Externally-led evaluation will extend rigor to existing Core5 research documenting it helped accelerate students’ post-pandemic learning
Students move from “learning to read” to “reading to learn” around the fourth grade, but according to the 2022 Nation’s Report Card, the percentage of fourth graders reading at or above proficiency has dropped to 33%, marking one of the first results that included any impact the pandemic had on student learning.To investigate how well products can help teachers turn the tide in improving student literacy, Lexia, a Cambium Learning Group company, has created a new partnership with the research organization RAND Corporation. RAND will be performing external evaluations of Lexia programs, starting with Lexia Core5 Reading (Core5) blended learning program for pre-K through fifth grade students.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that helps improve policy and decision making through research and analysis. RAND Senior Scientist John Pane said, “My team focuses on measuring the effectiveness of educational software products. Do they improve student learning, do all students benefit, and how are benefits maximized? To ensure the relevance of our work to educators, we prefer to focus on promising and widely used products. Our best studies arise from the kind of extensive planning that is envisioned in this partnership with Lexia.”
The new study will be based on a national study that Lexia researchers conducted during the 2020-21 school year. Preliminary results showed that the more students met their Core5 usage targets, the better learning outcomes they were able to obtain. In fact, during the pandemic-induced disruptions in 2020-21, over 80% of students meeting usage targets did not have learning loss, and more than 40% exceeded their MAP Growth targets. The Lexia study also found that Core5 helped all students learn, regardless of their gender, race/ethnicity, English Learner status, or special education status.
RAND will work with recent data from a subset of the 35 schools that had participated in the original Lexia study. The sample for the original study included data on almost 13,000 students. RAND will be analyzing a more expansive data set from the 2021-22 school year provided by the research-based organization NWEA. RAND researchers will compare the Core5 students to a matched group of students to add additional rigor over Lexia’s study, employing methods Rand used in prior studies.
RAND’s research will investigate whether students who used Core5 with fidelity during the 2021-22 academic year have higher Spring 2022 NWEA MAP Reading test scores than their peers who did not use Core5. They will also examine whether the effect varies across subgroups (e.g., low achieving students, English Learners, special education students, etc.)
“Most pandemic-era research on test scores has focused on different ways of characterizing the extent of learning loss. It was necessary to understand that, but we really wanted to understand what helps students improve their learning during and after the pandemic-induced disruptions,” said Lexia Chief Learning Officer Dr. Liz Brooke. “As part of our long-standing commitment to evaluating our products’ efficacy, we’re delighted to be partnering with a distinguished firm such as RAND to provide even more robust evidence on Core5’s efficacy in helping to accelerate learning, especially for the most vulnerable students.”
For more information, visit www.lexialearning.com.
The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.