Fast ForWord Language Series

Study: Miller, Merzenich, Tallal, DeVivo, Linn, et al. (1999)

Miller, S.L., Merzenich, M.M., Tallal, P., DeVivo, K., Linn, N., Pycha, A.,...Jenkins, W.M., (1999). Fast ForWord training in children with low reading performance. Proceedings of the 1999 Netherlands Annual Speech-Language Association Meeting.
Descriptive Information Usage Acquisition and Cost Program Specifications and Requirements Training

Scientific Learning’s Fast ForWord LANGUAGE Series products are designed to build foundational elementary school reading and language skills to help students learn successfully in the general classroom.  The Fast ForWord LANGUAGE Series provides extra academic support and learning opportunities in reading and language for struggling students, including at-risk students, ELL students, and special education students. The Fast ForWord LANGUAGE Series includes the following programs:

  • Fast ForWord Language Basics- Aims to prepare younger students for the listening and attentional demands of classroom instruction, with a focus on sound sequencing, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, pattern recognition, and color-shape identification.
  • Fast ForWord Language v2- Designed to develop listening accuracy, phonological awareness, and language structures and move elementary students who are reading below grade level toward grade level reading skills.
  • Fast ForWord Language to Reading v2 - Emphasizes the link between spoken and written language to guide young students to become proficient grade level readers.

The Fast ForWord LANGUAGE Series is intended for use in kindergarten through fifth grade. It is designed for use with students with disabilities, including those with learning disabilities, English language learners, and any student at risk of academic failure. The academic area of focus is reading, including phonological awareness, comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, and cognitive skills.

Where to Obtain:
Scientific Learning Corporation
300 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Suite 600
Oakland, CA  94612
Phone #:  888-358-0212
Web Site: www.scientificlearning.com

Cost: The Fast ForWord program is priced at $280 per-student for an annual subscription or $800 per-student for a perpetual license (plus $80 per perpetual student license each year for Fast ForWord Results Now! services package). Site licenses are priced at $21,000 for an annual subscription or $60,000 for a perpetual license (plus $6,000 per perpetual site license each year for Fast ForWord Results Now! services package).

Scientific Learning’s Fast ForWord Results Now! Services package includes:

  • Progress Tracker
  • Reading Progress Indicator
  • SciLEARNU.com eLearning Courses
  • Technical and Instructional Support
  • Hosting

Headsets are required.

On-site training or consulting is priced at $2,150 per day. Web-based training, which may be more flexibly scheduled and avoid other costs such as substitute teachers, is $1,250 and consists of two self-paced and two trainer-led web portions. Remote consulting and additional web-based training sessions are available at $500 per 2-hour session or at $1,250 for three sessions. There is also an option for a Scientific Learning technical or implementation consultant dedicated to the school district ($200,000 each per year).

Leadership & Accountability Package for District Leaders is available for $5,550/year for up to 6 sites; $630/year for each additional site over 6. Leadership and Accountability can be delivered either onsite or as a combination of onsite and online.

The Fast ForWord LANGUAGE Series is designed for use with individual students and small groups. Sessions are delivered in 30, 40, 50, or 90-minute increments, for a recommended 5 sessions per week for 4-16 weeks, depending on the protocol.

The program includes a highly specific teacher’s manual.

The software program is delivered over the internet to either a PC or Macintosh computer. In addition, headsets are required. For full Scientific Learning technical specifications, please go to:

http://www.scilearn.com/support3/?main=tech/assess/basreq

Administrators of the Fast ForWord LANGUAGE Series must complete  product training. Training is designed to educate staff about brain plasticity and the science behind Fast ForWord products, effective coaching methods, motivational strategies, intervention techniques, administrative procedures and daily steps, and monitoring and reporting student performance with Progress Tracker and MySciLEARN reports.

In addition, training manuals and materials are available, and practitioners may obtain professional/technical support either  onsite or through web trainings.

Both professionals and paraprofessionals can deliver the Fast ForWord LANGUAGE Series. The program does not assume that the instructor has expertise in any given area.

