Fast ForWord Makes Gains in Florida, Texas

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The Dallas ISD TAKS study involved 828 middle school and high school students in Dallas ISD during the school years of 2004/2005, 2005/2006, and 2006/2007. The complete results of the study can be found in PDF format at the link below.

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--D. Nagel

Florida's Department of Education has approved Scientific Learning's Fast ForWord family of reading improvement software for use as K-12 supplemental intervention reading programs in schools throughout the state. Fast ForWord has also made gains in Texas, where the Dallas Independent School District recently released a study showing improvements on state tests after using the tool.

Fast ForWord is a family of research-based, standards-aligned digital learning tools designed to develop cognitive skills to improve reading comprehension. It's targeted toward students who are characterized as struggling learners.

Fast ForWord is aligned to Florida's "Sunshine State Standards." According to Scientific Learning, the stamp of approval includes Fast ForWord to Reading Prep and Fast ForWord to Reading 1-5.

In other Fast ForWord news, Dallas ISD in Texas recently concluded a longitudinal study involving the reading intervention, one that showed gains on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). The adoption of Fast ForWord was designed to help close the achievement gap between the district's TAKS scores and those of other districts in the state. the results of the study over a four-year period showed an average increase of 23 percent on the test.

"Many students get to the secondary level but don't have basic literacy skills. Without these skills, it's almost impossible to manage core subjects that get harder as students go through each grade level. As a result, you end up with a high dropout rate and low graduation rate. We needed a solution that could quickly fill in gaps and allow students to accelerate their learning, so they could catch up and successfully complete school," said Meredith Smith, executive director for special education for Dallas ISD, in a statement released last week. "As we began using the Fast ForWord software, we saw that where we had good implementations, students were making great strides. In addition to the achievement gains students have made, the Fast ForWord program has given our students confidence and self-esteem. It gives students hope, which is so important at the secondary level. We've been really pleased with the results."

The study involved 828 middle- and high-school students in Dallas ISD during the school years of 2004/2005, 2005/2006, and 2006/2007. Fast ForWord was used as a reading intervention for for all secondary tier-2 students (those who were reading "below the 40th percentile or ... had a TAKS Reading score below 2100," according to Scientific Learning). Students used the software 50 minutes per day five days per week.

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About the author: David Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's online education technology publications, including THE Journal and Campus Technology. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com.

Proposals for articles and tips for news stories, as well as questions and comments about this publication, should be submitted to David Nagel, executive editor, at dnagel@1105media.com.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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