OAKLAND, Calif., Sept. 6, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Taking an innovative approach to instruction, the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) has partnered with Oakland-based Scientific Learning Corp. (Nasdaq:SCIL) to implement two educational software programs designed to help students accelerate their acquisition of cognitive, language, and reading skills essential for learning success. Based on more than 30 years of research, the Fast ForWord® program from Scientific Learning 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 cognitive skills 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. The Reading Assistant program combines advanced speech recognition technology with research-based reading instruction to help students strengthen their reading fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. This school year, the Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant programs will be implemented in 15 OUSD schools, up from six schools in 2011. For example, at Fred T. Korematsu Discovery Academy in East Oakland, the Fast ForWord program was launched in fall 2010 and Reading Assistant was added this year. Thanks to the hard work of teachers, students, parents and school leaders, the Title I school has achieved double-digit gains on the California Standards Tests (CSTs) in English-language arts and mathematics, and is a nominee for a National Blue Ribbon School. 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.
"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 Charles Wilson, principal of Korematsu Discovery Academy. "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.""In the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), we've focused our efforts on creating the learning conditions each child needs to succeed academically and socially," explained OUSD Superintendent Tony Smith. "Through our work with local partner Scientific Learning, students are experiencing firsthand how technology and neuroscience are transforming education and, in the process, becoming successful lifelong learners. We're inspired by the success of schools like Korematsu Discovery Academy that have achieved such remarkable gains while enriching the lives of students. We look forward to continuing our work, with the help of programs like Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant, to engage every child in joyful, productive learning." 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.
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