Accelerated Reader

Evaluation Report and Project Addendum

Published in: Education Endowment Foundation website (2021)

Posted on RAND.org on July 28, 2021

by Alex Sutherland, Miriam Broeks, Sonia Ilie, Megan Sim, Joachim Krapels, Elena Rosa Brown, Julie Belanger, Anna Vignoles

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Accelerated Reader (AR), developed by Renaissance Learning, is a digital whole-class reading management and monitoring programme that aims to foster independent reading among primary and secondary pupils. The project initially aimed to assess the impact of one year of AR for children in Year 4 (ages 8 to 9) and to also look at the longer-term impact of the programme by collecting Key Stage 2 (KS2) SATs reading scores for pupils who started the programme in Year 5 (ages 9 to 10).

Due to problems with the original outcome measure delivered to pupils at the end of Year 4, the length of the trial was extended and the primary outcome measure was changed as well as the main cohort of interest. The primary outcome became KS2 SATs reading scores for the pupils who started the programme in Year 5. This meant schools were asked to continue delivering AR for one additional year and resulted in some schools having a gap (of up to six months) in their implementation of AR or not delivering AR during the second year.

The evaluation of AR involved 181 primary schools and 5,759 children. Schools were randomly allocated to either receive the intervention or to a waitlist 'business as usual' control group: trial cohorts in control schools continued as usual but control schools were able to use AR with non-trial younger pupil cohorts from the second year of the trial onwards. The implementation and process evaluation (IPE) involved observations of training, analysis of usage data, and surveys, workshops, and interviews in intervention and control schools.

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