Georgia district boosts reading achievement

Students in the Clarke County School District in Georgia who used the Fast ForWord® family of educational software products from Scientific Learning Corp. made statistically significant gains in their reading achievement on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT), according to a new study that evaluated student performance over the last five years.

During the 2010-2011 school year, 55 percent of elementary and middle school students who were not proficient on the Reading portion of the CRCT in 2010 crossed the proficiency threshold in 2011, following their participation in the Fast ForWord program. Likewise, 59 percent of limited English proficient (LEP) students and 46 percent of special education students who were not proficient in 2010 became proficient in 2011 after using the Fast ForWord products.

In addition, longitudinal results showed that not only did the improvements consistently occur immediately following Fast ForWord participation, but the improvements continued in the years that followed. Students who started using the Fast ForWord products during different school years, with some starting as early as 2006-2007, made statistically significant gains in their reading achievement after their first year of product use and maintained the gains in following years, even continuing to improve their CRCT scores. A report of the results can be seen at:

“Our goal with the Fast ForWord program is to increase the reading achievement of our students,” said Dr. Noris Price, associate superintendent for instructional services and school performance for the Clarke County School District. “We’re very pleased with the results we have seen. Thanks to the excellent work of our teachers, administrators, and a number of district initiatives including the Fast ForWord program, we have seen a positive impact in the performance of our students.”

The Clarke County School District began using the Fast ForWord products during the 2006-2007 school year. The Fast ForWord program aids learning for students across a wide spectrum of ages and abilities — including those working at, above or below grade level — by applying research on how the brain learns and supporting memory, attention, processing, and sequencing.

In November 2010, six of Clarke County’s elementary schools that have been using the Fast ForWord products were named Georgia Title I Distinguished Schools for making Adequate Yearly Progress for three or more consecutive years. The school district was also named the winner of the “large” district category for Title I Distinguished Districts in the state of Georgia for closing the achievement gap.