Evidence for i‑Ready's Efficacy in Reading and Mathematics

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i-Ready’s Impact on Students’ Reading and Mathematics Achievement

i-Ready is backed by the most practical and applicable efficacy research in education. i-Ready Instruction—the system of personalized lessons designed to fill students’ knowledge gaps and help every student reach grade-level proficiency—has been studied by numerous third-party and independent organizations, as well as Curriculum Associates’ own research team, in partnership with educators throughout the country. A summary of i-Ready efficacy studies, including independent and third-party research, is below. Read the research detail.

Key Findings

Research meeting the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Level 2 (Moderate) evidence requirements:

Many rigorous research studies meeting ESSA Level 2 (Moderate) evidence standards demonstrated positive and statistically significant gains for students receiving i-Ready Instruction above that of their control group counterparts in both reading and mathematics on internal and external outcome measures.

Studies demonstrating improvement on state tests:

Several independent studies (those conducted without guidance or funding by Curriculum Associates) found that i-Ready Instruction students outperformed their peers, making positive and statistically significant gains on state test measures such as the FSA, SBA, and Utah’s Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence.

Evidence of efficacy with special populations of students:

Two separate studies found that students with disabilities demonstrated positive and statistically significant higher growth on the iReady Diagnostic in both reading and mathematics, and one of these studies also found positive and statistically significant results for students who were English Learners and students who were economically disadvantaged.


Summary of Research Studies on i-Ready

The summary table features studies on the programs created by Curriculum Associates that include i-Ready Instruction.

i-Ready Instruction (“i-Ready”) can be used on its own or as part of Ready® Mathematics Blended Core Curriculum (“Ready Mathematics Blended Core,” which includes i‑Ready Instruction and the Ready Mathematics Core system of books and/or online tools), or Ready Blended Supplemental, which includes i-Ready Instruction with Ready Reading or Ready Mathematics books and/or online tools.

Summary of i-Ready Instruction Efficacy Research

*Specific student groups include students with disabilities, students who were ELs, and students who were economically disadvantaged. **Reported for students with disabilities only. †Study includes characteristics for meeting ESSA Level 2 (Moderate) evidence. However, because the authors did not specify which ESSA evidence level the study meets in the report, nor has it been reviewed by an independent clearinghouse such as the What Works Clearinghouse, educators should review the full research report in order to determine if it meets their own interpretations for ESSA evidence.


i-Ready Research Study Summaries

1. i-Ready Efficacy Research on i-Ready Instruction Program Impact

  • Author(s): Curriculum Associates, 2019a
  • Evaluation School Year: 2017–2018
  • Product: i-Ready
  • Grade(s): K–8
  • ESSA Level: 3 (Promising)

Curriculum Associates analyzed data from more than one million students who took the i-Ready Diagnostic in the 2017–2018 school year. In both reading and mathematics, students who used i-Ready Instruction for an average of 45 minutes or more per subject per week for at least 18 weeks experienced greater learning gains compared to students who did not, when controlling for prior achievement. This study also examined differences among special populations. Students who were ELs, students with disabilities, and students who were economically disadvantaged who used i-Ready Instruction all saw greater growth than students from the same subgroups who did not have access to the program. The significance of the findings and the rigorous study design provide support for i-Ready as a program that meets the criteria for ESSA Level 3.

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2. An Impact Evaluation of i-Ready Diagnostic and Instruction Implementation for Reading at Grades K–2

  • Author(s): Dvorak et al., 2019a
  • Evaluation School Year: 2016–2017
  • Product: i-Ready
  • Grade(s): K–2
  • ESSA Level: 2 (Moderate)

Utilizing a quasi-experimental study designed to meet ESSA Level 2 criteria, the Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO), a third-party research firm, examined the effect of i-Ready Instruction for Reading for early elementary students in Grades K–2 during the 2016–2017 school year. Analyses using propensity score matching and hierarchical linear modeling found that schoolwide implementation of i-Ready Instruction for Reading in Grades K–2 resulted in increased student achievement compared to schools using only the i-Ready Diagnostic.

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3. An Impact Evaluation of Mathematics and Reading i-Ready Instruction for Elementary Grades

  • Author(s): Dvorak et al., 2019b
  • Evaluation School Year: 2017–2018
  • Product: i-Ready
  • Grade(s): K–5
  • ESSA Level: 2 (Moderate)

HumRRO, a third-party research firm, conducted a quasi-experimental study designed to meet ESSA Level 2 criteria examining the impact of i-Ready Instruction for Reading and Mathematics among elementary students in Grades K–5 during the 2017–2018 school year. Leveraging propensity score matching at the school and student level, HumRRO identified a final sample of 121 schools and more than 37,000 students. Final impact analyses using hierarchical linear modeling showed that students in schools implementing i-Ready Instruction with fidelity experienced statistically significantly higher student-level achievement in mathematics for all grades as well as in reading at Grades K–2. Implementing i-Ready Instruction with fidelity was defined as using i-Ready Instruction for an average of 30 minutes per subject per week for at least 18 weeks.

