Evaluating the Accelerated Reader Scheme

Little girl sitting on the floor reading a book

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Background

The Renaissance Learning: Accelerated Reader programme (AR) is a widely used literacy programme which aims to give teachers the information needed to monitor students’ reading practice and make informed decisions to guide their future learning. Vocabulary growth and literacy skills are also measured, giving teachers insight into how well students have responded to reading schemes and class instruction.

Goals

RAND Europe was commissioned to carry out an evaluation of the Accelerated Reader Scheme. The evaluation will seek to answer two questions in particular:

  • Does the scheme have a positive effect on the reading comprehension of pupils that are randomly assigned to the intervention?
  • Does the scheme have a positive effect on the reading comprehension of assigned pupils who are eligible for free school meals?

Methodology

The project team is conducting a wait-list cluster-randomised controlled trial in around 200 English schools, with schools being assigned to either treatment (AR) or control (business as usual). The wait-list element relates to schools being randomised to receive AR for the first time in the 2016/17 school year, or the 2017/18 school year. The primary outcome measure will be Key Stage 2 grade score for Reading.

An in-depth implementation and process evaluation is taking place with observations of the online training programme for staff in the intervention schools, online staff surveys, workshops with staff in a select number of schools and analysis of administrative implementation data from Renaissance Learning. The trial protocol and other details can be found on the Education Endowment Foundation project page. The evaluation report will be published in fall 2019.