Excel Beyond the Bell Elementary (EBBE), an after-school program in Montgomery County, Maryland, released its report “Leveraging the Power of Play” earlier this month. EBBE saw some exciting results with Speak Agent in reading! Their testing found 31.2% growth in knowledge of key reading vocabulary and concepts over a 12-week period. (This finding is noted in the EBBE report on the bottom of page 4.)
Second-grade EBBE students (majority ELLs and FARMs) took the pre- and post-tests at four elementary schools: Burnt Mills, Harmony Hills, JoAnn Leleck, and South Lake. Each student used Speak Agent for an average of 6 hours over the 12 weeks between the pre- and post-tests. Reading lessons were aligned to MCPS Curriculum 2.0 materials.
The tests had 17 questions and took an average of about 30 minutes for students to complete. (Up to 45 minutes were allowed.) EBBE staff read each question and answer choice in English to students aloud and repeated as many times as needed. (Staff were not, however, permitted to help students answer the questions, translate, or explain word meanings.)
The growth rate in reading at EBBE is double the gains that Rockman et al found in science at Manor ISD in an earlier NSF-sponsored study.