I do not pretend to know a lot about anything, especially matters of the mind, but education glamorizes snake oil salesmen. I spent part of today looking through the research on Accelerated Reader, and hereby awards its promotion department with my 1st Annual Readamatic Pacer Award.
The "research" pushed by the company demonstrating the value of the AR program fails to tease out the effects of implementing sustained reading practice in a classroom (already known to increase reading) from the high tech monitoring that comes with the program.
It gets worse--there is no consistent evidence that the monitoring and reward part of Accelerated Reader add any benefit beyond that gained through the sustained reading.
Here's some evidence-based reasoning for you--if you spend less money on nonsense, you have more money available to buy books the kids might want to read. Here's another: the less time spent "monitoring" a child's progress (done via multiple computerized assessments), the more time a child has to get back to Charlotte's Web.
Don't even get me started on Marzano's research....
Image by via Retro Thing--well worth a visit!