Scientific Learning training manuals were not formally field-tested, but they are updated annually in response to needs identified through company training sessions.

 

Participants: Convincing Evidence

Sample size: 388 students (452 students were pretested; 246 in the treatment group and 142 in the control group)

Risk Status: Standardized testing revealed that these children scored well below age-expected levels of performance and lower in language comprehension and phonological awareness than in word reading ability.

Demographics:

 

Program

Control

p of chi square

Number

Percentage

Number

Percentage

Grade level

  Kindergarten

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 1

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 2

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 3

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 4

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 5

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 6

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 7

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 8

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 9

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 10

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 11

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 12

 

 

 

 

 

Race-ethnicity

  African-American

 

 

 

 

 

  American Indian

 

 

 

 

 

  Asian/Pacific Islander

 

 

 

 

 

  Hispanic

 

 

 

 

 

  White

 

 

 

 

 

  Other

 

 

 

 

 

Socioeconomic status

  Subsidized lunch

 

 

 

 

 

  No subsidized lunch

 

 

 

 

 

Disability status

  Speech-language impairments

 

 

 

 

 

  Learning disabilities

 

 

 

 

 

  Behavior disorders

 

 

 

 

 

  Intellectual disabilities

 

 

 

 

 

  Other

 

 

 

 

 

  Not identified with a disability

 

 

 

 

 

ELL status

  English language learner

53

18%

32

19%

 

  Not English language learner

211

72%

117

71%

 

Gender

Female

 

 

 

 

 

Male

 

 

 

 

 

Training of Instructors: Educators were trained in current and established findings on the neuroscience of how phonemic awareness and the acoustic properties of speech impact rapid development of language and reading skills; the scientific background validating the efficacy of the products; methods for assessment of candidates for participation; the selection of appropriate measures for testing and evaluation; effective implementation techniques; approaches for monitoring student performance; and techniques for measuring the gains students have achieved after they have finished using the product.

Design: Convincing Evidence

Did the study use random assignment?: Yes.

If not, was it a tenable quasi-experiment?: Not applicable.

If the study used random assignment, at pretreatment, were the program and control groups not statistically significantly different and had a mean standardized difference that fell within 0.25 SD on measures used as covariates or on pretest measures also used as outcomes?: No.

If not, at pretreatment, were the program and control groups not statistically significantly different and had a mean standardized difference that fell within 0.25 SD on measures central to the study (i.e., pretest measures also used as outcomes), and outcomes were analyzed to adjust for pretreatment differences?: Not applicable.

Were the program and control groups demographically comparable at pretreatment?: Yes.

Was there attrition bias1 ?: No.

Did the unit of analysis match the unit for random assignment (for randomized studies) or the assignment strategy (for quasi-experiments)?: Yes.

1 NCII follows guidance from the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) in determining attrition bias. The WWC model for determining bias based on a combination of differential and overall attrition rates can be found on pages 13-14 of this document: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/pdf/reference_resources/wwc_procedures_v2_1_standards_handbook.pdf

 

Fidelity of Implementation: Unconvincing Evidence

Describe when and how fidelity of treatment information was obtained: Fast ForWord is an individually adaptive computer-based intervention. Consequently, participation rate and progress through the content are the two primary methods of evaluating the fidelity of the implementation. Instructors are primarily tasked with providing a focused training environment and helping students use the exercises properly – strong completion rates indicate that both students and lab instructors are implementing with fidelity. 

Provide documentation (i.e., in terms of numbers) of fidelity of treatment implementation: During this study, compliance was a primary consideration and the coaches ensured that the participants adhered to the training schedule when present. Students used Fast ForWord products for an average of 39 training days (range was 15-116 days). At the time of this study, Scientific Learning considered that a satisfactory implementation (more complex measures of participation were developed subsequently).

