WWC review of this study

Migrant students with limited English proficiency: Can Fast ForWord® Language make a difference in their language skills and academic achievement? Remedial and Special Education, 25(6), 353–368.

Troia, G. A. (2004). Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ695636

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
    , grades

Reviewed: March 2013

Study sample characteristics were not reported.

Reviewed: August 2010

Study sample characteristics were not reported.
No statistically significant positive
Meets WWC standards with reservations

Reviewed: September 2006

Reading achievement outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

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

Fast ForWord® vs. Business as usual


Grades 1–6;
168 students




More Outcomes

Woodcock-Johnson Revised (WJ-R): Word Attack subtest

Fast ForWord® vs. Business as usual


Grades 1–6;
167 students





Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • 100% English language learners

  • Female: 47%
    Male: 53%
  • Ethnicity
    Not Hispanic

  • Rural
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The study was conducted in seven schools from five rural school districts in central Washington state. This region has many agricultural communities that employ seasonal migrant workers, so the schools enroll a large number of migrant students.

Study sample

This study included 191 English language learning first- through sixth-grade students. Students from four schools were randomly assigned to the treatment or control group, while three schools created a matched comparison group for the treatment groups. The WWC could not separate effects for groups formed on a random and non-random (that is, those that used matching without random assignment) basis, so the WWC rated this study as a quasi-experimental design. All participants were migrant students (lived in the Unted States for six years on average) whose native language was Spanish, and their average age was 9.49 years old. There were slightly more boys (53%) than girls (47%) in the study and slightly more treatment group students (n=99) than comparison group students (n=92). A total of 168 students (90 treatment, 78 control) completed the Letter-Word posttest, and 167 students (89 treatment, 78 control) completed the Word Attack posttest.

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 on 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 Fast ForWord Language program about 100 minutes a day, five days a week for a minimum of four weeks. Each participant worked on multiple 20-minute Fast ForWord Language training exercises during each session.

Comparison Group

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

Outcome descriptions

The study measures in the reading achievement domain included the Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery-Revised Word Identification and Word Attack subtests. The study measures in the English language development domain were the Woodcock-Muñoz Language Survey, the Language Assessment Scales, and the Oral and Written Language Survey. (See Appendix A2.1 for a more detailed description of outcome measures.) The study measures in the phonological awareness domain included the Lindamood Auditory Conceptualization (LAC) Test, the Sound Blending subtest of the Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery-Revised, and the Experimental Rhyming and Segmentation Tests. The study measure in the social skill development domain was the Social Skills Rating System (SSRS). The WWC review of English language learning interventions does not investigate phonological awareness or social skill development, so results for these domains are not included in this report.

Support for implementation

No information about teacher training was provided, except that teachers were instructed not to provide the children with the correct responses. The primary role of the teacher present during the intervention was to troubleshoot any technical difficulties.


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