PSSA reading scores rise with software use

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. improved their reading achievement by one or more levels on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) in 2011, according to the company. 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.”

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.

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