|Two Esteemed Peer-Reviewed Educational Journals Publish Studies from Lexia Learning Researchers on Using Blended Learning for Literacy Instruction|
“The results of these two studies indicate there is a benefit to using a blended learning approach to literacy instruction for a diverse student population, particularly in the early grades, but such an approach requires teacher engagement to be truly successful,” said Dr. Elizabeth R. Kazakoff, senior researcher at Lexia, who participated in conducting of both studies. “Becoming a proficient reader by third grade is a key predictor of future academic and career success, including high school graduation, so understanding how best to help children make the transition from learning to read, to reading to learn is paramount. These two studies give educators a deeper understanding of how educators can use educational technologies most effectively with their students.”
Brief descriptions of each study are below.
Students of the engaged teachers not only began the study with significantly higher fidelity of use and more units completed than their peers in the second group, they continued the trend of higher fidelity of use and more completed reading units throughout the study. Consequently, study results showed significant improvements in reading skills during the analyzed period for students of engaged teachers as a result of their students’ consistent use of the blended learning program.
The study evaluated the program’s effect on the reading performance of 641 students in kindergarten through grade five via pre- and posttests on a standardized reading assessment called Group Reading Assessment and Diagnostic Evaluation (GRADE™). Researchers found that student progress in the online component of the blended learning program was a significant predictor of their reading performance growth on GRADE even when controlling for student grade level, initial student skill level, and English Learner (EL) status. Students in kindergarten through second grade showed more substantial gains than students in later grades.
“The gains in reading for students who are English Learners were especially important because 18 percent of the school’s student population are EL,” said Dr. Kazakoff. “Only 24 percent of students who are English Learners in Massachusetts, the state in which the school’s located, scored proficient or above on the 2013-14 state reading and language arts assessment, far below the 69 percent overall proficiency average. That’s not a unique phenomenon. Teachers across the United States are looking for ways to support their students who are English Learners, and we have demonstrated that blended learning can indeed help them and, even better, make the greatest impact just before that crucial third grade transition point in literacy learning.”
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