More than three-quarters of Pleasant Hills Middle School students who used the Fast ForWord® and Reading Assistant™ family of educational software products from Scientific Learning Corp. (NASDAQ:SCIL) improved their reading achievement by one or more levels on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) in 2011. Located in southeast Pennsylvania, the school is part of the West Jefferson Hills School District where another school, Jefferson Elementary, also saw reading achievement gains among many students using the Fast ForWord program.
On the other side of the state, near Harrisburg, the Palmyra Area School District is also reporting gains among students who participated in the Fast ForWord program, including those who struggle most with reading.
“A recent analysis of two years worth of data supports what we believed to be true, that students who use these products are making great progress,” said Dr. Collene Van Noord, superintendent of Palmyra Area School District. “What’s particularly exciting is that we’re seeing gains across the board, in the general population, as well as among special ed students, English language learners, and secondary students who have struggled for years. We couldn’t be more pleased with these results.”
“The leaders in Palmyra and West Jefferson are to be applauded for their vision. They have embraced what neuroscience research tells us about how the brain learns and, in turn, provided their students access to products that strengthen brain processing and literacy skills, and increase reading proficiency,” said Dr. William Jenkins, co-founder and chief scientific officer at Scientific Learning. “These results clearly show that when students can read proficiently, the sky’s the limit for what they can achieve.”Palmyra Area School District The Palmyra Area School District, which serves 3,200 students at six schools, began using the Fast ForWord program at one school in 2004-2005 and later expanded its use to all schools. During the 2010-2011 school year, students in grades 4-8 who were targeted to participate in the Fast ForWord program included students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and English language learners. On average, 34 percent of the students improved their reading achievement by one or more levels on the PSSA, with the number of proficient students increasing from 43 percent in 2010 to 64 percent in 2011. A report of the results can be seen at: http://www.scilearn.com/alldocs/rsrch/sbr/30519palmyraedubrief.pdf. West Jefferson Hills School District In the West Jefferson Hills School District, which enrolls 3,000 students across five schools, students in grades 4-5 at Jefferson Elementary School used the Fast ForWord products, and students in grade 6-8 at Pleasant Hills Middle School used both the Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant products. At the elementary school, 48 percent of the students improved one or more achievement levels in reading on the PSSA. At the middle school, 76 percent of the students improved one or more levels. A research briefing on the results can be seen at: http://www.scilearn.com/alldocs/rsrch/sbr/30520westjeffersonedubrief.pdf. About Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant The Fast ForWord program accelerates learning for students across a wide spectrum of ages and abilities — including those working at, above or below grade level — by applying proven research on how the brain learns. By building brain fitness in the areas of memory, attention, processing, and sequencing, learners can realize achievement gains of up to two years in as little as three months. Reading Assistant Expanded Edition software combines advanced speech verification technology with scientifically-based reading interventions to help students strengthen their reading fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Reading Assistant acts as a personal, interactive tutor for guided oral reading for all readers, from beginning to struggling readers. Teachers receive assessment reports and can listen to audio samples of their students as if they had been sitting next to their students, listening.