WWC review of this study

A randomized field trial of the Fast ForWord language computerbased training program.

Borman, G. D., Benson, J. G., & Overman, L. (2009). Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 31(1), 82–106. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ869816

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    118
     Students
    , grade
    2
No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: March 2013

Comprehension outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS): Terra Nova Total Reading subtest

Fast ForWord® vs. Business as usual

April/June

Grade 2;
118 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 73% Free or reduced price lunch

  • Female: 48%
    Male: 52%
  • Race
    Asian
    0%
    Black
    89%
    Native American
    0%
    White
    10%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    1%
    Not Hispanic
    99%

  • Urban
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
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    Maryland

Setting

The study took place in four urban schools in the Baltimore City Public School System.

Study sample

Students were eligible for the study if they scored below national norms on the total reading outcome for the district-administered Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills, Fifth Edition (CTBS/5) during the spring of 2000. A total of 141 academically at-risk second-grade students (71 intervention and 70 comparison) took pretests (CTBS/5) in the spring of 2001. Random assignment was conducted separately within each school. The analysis sample of students with both pretest and posttest information included 62 intervention students and 56 comparison students. The groups consisted primarily of African-American (92% of the intervention students and 94% of the comparison students) and economically disadvantaged students (75% of students in both groups received free lunch). There were slightly more male participants (52% of the intervention students and 56% of the comparison students) than female participants.

Intervention Group

In addition to their regular reading instruction, students who were randomly assigned to the intervention condition used the Fast ForWord® Language software program in school resource rooms. The resource rooms served as a targeted pullout program offered during the regular school day supplementing the regular classroom literacy instruction. Students received the program 100 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for at least 20 days between April and June 2001, under the supervision of a Fast ForWord®-trained teacher.

Comparison Group

In addition to their regular reading instruction, comparison group students received nonliteracy instruction or participated in special activities and classes, such as art and gym.

Outcome descriptions

The total reading portion of the CTBS/5 Terra Nova was used as both the pretest (Form B in April 2001) and an outcome measure (Form A in June 2001). For a more detailed description of this outcome measure, see Appendix B.

Support for implementation

Before the start of the program, Scientific Learning provided training sessions for teachers operating the Fast ForWord® programs at the schools.

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.

  • Borman, G. D., & Benson, J. Can brain research and computers improve literacy? A randomized field trial of the Fast ForWord® Language computer-based training program. Unpublished report.

  • Borman, G. D., & Benson, J. (2006). Can brain research and computers improve literacy? A randomized field trial of the Fast ForWord® Language computer-based training program (WCER Working Paper No. 2006-5). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin–Madison, Wisconsin Center for Education Research.

 

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