Students at Discovery Elementary who used a reading intervention program achieved significant gains on the Idaho Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) and Idaho Reading Indicator (IRI). As a result, the Title I school now ranks as the top performing school in Idaho's Bonneville Joint School District No. 93. Developed by Scientific Learning Corp., Fast ForWord is a family of educational software products that seek to accelerate learning by improving the processing efficiency of the brain.
Located in Idaho Falls, Discovery Elementary began using the Fast ForWord software in fall 2008 with students in grades 1-6 who were reading below grade level. In fall 2009, the school expanded the program from intervention groups to all students in grades 1-3. Principal Ken Marlowe also made the program available to students in grades 4-6 who scored “below basic” or “basic” on the ISAT in reading or language usage.
According to Marlowe, on the 2010 ISAT, Discovery Elementary students in grades 3-6 made significant gains in reading, language usage, and math, and surpassed district averages in every subject. In addition, thanks to fourth graders’ performance in reading, Discovery was one of only two schools in the district to achieve 100 percent proficiency at a grade level in any core subject area.
Marlowe also said that Discovery Elementary students in grades 1-3 achieved significant gains on the IRI. From fall 2008 to winter 2010, Fast ForWord participants achieved significantly larger gains from one test to the next in “average words read correct per minute,” than students not participating in the program. From fall 2009 to spring 2010, third grade Fast ForWord participants at Discovery Elementary had the largest average increase in “words read correct per minute” on the IRI, surpassing students’ gains at each of the other 11 elementary schools.
“I have found the Fast ForWord program to be the difference maker in meeting the ever-growing expectations of student proficiency in reading, language, and math,” said Marlowe. “This past school year, we had the same teachers, same curriculum, same school day, same environment — everything was the same. The only thing we added was the Fast ForWord program and it’s had a significant impact on student growth. If you are an administrator interested in meeting AYP, I encourage you to seriously consider implementing the Fast ForWord program in your school. It has made all the difference in the world.”