Schools using the Fast ForWord educational software program can accelerate learning for students in a wide spectrum of ages and abilities, and improve spring test scores
Senior Vice President, Marketing and Product Management
Scientific Learning Corporation
Chief Financial Officer
Scientific Learning Corporation
Oakland, Calif. — March 29, 2011 — On state tests administered each spring, even bright young learners worry about their performance. Take Garrett, for example. The son of an elementary school principal, Garrett had the benefit of a strong preschool education and dedicated parents who read with him every day. Yet, Garrett struggled with reading in first and second grades, and scored below grade level on the Idaho Reading Indicator (IRI).
Then, in the third grade, everything changed. Garrett gained 3.7 years of growth, jumping from a second-grade to nearly a sixth-grade reading level. For the first time, he also scored at the proficient level in reading on his state test, the Idaho Standards Achievement Test (ISAT). What changed? From September to April, Garrett participated in a brain fitness program called Fast ForWord® that exercised his cognitive muscles and improved his brain function. This allowed Garrett to better take advantage of the content presented to him in school and at home, and maintain an accelerated rate of learning even after the program ended.
As Garrett’s story illustrates, successful preparation for state tests involves more than high quality, standards-based subject area instruction. Forward-thinking schools are accelerating learning and improving performance on high-stakes tests by building students' brain fitness. By exercising the parts of the brain that contribute to learning — memory, attention, processing and sequencing — schools can improve students’ ability to learn and retain knowledge.
At Discovery Elementary, the Title I school in Idaho Falls where Garrett’s father, Ken Marlowe, serves as principal, students began using the Fast ForWord software in 2008 to exercise and train their brains to process more efficiently, and build critical reading skills. In 2010, students in grades three through six made significant gains on the ISAT in reading, language usage, and math. For example, from 2009 to 2010, the percentage of Discovery Elementary students achieving proficiency jumped from 86 to 95 percent in reading, 81 to 84 percent in language usage, and 85 to 95 percent in math. In addition, Discovery Elementary students surpassed district averages across all subjects.
“I have found the Fast ForWord program to be the difference maker in meeting the ever-growing expectations of student proficiency in reading, language, and math. This is not only true for the students I work with at Discovery Elementary, but for my own son as well,” said Marlowe. “Now, of course, I wondered if these skills would carry forward or not after a student stops using the Fast ForWord program. I’m here to tell you that at the end of fourth grade, my son scored in the advanced range on all state tests in reading, language, and math. The Fast ForWord program really turned things around for him. He went from dreading to read to loving to read, and you can’t stop him now. It’s a tribute to the Fast ForWord program and what it’s able to do. Students maintain their gains even after the program ends. And that’s just one story. I’ve got a school full of them.”
Building brain fitness can also improve high school students' performance on state tests. At Collins Career Center, a vocational school for 11th and 12th graders in rural Chesapeake, Ohio, students improved their reading skill levels and achieved significant gains on the Ohio Graduation Tests (OGT) in reading, writing, mathematics, science and social studies. In 2009, for example, students who used the Fast ForWord program achieved a 10-to-1 gain over their peers on all five tests of the OGT.
“I was flabbergasted at how quickly we were able to move students forward in their reading ability and comprehension after purchasing the Fast ForWord program,” said Stephen Dodgion, superintendent of the Lawrence County Joint Vocational School District. “We were so excited about the results, we felt we needed to get the software to every student on this campus. Our scores have gone up considerably and I feel strongly that it is a result of this software.”
About Scientific Learning Corp.
We accelerate learning by applying proven research on how the brain learns. Scientific Learning’s results are demonstrated in over 200 research studies and protected by over 55 patents. Learners can realize achievement gains of one to two years in as little as eight to 12 weeks and maintain an accelerated rate of learning even after the programs end.
Today, learners have used nearly 3 million Scientific Learning software products, which apply “Brain Fitness” principles to the areas of English language and reading. 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.scilearn.com or call toll-free 888-358-0212.