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Istation Accelerates Launch of Oral Fluency Program

by Molly Bryan on May 14, 2019

Istation accelerates the launch of its Istation's Indicators of Progress (ISIP™) Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) assessment program across the United States. The program incorporates advanced speech recognition and digital recording technology to record students' reading and measure how accurately and fluently students can read grade-level text aloud.

The data collection stage of the program allows students in grades one through three to record a reading passage by logging in to the program and using a microphone headset. Teachers can score and document the recordings on their own schedule, as time permits.

Oral reading fluency—the ability to read connected text quickly, accurately and with expression—is one of several critical components required for successful reading comprehension.

"Our new ORF assessment program is a game changer, a really powerful tool for teachers. Hundreds of campuses across America are participating in this program using state-of-the-art technology," said Richard H. Collins, chairman and CEO of Istation. "Not only is ORF a timesaver, promoting more classroom instruction, but the program provides computer-based resources and formative data to identify both when a student makes a reading error and what kind of error—be it self-correcting, visual, meaning or syntax."

Thousands of elementary school students in the US are already using the program during the pilot period, and even more schools can participate for the remainder of this school year—at no cost—by registering online at www.istation.com/ISIPOralReadingFluency.

"Our teachers love the time savings and feel they do not lose instruction time while students are testing on ORF," said instructional coach Diana Wright of New Mexico's Aztec Municipal Schools, whose second-grade classes joined the program in January 2019. "The teachers have gained accuracy in grading because they can focus on the recordings, pause and go back to listen closely to each student's recording. Our students and parents appreciate teachers' sharing student recordings with them to gain a better understanding of student reading skills. Students are more engaged with ORF on the computer because it is fun for them and feels private—like a privilege for them to use."

Istation experts conducted extensive research in the main dialect regions of the nation—the Inland North, the South and the West—to ensure the most accurate grading and reporting for each student. ORF also incorporates safeguards for reporting when English is not a student's first language.

"The Oral Reading Fluency assessment is groundbreaking—there is nothing else like it," said Istation President and Chief Operating Officer Ossa Fisher. "Istation is incredibly proud to be at the forefront of bringing technology of this kind into the classroom with a mission-driven approach to help the teacher and empower the student in a way that hasn't been possible before."

The goal of the ORF project is to give teachers another time-saving tool in the classroom, allowing them to focus on student learning rather than assessments and to provide a history of student recordings that teachers can review as needed to better map students' progress and predict future success. The assessment is an effective resource for students who receive English language arts instruction in English.

The ISIP ORF assessment is the result of Istation's partnership with Boulder Learning, Inc., through which Istation enhanced Boulder Learning's existing speech-recognition and assessment product, FLORA, and adapted it for large-scale deployment in classrooms across the nation.

"Istation's Oral Reading Fluency product is a perfect incorporation of Boulder's Fluent Oral Reading Assessment program, which is the most efficient and predictive measure of children's reading proficiency," said Ron Cole, PhD, President of Boulder Learning. "ORF expands the ability of teachers to screen students, allowing them to assess needs more [often] than the once-a-year screening required by most school districts. ORF not only allows individual teachers to identify students that require interventions but also to monitor progress in response to interventions."

Schools can learn more about the ORF program and how to participate by calling 1-866-883-READ (7323) or by visiting at www.istation.com/ISIPOralReadingFluency.

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