Insights NEW: Research Shows Accelerated Reading Comprehension Gains with CommonLit

Middle school students and teacher discuss lesson around table.

Learn all about the benefits of implementing CommonLit’s evidence-based digital literacy program and benchmark assessments.

Today, we’re thrilled to announce that students with higher usage of CommonLit’s digital program demonstrated significant academic growth. This growth is clear at higher levels of utilization, with positive effects among elementary, middle, and high school students.

In this blog post, we’ll summarize the methods and results of the evaluation, and discuss the ways that your team can encourage utilization of CommonLit’s Digital Library to lead to strong student outcomes.

Study Methodology

During the 2021-2022 school year, CommonLit’s research team studied whether utilization of CommonLit’s Digital Library lessons predicts student growth in reading.

Here are the details of the study that was conducted:

  • Study Year: 2021-2022
  • Student Population: 26,828 students across grades 3-12, across 287 schools that purchased CommonLit School Essentials PRO package
  • Outcome Measure: Student growth in reading as measured by the CommonLit Assessment Series, which includes three valid  benchmark assessments that measure student reading ability and growth over the year. Note: These assessments are available as part of School Essentials PRO ($3,000 per school/year).
  • To measure student growth, the research team compared student scaled scores from the Pre-Assessment to the Post-Assessment.

Study Results

Researchers found that the results were statistically significant across all age groups.

Across elementary students, researchers found that reading growth was heavily accelerated for students who completed more than 6 digital lessons on CommonLit. In fact, reading 6 or more CommonLit lessons correlates with over 1.5 times the average expected growth!

Let’s break down the results in elementary grades:

Bar graph showing elementary student growth by digital lessons submitted in the CommonLit digital library.

The chart above shows student growth in terms of standard deviation units (Y-Axis) according to the number of CommonLit Digital Lessons submitted by students (X-Axis). As you would expect, the larger positive effects are associated with better learning outcomes for students. In the chart, the gray line at 0.40 standard deviation units represents the average growth in English Language Arts that we can expect students to have after one whole year of learning with a typical program.

The trend is clear — the more lessons students complete on CommonLit, the greater the gains. Starting at 6+ CommonLit Library Lessons completed, we start to see highly accelerated growth at roughly 1.5 times the average expected growth! This means that of the 4,137 elementary students who completed CommonLit’s Pre- and Post-Assessment, students who completed more lessons on CommonLit demonstrated higher-than-average reading growth than their peers who read fewer lessons.

The results in middle school were similarly impressive, showing greater growth with deeper utilization of CommonLit:

Bar graph showing middle school student growth by digital lessons submitted in the CommonLit digital library.

At the middle school level, the average growth in one year of learning with a typical program is equivalent to 0.23 standard deviations of growth. This is represented by the gray line.  

This means that across our middle school sample, students who completed at least 6-10 lessons from CommonLit’s Digital Library surpassed this 0.23 threshold, and grew 0.30 standard deviations from Pre-Assessment to Post-Assessment – more than what we typically see in 1 year of learning!

The relationship between lessons completed on CommonLit and reading growth was even more significant at the high school level:

Bar graph showing high school student growth by digital lessons submitted in the CommonLit digital library.

Among high school students, completing 11 or more CommonLit lessons revealed growth of  0.35 standard deviations! This is nearly 2x the impact of the typical high school intervention (0.19).

In short, across all age groups, the trend is clear; when used with greater frequency, CommonLit is an extremely effective and affordable solution to support student achievement and growth.

Get These Results in Your District

CommonLit’s team is committed to helping every school achieve these same staggering results.

When your school partners with CommonLit by purchasing our CommonLit School Essentials PRO package, there are lots of benefits!

In addition to unlocking our Assessment Series to track student progress, your team will also be assigned a dedicated account manager, who will work closely with you and your team all year to ensure success with our program. Your account manager will facilitate a seamless onboarding experience for your team and provide relevant training throughout the year so that your teachers can successfully leverage CommonLit’s full digital program.

To request a quote for our quote for the School Essentials PRO package, click here.

If you’d prefer to speak to a member of CommonLit’s team, email us at partnerships@commonlit.org. We’re eager to work with your team!

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