Reviewed: March 2013
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.
The study was conducted in three schools located in different districts and states. One school
was described as being located in a rural district and another in an urban district. The third
school was located in the Springfield City School District, Ohio.
During the spring of the 2004–05 school year, 158 first-grade students and 50 second-grade
students from three different schools participated in the study. At one school, students from
both grades participated, whereas only first-grade students participated at the other two
schools. Using random assignment within schools and grades, 103 low-achieving students were
assigned to the Fast ForWord® group (78 first-grade students and 25 second-grade students),
and 105 students served as a comparison group (80 first-grade students and 25 second-grade
students). Four students (two intervention and two comparison) who were older than age 9 at
one or both testing times were removed from the analysis sample because they were too old
for the norms of the Test of Phonological Awareness (TOPA). Additionally, three intervention
students and four comparison students moved during the study. Therefore, the analysis sample
included 197 students: 75 first-grade students and 23 second-grade students in the intervention
group, and 78 first-grade students and 21 second-grade students in the comparison group.
Seven study participants (one intervention student and six comparison students) had used the
Fast ForWord® Basics product before participating in the study. Results for a subsample of 93
students in the Springfield City School District were also reported in a separate manuscript (Scientific
Learning Corporation, 2005d) and can be viewed in Appendix D.1.
All students in the Fast ForWord® group used the Fast ForWord® to Reading 1 product, a
computer-based product designed using first-grade curriculum standards. The Fast ForWord®
to Reading 1 protocol called for students to use the product for 48 minutes a day, 5 days a
week, for 8–12 weeks. Students were pulled out of class to use the program in a computer
lab, where two paraprofessionals monitored the students but did not assist with the content
except to give instructions.
Students in the comparison group took part in the regular school curriculum.
The Phonological Awareness and Letter-Sounds subtests of the Early Elementary version
of the TOPA were used for both the pretest and posttest. For a more detailed description of
these outcome measures, see Appendix B.
Support for implementation
Teachers and the paraprofessionals who were monitoring the computer labs were given background
information on how phonemic awareness and the acoustic properties of speech can
impact development of language and reading skills. They were also trained to implement the
program, including approaches for using Progress Tracker, the program’s reporting system, to
monitor student performance. Teachers were also trained to assess potential participants for
the study and to assess student outcomes.