As teachers face the critical challenge of helping students become successful, joyful readers, they need resources that they know will work. However, “there is a stunning lack of research and evidence to support the efficacy of” the 11K+ edtech tools available (source).
ReadWorks is different. Research is at our core. Our ever-evolving, 100% free products are built on the scientific study of reading to ensure students can steadily improve and expand their background knowledge and vocabularies in support of their reading comprehension—helping them become the confident readers they deserve to be. We are honored to have earned Digital Promise's Research-Based Design and Learner Variability product certifications for our careful, research-driven product development on behalf of the millions of students and teachers who use our site each year.
Once our resources are launched, we continuously study their impact in multidimensional research studies, led by our internal research team and in partnership with top reading researchers. Because of our robust research agenda, ReadWorks is one of only 26 of the 100 most-used edtech tools in classrooms that meet Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requirements, according to a report from LearnPlatform by Instructure.
ReadWorks currently meets ESSA Tier 3 evidence requirements. In a 2022 study, researchers at NYU Stern School of Business found that students who complete ReadWorks multiple-choice questions progress over time, implying that students’ reading performance benefits from regularly doing ReadWorks question sets. This study also corroborated two earlier Digital Promise studies (in 2020 and 2019) by finding that differentiation within ReadWorks digital assignments helps students confidently and successfully tackle challenging reading. The impact of differentiation on student assignment open rate was even larger for the high-poverty group than that for the low-poverty group, implying the potential benefits of differentiation, especially for more disadvantaged groups.
In 2023, we launched a multi-year research plan that will deepen our investigation of ReadWorks’ impact on teacher practice and student outcomes, while continuing our mission of advancing the broader field of reading comprehension research through our innovative work. To continue examining the effectiveness of our high-quality passages designed to improve students’ background knowledge and vocabulary, our research team is studying our flagship product, Article-A-Day. A 2023 spring pilot with over 150 students in eight North Carolina classrooms found promising evidence that Article-A-Day can augment background knowledge and vocabulary. Our research team will conduct a follow-up study this year and will also use the pilot data to refine our new background knowledge assessments. We will share our assessment work with the broader field to help advance research in this critical aspect of reading comprehension, as background knowledge, a key part of reading success, can be challenging to measure accurately and reliably.
We could not deepen our research efforts without the support of our school and district partners. Thank you to the teachers and students who support research in the classroom. You can find additional case-studies that have proven impact and have influenced our design decisions. Contact email@example.com if you are interested in partnering or learning more about a research study.
Susanne Nobles, Ph.D., Chief Academic Officer