WWC review of this study

A final report for the evaluation of Renaissance Learning’s Accelerated Reader Program.

Shannon, L. C., Styers, M. K., & Siceloff, E. R. (2010). Charlottesville, VA: Magnolia Consulting.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grades

Reviewed: June 2016

At least one finding shows promising evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Comprehension outcomes—Statistically significant positive effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

STAR Reading Test

Accelerated Reader vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Grades 1–3;
233 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.

  • Female: 52%
    Male: 48%

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    Not Hispanic or Latino    


This study took place in three Catholic private schools in a large city in the North Central region of the United States.

Study sample

The full study sample, which included 344 first, second, third, and fourth-grade students in 19 classrooms, was approximately evenly split between female and male students (52% vs. 48%, respectively). The majority of study participants (66%) were White, 13% were Asian/Pacific Islander, and 11% were Hispanic. None of the students were classified as English learners, less than 2% were receiving special education, and less than 3% were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

Intervention Group

Students in the intervention group used Accelerated Reader™ over the course of 1 school year. Teachers reported using the intervention daily (on average, 4.9 out of 5 days a week) in their classrooms, allowing for 30–45 minutes of independent reading practice per day. During this time, students read books within their reading and interest levels and took Accelerated Reader™ quizzes that tested their understanding of the book. The intervention was used to supplement the standard reading curriculum (Scott Foresman).

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison group were taught using a similar set of reading curricula as the intervention group, but without the addition of Accelerated Reader™. Both groups supplemented their core curricula—Scott Foresman—with other materials.

Support for implementation

Renaissance Learning, the program developer, provided a training seminar to intervention teachers at the beginning of the school year and conducted training visits to each school throughout the study period.

In the case of multiple manuscripts that report on one study, the WWC selects one manuscript as the primary citation and lists other manuscripts that describe the study as additional sources.

  • Shannon, L. C., Styers, M. K., Wilkerson, S. B., & Peery, E. (2014). Computer-assisted learning in elementary reading: A randomized control trial. Charlottesville, VA: Magnolia Consulting.

  • Shannon, L. C., Styers, M. K., Wilkerson, S. B., & Peery, E. (2015). Computer-assisted learning in elementary reading: A randomized control trial. Computers in the Schools, 32(1), 20–34.


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