WWC review of this study

Improved reading achievement by students in the school district of Philadelphia who used Fast ForWord® products.

Scientific Learning Corporation. (2004b). MAPS for Learning: Educator Reports, 8(21), 1-6.

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
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Reviewed: March 2013

Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Study sample characteristics were not reported.

Reviewed: August 2010

At least one finding shows promising evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations
Comprehension outcomes—Statistically significant positive effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Gates-MacGinitie Reading Tests (GMRT): Reading subtest

Fast ForWord® vs. Business as usual


Grades 2-8;
293 students





Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

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The study took place in 16 schools in the Philadelphia School District in Pennsylvania.

Study sample

Three groups of students in grades 2 to 8 (mainly fourth and fifth graders) participated in Fast ForWord® supplemental instruction during the 2003–04 school year. Groups 1 and 2 comprised the treatment group for this study. Group 1 used Fast ForWord® between September and November, and group 2 used Fast ForWord® between December and February. Group 3 served as the comparison group (and used Fast ForWord® between March and May). The participating schools determined which students were placed in the three groups. Students were assessed in September and March. In all, 256 students in the Fast ForWord® treatment group and 37 students in the comparison group were included in the analysis sample. Additional findings reflecting students’ outcomes by grade and intervention group (1 versus 2) can be found in Appendix A4.

Intervention Group

Students participating in the Fast ForWord® group used a variety of Fast ForWord® products. All students used either the Fast ForWord® Language or Fast ForWord® Middle and High School product for an average of 25 days. In addition, about half of the students used Fast ForWord® Language to Reading products (which are part of the Fast ForWord® Language series), and one-tenth of the students used Fast ForWord® Reading 3 products (which are part of the Fast ForWord® Reading series). Fast ForWord® was used as a supplement to the regular reading curriculum. The study reported students’ outcomes after three months of program implementation.

Comparison Group

Before March 2004, comparison group students received their regular reading curriculum.

Outcome descriptions

The eligible outcome on this study is the Gates–MacGinitie Reading Test, which was administered both before and after the intervention. For a more detailed description of this outcome measure, see Appendix A2.3.

Support for implementation

Teachers were trained in current and established findings on the neuroscience of how phonemic awareness and acoustic properties of speech impact development of language and reading skills; information on the efficacy of the products; methods for assessment of potential product participants; the selection of appropriate standardized language measures for testing and evaluation; effective implementation techniques; instruction on the product, Progress Tracker, and the reports generated by the product that allow educators and coaches to monitor student performance; and techniques for measuring the progress and gains students achieve after they have finished using the product.


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