Taking an innovative approach to instruction, the Oakland Unified School District(OUSD) has partnered with Oakland-based Scientific Learning Corp. to implement two educational software programs designed to help students accelerate their acquisition of cognitive, language, and reading skills essential for learning success.
Based on more than 30 years of research, the Fast ForWord program from Scientific Learning accelerates learning for students across a wide spectrum of ages and abilities — including those working at, above or below grade level — by applying proven research on how the brain learns. By building cognitive skills in the areas of memory, attention, processing, and sequencing, learners can realize achievement gains of up to two years in as little as three months. The Reading Assistant program combines advanced speech recognition technology with research-based reading instruction to help students strengthen their reading fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.
This school year, the Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant programs will be implemented in 15 OUSD schools, up from six schools in 2011.
For example, at Fred T. Korematsu Discovery Academy in East Oakland, the Fast ForWord program was launched in fall 2010 and Reading Assistant was added this year. Thanks to the hard work of teachers, students, parents and school leaders, the Title I school has achieved double-digit gains on the California Standards Tests (CSTs) in English-language arts and mathematics, and is a nominee for a National Blue Ribbon School. From 2009 to 2011, the percentage of students in grades 2-5 performing at the Proficient and Advanced levels on the CSTs increased from 17 percent to 41 percent in English-language arts, and from 39 percent to 67 percent in mathematics. Likewise, the school’s API score increased, rising from 641 points in 2009 to 788 points in 2011.