Evaluation Study of the Istation Early Reading Program in Idaho
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Istation is a digital-based instructional intervention tool for various content areas aimed at pre-K through 8th grade learners. The Istation Reading program consists of formative assessments, named Istation Indicators of Progress (ISIP™), which are computer-adaptive and diagnostic literacy assessments designed to track student growth over time. Istation Reading also includes an adaptive, online curriculum, which generates personalized learner data profiles that teachers can use to make data-driven instructional decisions and assign custom learning interventions. Istation’s Early Reading (ER) program was designed specifically for students in grades K–3, focusing on the critical areas of early reading, including phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and fluency. The ISIP became the state of Idaho’s early literacy assessment in the 2018–19 school year. The state-mandated early literacy assessment for students in grades K–3 is referred to as the Idaho Reading Indicator (IRI). The state of Idaho used a different assessment in previous years and switched to using the ISIP for the IRI in the 2018–19 school year. The IRI is administered to all K–3 public school students in the state, and is intended to serve as an early reading diagnostic and screener. A sample of public elementary schools in Idaho piloted the ISIP and the Istation curriculum during the 2017–18 school year. In the 2018–19 school year, all public elementary schools in Idaho administered the ISIP. Schools were required to administer the ISIP in both the fall and spring, and had the option to administer it more frequently for yearly progress monitoring. Schools also had the option of purchasing Istation’s related curricular resources. This study examines effects of the Istation ER program on student reading achievement in the state of Idaho and the validity of the ISIP for predicting student performance on the Idaho Standards Achievement Test (ISAT). It also highlights implementation successes and challenges experienced by educators who piloted Istation’s ER program during the 2017–18 school year. The main findings of the study are summarized below.