by Noreen Wiesen
Educators and families who are looking for appropriate learning interventions for students often turn to The Instructional Intervention Tools Chart from the National Center on Response to Intervention (NCRTI), this Chart does not exist in SA, it is US based. Now, the Fast ForWord Language series has been added to the chart, with the NCRTI evaluations of research on the series supporting the claim that the products have high-quality studies, demonstrating their effectiveness when used for Response to Intervention.
The effectiveness of the Fast ForWord Language series is evident from the “effect size” found by the NCRTI. Effect size is a statistical way to measure the magnitude of the effect of an intervention. Of the three studies on the Fast ForWord Language series that have been evaluated by the NCRTI, one showed a medium effect size and the other two showed a large effect size. In fact, two of the three Scientific Learning studies were ranked as having the highest scores in effect size, showing that the Fast ForWord Language Series had the greatest impact and the largest positive effect of any intervention listed by the NCRTI. These evaluations of research on the Fast ForWord Language series validate the quality of the studies behind the products, demonstrating their effectiveness when used for RtI.
The impact identified in the NCRTI evaluations holds up in real-world implementations, as well. For example, one district used the Fast ForWord program as its only intervention for kindergarteners during the 2009-2010 school year, to see what kind of difference the program could make when used as the sole intervention for participating students. Westerly Public Schools in southern Rhode Island identified kindergarten students who scored at the deficient or very deficient levels in letter sound fluency and letter naming fluency on the AIMSweb benchmark, and placed these students into the Fast ForWord program, with no other interventions.
After using the Fast ForWord program, test scores for the participating students rose substantially, and many were able to move off of the personal literacy plans they had been placed on as struggling elementary students. Because only the Fast ForWord program was used, the district was able to determine that these effects were due to the students’ participation in the program. And because the students didn’t need as many interventions, the district also saved money.
The NCRTI is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). The center partners with researchers from Vanderbilt University and the University of Kansas to build the capacity of states to assist districts in implementing proven models for RTI.