Measures Targeted: Convincing Evidence

Measures Broader: Partially Convincing Evidence

Targeted Measure  Score type & range of measure Reliability statistics Relevance to program instructional content

Test of Auditory Comprehension of Language (TACL)

T Score (Mean = 50, SD = 10)

A series of seven studies on the test-retest reliability of the TACL that were published in the Examiners Manual showed that the reliability coefficient ranged from 0.77 to 0.96 when students were retested 2 - 6 weeks after the initial testing.

 

Examines comprehension for spoken language and consists of the following 3 subtests: Word Classes and Relations, Grammatical Morphemes, and Elaborated Sentences. The product trains various grammar structures.

Broader Measure Score type & range of measure Reliability statistics Relevance to program instructional content

Phonological Awareness Test (PAT): Isolation subtest

Standard Score (Mean = 100, SD = 15) Test-retest: r=0.59, SEM=1.14 for Initial; r=0.63, SEM=1.36 for Medial; r=0.65, SEM=1.34 for Final Measures the ability to identify the initial, medial, or final sound in a spoken word. The product trains the processing of sounds.
Phonological Awareness Test (PAT): Deletion subtest Standard Score (Mean = 100, SD = 15) Test-retest: r=0.68, SEM=0.90 for Compounds and Syllables; r=0.71, SEM=1.05 for Phonemes Measures a child's ability to delete specific sound parts (syllables or phonemes) of words. The product trains the processing of sounds.

 

Number of Outcome Measures: 2 Prereading, 1 Reading

Mean ES - Targeted: 0.59*

Mean ES - Broader: Data Unavailable

Effect Size:

Targeted Measures

Construct Measure Effect Size
Reading Test of Auditory Comprehension of Language 0.59***

Broader Measures

Construct Measure Effect Size
Prereading Phonological Awareness Test: Isolation subtest 0.14
Prereading Phonological Awareness Test: Deletion subtest

 

Key
*        p ≤ 0.05
**      p ≤ 0.01
***    p ≤ 0.001
–      Developer was unable to provide necessary data for NCII to calculate effect sizes
u      Effect size is based on unadjusted means
†      Effect size based on unadjusted means not reported due to lack of pretest group equivalency, and effect size based on adjusted means is not available

 

Visual Analysis (Single Subject Design): N/A

Disaggregated Data for Demographic Subgroups: Yes

Targeted Measures

Construct Measure Effect Size
Reading Test of Auditory Comprehension of Language – English language learners 0.71**
Reading Test of Auditory Comprehension of Language – English as a primary language 0.52***

Broader Measures

Construct Measure Effect Size
  Not applicable  

 

Key
*        p ≤ 0.05
**      p ≤ 0.01
***    p ≤ 0.001
–      Developer was unable to provide necessary data for NCII to calculate effect sizes
u      Effect size is based on unadjusted means
†      Effect size based on unadjusted means not reported due to lack of pretest group equivalency, and effect size based on adjusted means is not available

 

Disaggregated Data for <20th Percentile: Yes

Targeted Measures

Construct Measure Effect Size
Reading Test of Auditory Comprehension of Language 0.56***

Broader Measures

Construct Measure Effect Size
Prereading Phonological Awareness Test: Isolation subtest 0.15
Prereading Phonological Awareness Test: Deletion subtest

 

Key
*        p ≤ 0.05
**      p ≤ 0.01
***    p ≤ 0.001
–      Developer was unable to provide necessary data for NCII to calculate effect sizes
u      Effect size is based on unadjusted means
†      Effect size based on unadjusted means not reported due to lack of pretest group equivalency, and effect size based on adjusted means is not available

 

Administration Group Size: Small groups

Duration of Intervention: 100 minutes, 5 times a week, 8 weeks

Minimum Interventionist Requirements: Paraprofessional, 4-8 hours of training

Reviewed by WWC or E-ESSA: WWC & E-ESSA

What Works Clearinghouse Review

Beginning Readers Protocol

Effectiveness: Fast ForWord was found to have positive effects on alphabetics, no discernible effects on reading fluency, and mixed effects on comprehension for beginning readers.

