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Student Research Projects

Accelerated Reader: Diagnostic Teaching Tool or Supplemental Reading Program?

Student Antonia Woods
Faculty Mentor(s) Dr. B. Lively
Department Education
Course INST 482: Issues in Education

Abstract

Accelerated Reader (AR) is a computerized assessment program that tracks children’s reading progress based on computer-generated multiple-choice quizzes that are purported to assess children’s comprehension of books they have read. Students earn points that can be cashed in for rewards if they pass the quizzes. Originally used in elementary and middle schools as a supplemental reading program to encourage children to read more frequently and widely, AR has more recently come to be used as schools’ primary reading instruction program. The problem is that AR is not an instructional program, nor is it widely accepted as a diagnostic tool in the field of reading, yet it is being used as both. Based on surveys and interviews with local teachers in grades 3, 4, and 5, preliminary findings show that AR is being used in many different ways in Hampton Roads schools, from assigning grades linked to the number of AR points accumulated by students to its use as a placement tool for instructional grouping. The early results suggest that local schools are following a dangerous trend toward using AR less as a supplement to existing reading programs and more as a primary tool for providing reading instruction.

 

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