Dr. Carol Connor, recently recruited to ASU, envisioned and led all phases of research validating A2i’s significant efficacy as an innovative way to improve teachers’ implementation of effective differentiated reading instruction from kindergarten (K) through 3rd grade. This is borne out in seven randomized control field trials, with more than 2000 students in over 100 classrooms, funded by NIH and the US Department of Education. The results are described in 23 peer review journal articles and featured in Science magazine. From K through 3rd grade, students in the A2i classrooms showed significantly greater reading gains compared to students in control classrooms. Additionally, effects accumulated from 1st through 3rd grade: 94% of children in A2i classrooms all three years were reading at or above grade level compared to only 78% of children in control classrooms all three years and compared to the national average of 66% (in Arizona, an even more economically tragic, 58%) of 4th graders reading at basic or above levels according to the 2011 NAEP. Thus, in Arizona, for example, a fully deployed A2i would represent a 62% improvement over current state performance.
Of additional significance is that as a classroom-level intervention, A2i improved the outcomes for all children. In those same A2i classrooms cited above, the percentage of students achieving advanced or proficient level performance on NAEP was 75% of the whole compared to only 34% of the average US classroom. The average in A2i classrooms was reading at a fifth grade level. And these A2i classrooms had, on average, 50% of their students receiving free or reduced lunch, a marker for poverty.
The historical failure to achieve the literacy results being targeted by A2i is associated with increased referral to special education, grade retention, increased high school dropout rates, and juvenile delinquency. Each of these suboptimal results carries their own attendant costs of failure. As part of A2i’s innovative marketing plan, we collect base-line data from customer school districts on costs of remediation and track how they are affected as outcomes improve. Since A2i can deliver significantly higher student outcomes, we are able to reduce the cost of intervention and remediation as well as improve a community’s overall economic strength.