From time to time, we receive indications of improvements in test scores of students who use Bookshare. To be clear, these improvements cannot and should not be attributed directly to the use of Bookshare because many factors contribute to scores. However, the improvements are encouraging signs that digital accessible text can make a difference.
At the recent OSEP (Office of Special Education Programs) demonstration event at Toyon Elementary School in San Jose, California, special education teacher Tammy Irvine said, “We’re seeing results not just in their motivation and enjoyment of reading, but in their standardized test scores. While many factors contribute to improvement in scores, our special education students’ average English-Language Arts score increase was 51%, from 10% proficiency to 61%, over six years. Over one year, our average increase in English-Language Arts was 12%.”
Another teacher, Cindy Grandin from Louisiana, wrote about one of her students. This 5th grader who used to never read a book now never wants to put one down. She was given a DIBELS progress monitoring survey in August and October of 2011 and again in January of 2012. At the beginning of the school year, she was correctly reading 65 words per minute on the 3rd grade probe, and by January was reading 103 words per minute on the 4th grade probe.
Samuel Ace, the principal at the Arizona School for the Blind, was convinced that his students who were given electronic text showed growth in reading. The school uses the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) computer-based assessments offered by the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) to test students’ reading skills in the fall and the spring. He provided a chart with their percentage of improvement. The school emphasizes braille literacy; students can take the test using a braille display.
Teacher Jeannette Donelson from Ohio said, “When given the Diagnostic Assessments of Reading test, three of my students gained a full grade in Word Recognition scores, and a fourth student experienced a three-year gain in Word Meaning scores.” Every student in her class has increased their reading comprehension levels. After giving them a digital copy of their world history textbook, she reported, “For the first time, they liked learning facts from a world history curriculum that previously made them cringe.”
Educators, we will continue to gather these stories. If you have any to share, please comment or send them directly to us.