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4. An Impact Evaluation of Reading i-Ready Instruction for Middle School Grades

  • Author(s): Dvorak et al., 2019c
  • Evaluation School Year: 2017–2018
  • Product: i-Ready
  • Grade(s): 6–8
  • ESSA Level: 2 (Moderate)

HumRRO, a third-party research firm, examined the impact of i-Ready Instruction for Reading among middle school students in Grades 6–8 during the 2017–2018 school year. Using a quasi-experimental design with propensity score matching designed to meet ESSA Level 2 criteria, HumRRO identified a final sample of 24 schools and nearly 19,000 students. Using hierarchical linear modeling, HumRRO found that sixth grade students using i-Ready Instruction for Reading experienced statistically significantly higher spring scores than students not using i-Ready Instruction. Students using i-Ready Instruction in Grades 7 and 8 experienced higher spring scores than students not using i-Ready Instruction, but differences were not statistically significant.

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5. i-Ready in 7th Grade Math Classes: A Mixed Methods Case Study

  • Author(s): Marple et al., 2019
  • Evaluation School Year: 2017–2018
  • Product: i-Ready
  • Grade(s): 7
  • ESSA Level: 2 (Moderate)†

Conducted by WestEd in partnership with the Silicon Valley Education Foundation and supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this independently funded quasi-experimental study that meets ESSA Level 2 criteria found that seventh grade students who spent a minimum of 45 minutes or more per week on i-Ready Instruction for Mathematics during the 2017–2018 school year demonstrated a significant improvement in their scores on the SBA over students who did not. Specifically, utilizing data from more than 1,700 students, WestEd found that students using i-Ready Instruction for more than 45 minutes tended to score 24 points higher than similar students who used i-Ready Instruction for less than 45 minutes. Students with 45 minutes or more in i-Ready Instruction also experienced greater growth toward the next achievement level on the SBA.

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6. STEM Action Center Program Evaluation Reports

  • Author(s): Braziel & Martin, 2015; Snyder et al., 2016; Utah Education Policy Center, 2017; STEM Action Center, 2018
  • Evaluation School Years: 2014–2015; 2015–2016; 2016–2017; 2017–2018
  • Product: i-Ready
  • Grade(s): K–8
  • ESSA Levels: 2 (Moderate)† and 3 (Promising)

The Utah STEM Action Center conducted a multiyear evaluation of multiple providers of online instructional technology for mathematics for the K–12 Mathematics Personalized Learning Software Grant Pilot Program, including i-Ready Instruction. For school years 2014–2015 through 2017–2018, the Utah STEM Action Center published annual reports regarding the implementation and effectiveness of these technologies. (Note that the study design varied by evaluation school year.) Using multiple methodologies such as linear and logistic regression, these reports showed that i-Ready Instruction was consistently one of the top mathematics solutions among the vendors evaluated. The most recent evaluation from 2017–2018 examined whether the use of online mathematics instructional technology impacted performance on Utah’s SAGE test. Use of i-Ready Instruction was associated with increased likelihood of proficiency on the SAGE test, and students who used i-Ready Instruction with greater frequency demonstrated higher student growth percentiles than students who used i-Ready with lower frequency.

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7. Utah Early Intervention Reading Software Program Study

  • Author(s): Evaluation and Training Institute, 2019
  • Evaluation School Year: 2018–2019
  • Product: i-Ready
  • Grade(s): K–3
  • ESSA Level: 2 (Moderate)†

On behalf of the Utah State Board of Education, the Evaluation and Training Institute conducted an evaluation on Utah’s Early Intervention Software Program (EISP) for Reading during the 2018–2019 school year that meets ESSA Level 2 criteria. The EISP was implemented in 88 Local Education Agencies (LEAs) that had the option of selecting one of four adaptive computer-based literacy software programs, including i-Ready Instruction for Reading, for use with all students in Grades K–1 and struggling readers in Grades 2–3. The evaluators found that i-Ready had a positive and statistically significant impact on the literacy achievement (as measured by the Acadience Reading composite scores) for students in kindergarten, first grade, and third grade. Of the four vendors, i-Ready Instruction had some of the largest effect sizes (effect size = .33 for Grade K, effect size = .32 for Grade 1, and effect size = .25 for Grade 3). At the time of writing, the EISP report was still being reviewed by the Utah State Board of Education.

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8. What Is the Impact on Growth in Language Arts and Mathematics Skills for Special Needs Students when the i-Ready Program Is Implemented?

