Study Finds Lexia PowerUp Literacy is Up to Five Times More Effective than the Average Middle School Reading Intervention Program

Study meets ESSA’s standards for Tier 1 Strong Evidence, the highest level of efficacy evidence outlined by federal law

BOSTON, Jan. 30, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- According to the 2019 NAEP Report Card, approximately two out of three students complete middle school without being able to read proficiently. However, the results of a recent study evaluating the Lexia® PowerUp® Literacy adaptive blended learning program, an intervention for non-proficient and struggling readers in grades 6-12, showed that PowerUp was up to five times more effective at promoting reading gains than the average middle school reading intervention. The experimental study met ESSA’s standards for Strong Evidence—the highest tier of efficacy evidence outlined by federal law.

“This is the first randomized controlled study completed for PowerUp, meeting the strongest level of evidence requirements under ESSA. This well-designed study adds to our growing body of research supporting PowerUp as an effective evidence-based intervention,” said Lexia Chief Learning Officer, Dr. Liz Brooke. 

Developed to address the decades-long gap in reading proficiency across the nation, Lexia PowerUp Literacy is designed to enhance core English language arts instruction for struggling readers in grades 6-12. Blending personalized online student-driven instruction with offline teacher-delivered lessons and activities, the program accelerates the development of both fundamental literacy skills and higher-order thinking skills through adaptive learning paths.

The study took place at a suburban, Title 1 district just outside Detroit, Michigan with an enrollment of about 5,000 students in grades K-12. The sample included 155 students in grades 6-8 who were enrolled in Tier 2 supplemental reading classes.

One hundred and five students were randomly assigned to a treatment group that used PowerUp in supplemental reading classes from January 2019 through the end of the school year. On average, they used the online component of PowerUp for 55 minutes per week for 17 weeks. Fifty students were assigned to a control group that used the classes’ usual intervention curriculum throughout the year. After comparing pre- and post-treatment scores, the researchers found students who used PowerUp outperformed the control group on both the STAR Reading™ (STAR) computer-adaptive assessment in grades 6-8, and Michigan’s end-of-year state assessment, M-STEP, in sixth grade.

“I would definitely recommend PowerUp as an intervention. I have worked as a school turnaround administrator for 10 years, and the results from this pilot were better than the results from other interventions I have been associated with in that period of time,” said Dave Rice, assistant superintendent at Roseville Community Schools, where the study took place. “Educators realize there is no magic product that creates significant growth for students who may need intervention. But PowerUp is easy for students to use and understand, and allows teachers to quickly identify essential skills that students may be lacking in, and makes resources available to address those gaps.”

While fall scores on STAR for the two groups were similar, PowerUp students scored about 40 points higher (equivalent to approximately 10 percentile points) than the usual curriculum students on the spring assessment. Similarly, the sixth-grade PowerUp group scored on average more than 20 percentile points higher than the control group on M-STEP. The data showed PowerUp had an equal impact on students of all backgrounds, yielding similar results for special education and general education students as well as for white students and students of color. Ultimately, researchers found PowerUp’s impact on standardized test scores was up to five times greater than the average reading intervention in the United States, based on metrics reported in a U.S. Department of Education review.

“Although the treatment group used PowerUp for only half the school year, these students demonstrated significantly higher scores on multiple assessments than control students using the traditional curriculum,” said Brooke. “We believe that the effects we saw will only increase when students are able to engage with PowerUp over a full school year.”

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About Lexia Learning
Lexia Learning, a Rosetta Stone company, empowers educators through adaptive assessment and personalized instruction. For more than 30 years, the company has been on the leading edge of research and product development as it relates to student reading skills. With a robust offering that includes solutions for differentiated instruction, personalized learning, and assessment, Lexia Learning provides educators with the tools to intensify and accelerate literacy skills development for students of all abilities. For more information, visit

About Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone Inc. (NYSE: RST) is dedicated to changing people’s lives through the power of language and literacy education. The company’s innovative digital solutions drive positive learning outcomes for the inspired learner at home or in schools and workplaces around the world.

Founded in 1992, Rosetta Stone’s language division uses cloud-based solutions to help all types of learners read, write, and speak more than 30 languages. Lexia Learning, Rosetta Stone's literacy education division, was founded more than 30 years ago and is a leader in the literacy education space. Today, Lexia helps students build fundamental reading skills through its rigorously researched, independently evaluated, and widely respected instruction and assessment programs. 

For more information, visit “Rosetta Stone” is a registered trademark or trademark of Rosetta Stone Ltd. in the United States and other countries.


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