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Renaissance Learning offers technology based educational programs for PK-12th-grade students. These programs are designed to assess, monitor, supplement, and enhance traditional classroom activities and lessons. Additionally, Renaissance Learning offers professional development opportunities making it easier for teachers to implement the programs into their classroom. All Renaissance Learning programs are aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
Renaissance Learning was founded in 1984 by Judi and Terry Paul in the basement of their Wisconsin home. The company started with the Accelerated Reader program and quickly grew. It now features several unique products including Accelerated Reader, Accelerated Math, STAR Reading, STAR Math, STAR Early Literacy, MathFacts in a Flash, and English in a Flash.
Renaissance Learning programs are designed to speed up student learning. Each unique program is built with that principle in mind thus keeping some universal components the same within each of the programs. Those components include:
- More time for specific instruction and guided practice
- Differentiated learning so that all students are on their own level
- Immediate feedback
- Personalized goal setting
- Effective use of technology
- Research based
Their mission statement, according to the Renaissance Learning website, is, "Our primary purpose is to accelerate learning for all children and adults of all ability levels and ethnic and social backgrounds, worldwide." With tens of thousands of schools in the United States using their programs, it seems that they are successful at fulfilling that mission. Each program is designed to meet a unique need while focusing on the overall picture of meeting the Renaissance Learning mission.
Accelerated ReaderHero Images/Getty Images
Accelerated Reader is arguably the most popular technology based educational program in the world. It is intended for students in grades 1-12. Students earn A.R. points by taking and passing a quiz on a book they have read. The points earned depend on the grade level of the book, the difficulty of the book and how many correct questions the student answers. Teachers and students can set Accelerated Reader goals for a week, a month, nine weeks, semester, or the entire school year. Many schools have reward programs in which they recognize their top readers according to how many points they have earned. The purpose of Accelerated Reader is to ensure that a student understands and comprehends what they have read. It is also intended to motivate students to read through goal setting and rewards.
Accelerated Math is a program that allows teachers to assign math problems for students to practice. The program is intended for students in grades K-12. Students may complete problems online or by paper/pencil using a scannable answer document. In either case, teachers and students are provided immediate feedback. Teachers can use the program to differentiate and personalize instruction. Teachers dictate the lessons each student is required to complete, the number of questions for each assignment, and the grade level of the material. The program can be used as a core math program, or it can be used as a supplemental program. Students are provided practice, practice exercises, and test for each assignment they are given. The teacher may also require students to complete some extended response questions.
STAR Reading is an assessment program that allows teachers to assess an entire class's reading level quickly and accurately. The program is intended for students in grades K-12. The program uses a combination of the cloze method and traditional reading comprehension passages to find a student's individual reading level. The assessment is completed in two parts. Part I of the assessment features twenty-five cloze method questions. Part II of the assessment features three traditional reading comprehension passages. After the student completes the assessment the teacher can quickly access reports that provide valuable information including the student's grade equivalent, estimated oral fluency, instructional reading level, etc. The teacher can then use this data to drive instruction, set Accelerated Reading levels, and establish a baseline to monitor progress and growth throughout the year.
STAR Math is an assessment program that allows teachers to assess an entire class's math level quickly and accurately. The program is intended for students in grades 1-12. The program assesses fifty-three sets of math skills in four domains to determine a student's overall math level. The assessment typically takes student 15-20 minutes to complete twenty-seven questions varying by grade level. After the student completes the assessment the teacher can quickly access reports that provide valuable information including the student's grade equivalent, percentile rank, and normal curve equivalent. It will also provide a recommended Accelerated Math library for each student based on their assessment data. The teacher can use this data to differentiate instruction, assignment Accelerated Math lessons, and establish a baseline to monitor progress and growth throughout the year.
STAR Early Literacy
STAR Early Literacy is an assessment program that allows teachers to assess an entire class's early literacy and numeracy skills quickly and accurately. The program is intended for students in grade PK-3. The program assesses forty-one skills sets across ten early literacy and numeracy domains. The assessment is made up of twenty-nine early literacy and early numeracy questions and takes students 10-15 minutes to complete. After the students complete the assessment, the teacher can quickly access reports that provide valuable information including the students' literacy classification, scaled score, and an individual skill set score. The teacher can use this data to differentiate instruction and to establish a baseline to monitor progress and growth throughout the year.
English in a Flash
English in a Flash provides students with a quick and easy way to learn essential vocabulary necessary for academic success. The program is designed to meet the needs of English Language Learners, as well as other struggling students. The program only requires students to use it for fifteen minutes per day to see movement from learning English to learning in English.