The RightToRead initiative aims to improve students' English reading and comprehension ability by integrating tech-enabled reading with the school curriculum.
As the program rolls out to cover millions of students across grades, cultures, and geographies, it becomes imperative to be able to measure the impact on a quantified, standardized basis.
EnglishHelper commissioned independent assessments to gauge this impact in West Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Punjab in India. These assessments are designed as Baseline-End line assessments comparing outcomes of students studying in schools that implement the program (Treatment group) with those from schools that have not deployed tech-enabled reading in class (Control group).
All the assessments are conducted in an unbiased, low-stakes environment through an electronic medium, either using tablets or computers.
The assessments maintain contextual relevance for students in that they are designed based on the textbooks. The assessments follow a standard rubric appropriate for each grade level. This enables examination of the reading proficiency of students across various segments and over time.
Report on Learning Outcomes 2017
India has a reading crisis. Over the last decade, surveys conducted across government schools indicate a consistent and significant gap in reading and comprehension ability of students.
EnglishHelper enables multi-sensory technology-based reading and comprehension improvement in English for learners across all age groups. Under the RightToRead program, EnglishHelper has deployed ReadToMe - its reading and comprehension software - in almost 6,000 schools across eight states, impacting 1.5 million students and over 12,000 teachers.
In 2016-17, EnglishHelper commissioned independent assessments of students from various Government and aided schools covered by the RightToRead program. Nearly 70,000 tests were administered in the Baseline-End line study across the states of Maharashtra, West Bengal, Gujarat and Punjab, spanning grades 3 to 7. The assessments included a Control group to identify comparable improvement in English reading and comprehension of students who were not exposed to technology-enabled reading of their English text books.
The outcome of the assessments has reinforced that multi-sensory technology-enabled reading has a positive impact on English reading and comprehension among children undergoing the program. Students undergoing ReadToMe classes were consistently seen to score higher in the End line from the Baseline, as compared to students who were not exposed to such a technology-enabled platform for English learning.
The primary grades of 3 to 5 witnessed a 21% higher improvement in English scores in an academic year for the Treatment group as compared to the Control group. Improvement in grades 6 and 7 was higher by over 20% in the Treatment group as compared to the Control group. Importantly, for the students exposed to technology-enabled reading, improvement was distributed across all levels compared with the distribution in the Control group which exhibited positive changes mainly in the higher proficiency levels.
In conclusion, this study demonstrates:
Superior reading improvements in students exposed to technology-enabled reading across all grades and in diverse geographies when compared with students not exposed to the program.
Superior improvements are recorded for all students exposed to technology-enabled reading even when grouped by levels of proficiency when compared with students not exposed to the program.
These results are consistent with the study conducted in 2013-14 which covered 20,000 students. In other words, it was possible to scale the program significantly i.e. from 20,000 students to over 1 million students with similar reading related benefits recorded.
A Large-Scale Study of the Effectiveness of Multi-Sensory Learning Technology for Learning English as a Second Language in 2014
In this study, the authors report results of a large-scale deployment of the multisensory software application for English language learning across 100 government schools in India covering 20,000+ students in grades 6, 7, and 8.
The results indicate that MSLE (multi-sensory structured learning education) proved to be highly effective in English language learning in highly constrained, infrastructurally challenged settings.
The study is pioneering in many ways. It is the first large-scale study of the impact of technology for English language learning, and specifically reading skills, in a K-12 setting. It supports significant research findings that multisensory methods can be effective in the acquisition of reading skills. The study was conducted in government schools across India in settings that have poor infrastructure, i.e., many students sharing a single computer, limited access to the application, poor classroom facilities, and so on. The students who were part of the study have little or no exposure to English outside the classroom. The study period was sufficiently long to enable robust conclusions about the impact of the software application.