Incorporating IStation into Early Childhood Classrooms to Improve Reading Comprehension

Tian Luo, Guang-Lea Lee, Cynthia Molina
Journal of Information Technology Education: Research  •  Volume 16  •  2017  •  pp. 247-266

IStation is an adaptive computer-based reading program that adapts to the learner’s academic needs. This study investigates if the Istation computer-based reading program promotes reading improvement scores as shown on the STAR Reading test and the IStation test scaled scores for elementary school third-grade learners on different reading levels.

Prior literature provided a limited evidence base for incorporating computer-adaptive learning technologies to improve reading comprehension in the con-text of early childhood education.

Using a mixed-method case study research approach, this study purports to investigate the effects of IStation and examine the perspectives of teachers and students. Supported by survey and interview data, this case study employed a sample of 98 public school third-grade students in an urban elementary school in the southeastern United States as well as the three classroom teachers.

This study has provided a) additional data to show evidence for the effectiveness of a computer-based reading program, IStation, by using the students’ and teachers’ viewpoints as well as reading comprehension test scores data; and b) recommendations for practitioners and researchers regarding professional development for IStation implementation.

The results of this study show a strong correlation between the usage of IStation and the rise of STAR reading scores during the time IStation was integrated. There were differing opinions regarding the effectiveness of IStation between students and teachers, as well as between low and high achieving students. Teachers recognized that intervening variables of teachers’ whole and small group lessons individualized for each class, as well as students’ practice sessions both at home and at school, could have also resulted in improved STAR reading scores.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when implementing such technology to a diverse array of learners on different reading levels, such as Tier 1 (high reader), Tier 2 (medium average benchmark reader), and Tier 3 (low reader). It is essential to provide professional development and training opportunities for teachers. Teachers can also train and elevate the higher achieving students with using IStation to monitor their own progress as well as set their own individual learning goals.

We recommend studies with a larger sample size that would likely yield more definitive and generalizable results, studies using a randomized control group that would have teased out extraneous factors and truly measuring the effects of IStation alone on STAR, as well as longitudinal studies examining the long-term effects of IStation.

computer-adaptive learning technologies, reading intervention, early child-hood education, IStation
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