About Our Gains

What, why and how we measure them

fast forword learning MAPSBecause we improve reading by strengthening deep-seated cognitive skills – learning MAPS:  working Memory, Attention, Processing and Sequencing – the changes our students experience are often life-changing.

  • An average of 2+ years of reading gain
  • Improved focus and other learning gains
  • The gains tend to continue
  • The gains come quickly and endure

Significant reading gains

We pre- and post-test students using an assessment that aligns to the Woodcock-Johnson test of achievement. On average, our student population averages a gain of 2-3 years.

This is an average however. We do have student who post 6-7 years of gain, meaning others are under 2 years. We share these numbers with parents, who typically confirm these gains if the school does its own testing.

Other learning gains

If you look through our client stories here, you’ll notice parents mention changes beyond reading. Because our software speeds up processing and related skills. We hear about improvements in the following areas frequently:

  • Attention – in class and at home
  • Homework efficiency
  • Test taking
  • Executive function and organization
  • Self-esteem
  • Social skills
  • Learning confidence, more willing to take risks

Dallas4yearFFWstudy

Gains continue after Gemm

The chart to the right follows a Texas high school class for 5 years, measuring the impact of Fast ForWord. Note the gains after completion. Our internal experience is the same. We often hear:  “She’s gone from strength to strength since completing Gemm.”

This is not a surprise. In fact, the science predicts it.

As children struggle to master reading and learning, higher-level skills — such as executive function and metacognition – have no room to develop.

Gemm Learning’s primary goal is to free your child from the constraints holding back reading and learning. Once those foundational skills are in place, higher level skills have room to grow. Most of this development occurs in the 1-2 years after finishing Gemm Learning, hence the reports of continuing gains.

There’s another x-factor after Gemm Learning, and that is the impact of boosted confidence. Once a child is processing efficiently, reading more comfortably and generally managing academic life, confidence improves and avoidance behavior melts away. This better effort and more positive attitude to learning brings its own rewards!

The gains come quickly and last a lifetime

Most students start to see changes in 4-6 weeks, significant gains in 2-3 months. The program is fact acting, because the it deals with the impediments that slow a child down. As in all things, resolving the source of a problem is the quickest path. Alternatives like tutoring take longer because the underlying impediments are not touched, leaving a continuing headwind to progress.

And because our programs work on deep-seated language processing, attention and related skills that are used every day, any improvements in those skills are also practiced everyday.

And so they endure.

Proof of Results

We rely on three sources to confirm our results:

  1. Regular parent feedback
  2. Pre- and post- testing
  3. Peer-reviewed research

Parent Feedback

Parents complete a behavioral survey starting out. This survey and our starting consults provide a reference point for future conversations.

While it’s not that scientific, the changes parent report are often vivid – “used to resist reading every night, now reads willingly,” “takes far less time over homework.”  There are no metrics here, but the changes are consistent with expectations from the science.

Our Internal Testing

Gemm Learning uses the Reading Progress Indicator, a normed reading test delivered online, designed to be effective with minimal oversight. It’s about a 30-minute test.measuring phonemic awareness, vocabulary, decoding fluency and comprehension.

Students taking post-tests will see different versions, aligned in the same way.

Note, the test is not timed, which in our opinion actually understates the gains we achieve since fluency is the first skill we impact.

Peer Research (PDF’s)

Fast ForWord software has 240+ research studies backing up its results.  Furthermore, there have been a number of school district investigations, including the 2-year Nevada State study here which found Fast ForWord to be the most effective out of 24 reading programs tested.

Here is a compilation of research, white papers and articles about Fast ForWord.

ACTIVATE software is newer and so has less supporting evidence. However, the studies completed to date affirm the results of ACTIVATE in helping executive function and attention skills.

NOTE: while we stand by the gains reported above, there are changes we don’t claim.  We do not claim that we can help all students equally. Nor do we claim we can make a difference in every case. Learn more about our claims here.