  • Author(s): Forsman, 2018
  • Evaluation School Year: 2016–2017
  • Product: i-Ready
  • Grade(s): 6–8
  • ESSA Level: 3 (Promising)

This dissertation examined the use of i-Ready Instruction as an effective intervention strategy for students with disabilities in reading and mathematics during the 2016–2017 school year. Sixty-six students were identified as students with disabilities in the following categories: Emotionally Disabled, Intellectual Disability, Multiple Disabilities, Language/Speech Impaired, Specific Learning Disabled in one or all subjects, Autism, and Other Health Impaired. Using multiple independent sample t-tests and the i-Ready Diagnostic as the outcome measure, these analyses found that students in inclusion classrooms (in which students with and without disabilities learn together) scored statistically significantly higher in the spring than the fall in reading and mathematics. Resource students (students with disabilities who received specialized instruction outside of the general education classroom) also experienced statistically significantly greater scores in the spring compared to the fall in reading. This study meets ESSA Level 3 criteria.

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9. A Causal Comparative Analysis of a Computer Adaptive Mathematics Program Using Multilevel Propensity Score Matching

  • Author(s): Seabolt, 2018
  • Evaluation School Year: 2016–2017
  • Product: i-Ready
  • Grade(s): 5
  • ESSA Level: 2 (Moderate)†

This dissertation examined the effectiveness of i-Ready Instruction for Mathematics for fifth grade students in a school district in central Florida during the 2016–2017 school year. Leveraging multilevel propensity score matching, students using i-Ready Instruction with fidelity (a minimum of 45 minutes per week for at least 25 weeks) were matched to students who did not use i-Ready with fidelity. Impact analyses conducted with multilevel models demonstrated that students using i-Ready Instruction with fidelity experienced greater mathematics score gains on the FSA compared to those who did not use i-Ready with fidelity. This study meets ESSA Level 2 criteria.

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10. An Impact Evaluation of the Blended Core Mathematics Program for Elementary Grades

  • Author(s): Swain et al., 2019; Curriculum Associates, 2019b
  • Evaluation School Year: 2017–2018
  • Product: Ready Mathematics Blended Core (includes i-Ready)
  • Grade(s): K–5
  • ESSA Level: 2 (Moderate)

HumRRO, a third-party research firm, conducted a study using data from the 2017–2018 school year of more than 21,000 students to understand the impact of the Ready Mathematics Blended Core Curriculum (i-Ready Diagnostic, i-Ready Instruction, and Ready Mathematics used as core instruction) on mathematics achievement for students in Grades K–5. The quasi-experimental study, leveraging hierarchical linear modeling and propensity score matching, meets ESSA Level 2 criteria. HumRRO’s findings support that participation in Ready Mathematics Blended Core Curriculum resulted in higher student-level achievement in mathematics, as measured by the i-Ready Diagnostic, compared to a control group of students using only the i-Ready Diagnostic. For students with comparable starting points, the mean mathematics achievement for the Ready Mathematics Blended Core Curriculum group was statistically significantly higher in all Grades K–5. Moreover, the effect sizes provided additional support that students in Ready Mathematics Blended Core Curriculum schools benefited from their school’s adoption and implementation of the Ready Mathematics Blended Core Curriculum.

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11. An Impact Evaluation of Supplemental Blended Implementation for Mathematics at Grades 6–8

  • Author(s): Dvorak et al., 2019d
  • Evaluation School Year: 2016–2017
  • Product: Ready Mathematics Blended Core (includes i-Ready)
  • Grade(s): 6–8
  • ESSA Level: 2 (Moderate)

HumRRO, a third-party research firm, conducted a quasi-experimental study designed to meet ESSA Level 2 criteria to examine whether the use of the Supplemental Blended Program in Mathematics (i-Ready Diagnostic, i-Ready Instruction, and Ready Mathematics used as a supplement to the core instruction) resulted in higher student achievement than use of only the i-Ready Diagnostic. Utilizing propensity score matching and hierarchical linear modeling, HumRRO examined data from the 2016–2017 school year and found that school-level implementation of the Supplemental Blended Program in Mathematics resulted in increased student achievement compared to schools using only the i-Ready Diagnostic.

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12. An Impact Evaluation of Supplemental Blended Implementation for Reading at Grades K–2

  • Author(s): Dvorak et al., 2019e
  • Evaluation School Year: 2016–2017
  • Product: Ready Blended Supplemental (includes i-Ready)
  • Grade(s): K–2
  • ESSA Level: 2 (Moderate)

HumRRO, a third-party research firm, conducted a quasi-experimental study designed to meet ESSA Level 2 criteria to examine the Supplemental Blended Program in Reading (i-Ready Diagnostic, i-Ready Instruction, and Ready Reading used as a supplement to the core instruction) for early elementary students in Grades K–2 during the 2016–2017 school year. Analyses using propensity score matching and hierarchical linear modeling found that school-level implementation of the Supplemental Blended Program in Reading for Grades K–2 resulted in increased student achievement compared to schools using only the i-Ready Diagnostic.

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