Final Evaluation of the Reading Initiative: Report to the J.A. & Kathryn Albertson Foundation Board of Directors

Multiple schools, Multiple cities, Idaho (ID)


DETAILS: Location: Idaho; Design: Independent, quasi-experimental; Sample: 21,534 students in grades 1-9 at 76 schools; Measure: Norm-referenced test; Duration: 3 years.

RESULTS: The J. A. & Kathryn Albertson Foundation commissioned a report to evaluate the effectiveness of its Idaho Reading Initiative, which included Accelerated Reader and best classroom practices. The foundation established the Initiative in response to national concerns about children's reading and academic progress, and to impact multiple aspects of childhood reading, including teacher and librarian training and parent education. It was shown to have a far-reaching impact on Idaho public schools and "provided an integrated network of collaborative partnerships focused on the critical reading needs of the early childhood years." This report indicates that Accelerated Reader and best classroom practices produced substantial reading achievement gains--particularly for grades 1-4 and in schools where teachers were well trained in the use of the progress-monitoring system. The average time spent reading at all grade levels increased by 127% and more than half the students in each grade averaged above 85% on Accelerated Reader quizzes (a component of good implementation). Accelerated Reader was one of only 2 tools found to directly and significantly improve student-reading outcomes.

AUTHOR: Herbert J. Walberg, PhD.

The full report is available online.

Publication Date:

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