacher and his students

A “gold standard” research study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the Fast ForWord product on improving language and literacy skills. In the 2018-2019 school year, eighty-eight students in grades 3-8 from two Boone County Schools in KY participated in a randomized controlled trial.

Students were randomly assigned to two groups: an experimental group that worked on the Fast ForWord product and a comparison group that did not work on it until after the study. Research evaluators such as the What Works Clearinghouse consider this randomized controlled trial design a “gold standard study” that provides the strongest evidence about an intervention’s effectiveness.

Students placed in the experimental group worked on Foundations exercises for 50 minutes per day, five days a week, in addition to using the Reading Assistant Plus software for 20 minutes a day, two days a week for seven weeks, averaging a total of about 26 hours. Foundations I, Foundations II, and Reading Assistant Plus are components of the Fast ForWord product, an online evidence-based, adaptive reading and language program that targets reading, cognitive, and executive function skills to help struggling readers succeed in school.

Students’ early reading skills were assessed at the beginning and end of the trial, and the results show that students in the experimental group who used the Fast ForWord product jumped from the 37th percentile to the 54th percentile. The experimental group improved by an average of 8 months in the 7.5 weeks between assessments, compared to the 2 months improvement for the students in the comparison group.

Students who used the Fast ForWord product for 7.5 weeks improved their skills by 8 months, jumping from the 37th percentile to the 54th percentile.

The statistically significant results of this study support a substantial body of research that demonstrates that the Fast ForWord program’s guided reading support, immediate feedback, and rigorous learning experiences lead to stronger language and reading skills.

For more information, see the research briefing on this study.

See some of the 30+ years of multilevel neuroscience research and over 300 research studies supporting the Fast ForWord product here.


Want to learn more about Fast ForWord? Schedule a demo today.

2 comments on “New Research Shows Accelerated Reading Growth in Boone County, KY”

  1. What was the dependent measure? A standardized test? One created for the study?

    What did the control group do? Were they given some special program? Similar to a placebo in a drug study.

    Was this a double blind study?

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