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RAND Study finds Students Using Lexia Core5 Reading Show Greater Reading Gains Than Matched Comparison Students

Researchers evaluated the science of reading based product’s effect on reading gains post pandemic school closings

Since the school closings in 2020, educators have been looking for ways to help students accelerate learning to recover lost ground. RAND Education and Labor, a division of the RAND Corporation, released a new study titled “Students Using Lexia® Core5® Reading Show Greater Reading Gains than Matched Comparison Students.” Data for this study was provided by Lexia, part of Cambium Learning Group, and NWEA.

RAND is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that helps improve policy and decision making through research and analysis. RAND evaluated the effects of Lexia® Core5® Reading (Core5) on the reading achievement of students in grades 3 – 5 during the 2021-2022 academic year.

RAND researchers tracked the progress of students across 25 elementary schools in a district located in the southeastern United States, during the 2021-22 academic year. To gauge students’ progress, the schools administered NWEA’s MAP Growth Reading assessment (NWEA’s MAP), which measures reading achievement and growth. The researchers compared Core5 students’ reading growth to similar students in similar schools nationwide that did not use Core5 that year.

Key findings from the study report include:

  • 54% of all Core5 students outperformed the comparison group’s median on spring reading assessments.
  • 56% of high-usage students (students who completed all grade-level materials or met usage targets for at least 10 out of 20 weeks) showed greater reading gains than the comparison group’s median on spring reading assessments.
  • Even the lowest-performing students on the fall MAP assessment who met the usage targets experienced substantial gains.
  • All subgroups of Core5 students experienced reading achievement gains relative to corresponding subgroups in the comparison group.

The researchers also compared the Core5 and comparison group students to pre-pandemic national norms on NWEA’s MAP assessment, and found that:

  • Core5 students in all three grades made gains relative to the national norms, unlike the comparison group.
  • Third grade students started the year significantly below norms and finished the year significantly above those norms when using Core5.

“These results mirror Lexia’s earlier findings that Core5 helped students learn, regardless of gender, ethnicity, English Learner or special education status, despite the school closings and other pandemic-induced disruptions of the 2020-21 school year,” said Lexia President, Nick Gaehde. “We’re especially excited that RAND researchers stated that they saw the potential for substantial benefits if the single-year effects they found in this study could accumulate over multiple years of Core5 usage.”

Core5 is a science of reading-based adaptive blended learning program that accelerates the foundational and advanced literacy skills for students of all abilities in elementary grades. The research-proven program provides all students—from at-risk to on-level and advanced—a systematic and structured approach to phonological awareness, oral language, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.

With Core5, teachers are empowered to differentiate instruction for each student using meaningful data powered by Lexia’s patented Assessment Without Testing® technology. The embedded assessment technology predicts students’ year-end performance and provides ongoing norm-referenced and actionable data to help teachers prioritize and plan instruction with the offline instructional materials.

“Lexia has partnered with RAND to provide an independent investigation of Core5’s effects and to enhance the rigor of the methods used in a previous study,” said Gaehde. “We’re gratified that the RAND study also found that Core5 could be an effective tool for raising student reading achievement.”

The full “Students Using Lexia® Core5® Reading Show Greater Reading Gains” study is available at https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RRA2859-1.html.

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.

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Equity & Access - Issue 28

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