Studies Reviewed: 11 studies meet standards out of 27 studies total

Full Report

Adolescent Literacy Protocol

Effectiveness: s Fast ForWord was found to have no discernible effects on the alphabetics and general literacy achievement domains, and potentially positive effects on the reading fluency and comprehension domains for adolescent learners.

Studies Reviewed: 8 studies meet standards out of 29 studies total

Full Report

English Language Learners Protocol

Effectiveness: Fast ForWord Language was found to have potentially positive effects on English language development and no discernible effects on the reading achievement of elementary school English language learners.

Studies Reviewed: 2 studies meet standards out of 2 studies total

Full Report

 

Evidence for ESSA

Program Outcomes: One qualifying study, in rural Tennessee, evaluated Fast ForWord. On state Terra Nova tests, compared to controls, students in grades 5-6 using Fast ForWord scored higher than controls, with an effect size of +0.25. This qualifies Fast ForWord for the ESSA “Promising” category.

Number of Studies: 1

Average Effect Size: 0.25

Full Report

Other Research: Potentially Eligible for NCII Review: 16 studies

Beattie, K. K. (2000). The effects of intensive computer-based language intervention on language functioning and reading achievement in language-impaired adolescents (Doctoral Dissertation, George Mason University, 2000). Dissertation Abstracts International, 61(08A), 194–3116.
 

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: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin Center for Education Research
 

Clark County School District. (2011). Improved Reading Achievement by Students in the Clarke County School District who used Fast ForWord® Products: 2006 – 2011. MAPS for Learning: Educator Reports 15(4), 1-8.
 

Overbay, A., & Baenen, N. (2003). Fast ForWord® Evaluation, 2002–03 (Eye on Evaluation, E&R Report No. 03.24). Raleigh, NC: Wake County Public School System.
 

Rouse, C. E., & Krueger, A. B. (2004). Putting computerized instruction to the test: A randomized evaluation of a “scientifically based” reading program. Economics of Education Review, 23(4), 323–338
 

Scientific Learning Corporation. (2004). Improved language skills by children with low reading performance who used Fast ForWord Language. MAPS for Learning: Educator Reports, 3(1), 1–13.
 

Scientific Learning Corporation. (2004a). Improved Ohio Reading Proficiency Test scores by students in the Springfield City School District who used Fast ForWord® products. MAPS for Learning: Educator Reports, 8(8), 1–6.
 

Scientific Learning Corporation. (2004b). Improved reading achievement by students in the school district of Philadelphia who used Fast ForWord® products. MAPS for Learning: Educator Reports, 8(21), 1–6.
 

Scientific Learning Corporation. (2005a). Improved early reading skills by students in three districts who used Fast ForWord® to Reading 1. MAPS for Learning: Product Reports, 9(1), 1–5.
 

Scientific Learning Corporation. (2005b). Improved reading skills by students in the Lancaster County School District who used Fast ForWord® to Reading 2. MAPS for Learning: Educator Reports, 9(8), 1–4.
 

Scientific Learning Corporation. (2005c). Improved reading skills by students in Seminole County School District who used Fast ForWord® to Reading 1 and 2. MAPS for Learning: Educator Reports, 9(17), 1–6.
 

Scientific Learning Corporation. (2006). Improved reading skills by students who used Fast ForWord® to Reading Prep. MAPS for Learning: Product Reports, 10(1), 1–6.
 

Scientific Learning Corporation. (2007a). Students in Western Australia improve language and literacy skills: Educator’s briefing. Oakland, CA.
 

Scientific Learning Corporation. (2007b). Improved reading skills by students in the South Madison Community School Corporation who used Fast ForWord® products. MAPS for Learning: Educator Reports, 11(34), 1–7
 

Troia, G. A. (2004). Migrant students with limited English proficiency: Can Fast ForWord make a difference in their language skills and academic achievement? Remedial and Special Education, 25(6), 353–366.
 

Waupun School District (2003). Improved Listening Comprehension for Middle School Students in the Waupun School District. MAPS for Learning: Educator Reports, 7(2), 1-4.