Author(s)

Jan NicholsFollow

Department

School of Education

Degree

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Chair

Lisa Reason

Primary Subject Area

Education, General; Education, Reading; Education, Elementary; Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Keywords

Accelerated Reader, Reading, Reading Comprehension

Disciplines

Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Liberal Studies

Abstract

Schools in the United States have been using the Accelerated Reader (AR) program since the mid-1980s. A search of the literature related to the effectiveness of the AR program revealed that many of the studies were conducted more than a decade ago, and a large number of those studies failed to utilize a control group to provide comparative data. Researchers and educators have examined the use of the AR program, whose parent company is Renaissance Learning, for more than 20 years, yet there is still little definitive data on whether the system positively affects student reading comprehension and motivation to read. This causal-comparative design, in the form of an ex post facto study, examined two groups of fifth-grade students to determine if the addition of AR showed statistically significant effects on their reading comprehension. Data were gathered from both an experimental and a control group; the control group utilized the school system's literacy plan for reading instruction, while the experimental group utilized the literacy plan along with mandatory use of AR. Independent t-tests were used to determine if the treatment (AR) had any effect on reading comprehension by group or by gender. The results from the independent t-tests showed no statistically significant effect for reading method by group and no statistically significant effect for gender by group.