WWC review of this study

Improved language skills by children with low reading performance who used Fast ForWord Language.

Scientific Learning Corporation. (2004). MAPS for Learning: Product Reports, 3(1), 1–13.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    426
     Students
    , grades
    K-5
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: March 2013

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

Phonological Awareness Test (PAT): Isolation subtest

Fast ForWord® vs. business as usual

Posttest

Grades K-3;
376 students

93.6

91.3

No

--
More Outcomes

Phonological Awareness Test (PAT): Deletion subtest

Fast ForWord® vs. business as usual

Posttest

Grades K-3;
377 students

89.8

89.9

No

--

Woodcock-Johnson Revised (WJ-R): Letter-Word Identification subtest

Fast ForWord® vs. business as usual

Posttest

Grades K-3;
426 students

88.3

89.5

No

--
Comprehension outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Test of Auditory Comprehension of Language- Revised (TACL-R)

Fast ForWord® vs. business as usual

Posttest

Grades K-3;
404 students

47

42.5

Yes

 
 
21

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 32% English language learners

Setting

The study was conducted in nine school districts in the United States.

Study sample

In this randomized study, teachers from nine school districts identified 585 students who performed in the bottom quartile of their language arts classes. These students were primarily from grades K–3; 145 students were excluded from the study prior to group assignment if they received special education services or did not complete the pre-evaluations. The remaining 440 students were randomly assigned, within each grade and gender strata, to either the Fast ForWord® group or the comparison group on a fixed 1.74:1 ratio. The analysis sample included 266 students in the Fast ForWord® group and 160 students in the comparison group. However, the overall student attrition rate ranged from 8% to 15%, depending on the outcome. The overall and differential attrition rates of students met WWC standards for low attrition.

Intervention Group

Students in the intervention group played seven selected games from the Fast ForWord® Language program for one hour and 40 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for an average of about 30 school days. Most students stopped playing when the student reached a 90% performance level on five of the seven games.

Comparison Group

The comparison group received the standard instruction provided in the regular reading and language arts curriculum.

Outcome descriptions

For both the pretest and posttest, students took the Isolation and Deletion subtests of the Phonological Awareness Test (PAT), the Letter-Word Identification subtest of the Woodcock-Johnson (WJ) Psycho-Educational Battery, and the Test of Auditory Comprehension of Language. For a more detailed description of these outcome measures, see Appendix B.

Support for implementation

No details about training were provided.

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.

  • Miller, S. L., Merzenich, M. M., Tallal, P., DeVivo, K., Linn, N., Pycha, A., et al. (1999). Fast ForWord training in children with low reading performance. Proceedings of the 1999 Dutch National Speech-Language Association Meeting, 1–18.

Reviewed: August 2010

Study sample characteristics were not reported.
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: September 2006

English language development outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Test of Auditory Comprehension of Language- Revised (TACL-R)

Fast ForWord® vs. Business as Usual

Posttest

Grades K-5;
81 students

45.21

37.93

Yes

 
 
31

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 100% English language learners

Setting

The study was conducted in nine school districts in the United States. Elementary school teachers identified students as at-risk based on student difficulties with reading and language arts.

Study sample

Four-hundred fifty-two academically at-risk students in kindergarten through fifth grade were randomly assigned, within grade and gender, to the treatment group (n=288) or the control group (n=164) at a 1.74:1 ratio. The original study stated that 85 of the students were categorized as English language learners (53 in the treatment group and 32 in the control group).1 Follow-up correspondence with the developer of the intervention revealed that 98 students were identified as English language learners. Nine English language learning students were also identified as receiving services for special education and were not included in the analysis. Of the remaining 89 students, five from the comparison group and three from the intervention group had incomplete data. There were complete data for a total of 81 English language learning students (52 in the treatment group and 29 in the comparison group).

Intervention Group

Participants used Fast ForWord Language, an adaptive computer-based training program based on acoustically modified speech and language training. Students were presented with seven exercises as computer games. Exercises began with acoustic reception and moved to more complex skills in syntactic and semantic aspects of language. The difficulty of each task was continuously adapted so that participants would get about 80% of the items correct. Participants used the program about 100 minutes a day, five days a week over an average of 39 days. Each participant worked on multiple 20-minute Fast ForWord Language training exercises during each session.

Comparison Group

The control group used their regular curriculum. No information about the regular curriculum was provided.

Outcome descriptions

The study measure in the English language development domain was the Test of Auditory Comprehension of Language Revised Edition (TACL-R). (See Appendix A2.2 for a more detailed description of this outcome measure.) The study measure in the phonological awareness domain was the Phonological Awareness Test (PAT). The WWC review of English language learning interventions does not investigate phonological awareness, so results for this domain are not included in this report.

Support for implementation

No information about teacher training was provided. However, the teachers were speech-language or educational professionals.

 

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