NWEA Launches New Research Project to Empower Upper-Grade Educators to Improve Reading Fluency 

Portland, Ore. — Oct. 26, 2022 — NWEA –  a not-for-profit, research and educational services organization serving K-12 students – announced today a new research project funded by Reading Reimagined, an Inclusive R&D program, housed within the Advanced Education Research & Development Fund. The award will test a new protocol for middle- and high-school teachers to use during classroom instruction to improve fluency outcomes for students from historically marginalized populations (e.g., Black, Latinx) who are striving to read on grade level and beyond. Based on the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data, only about 31% of eighth-grade students performed at or above proficient in reading, with historically marginalized student groups faring even worse, and research indicates that fluency is a key contributing variable to overall reading proficiency.

NWEA’s research project will focus on empowering middle and secondary educators with an easily administered protocol to address fluency with simple instructional techniques that do not require expertise in teaching foundational skills in reading, while engaging the student as a partner in the work. Free to teachers, the protocol will add simple and scalable strategies around word recognition and language comprehension to existing lesson plans. In addition, the protocol will support student engagement by cultivating a growth mindset with purpose and relevance for fluency learning.

“We are intentionally focusing on secondary students because formal reading instruction tends to wane off by the end of fifth grade,” said Dr. Miah Daughtery, Vice President of Academic Services, Literacy, at NWEA.  “What happens to middle school students who are not reading fluently?  We have stopped assuming that the English teacher in middle school has been prepared to teach reading, and our research project will provide secondary teachers with tools and professional learning to help students continue to grow as readers.”

The project will be conducted over the next academic year with a final report produced late next summer.  For more information about the project, visit https://aerdf.org/programs/reading-reimagined/eflr/

About NWEA

NWEA® (formerly known as Northwest Evaluation Association) is a mission-driven, not-for-profit organization that supports students and educators in more than 146 countries through research, assessment solutions, policy and advocacy services, professional learning and school improvement services that fight for equity, drive classroom impact and push for systemic change in our educational communities. Visit NWEA.org to learn more about how we’re partnering with educators to help all kids learn.

Contact: Simona Beattie, Sr. Manager, Public Relations, simona.beattie@nwea.org or 971.361.9526