The significance of CASE’s endorsement

By Eric Stickney, Director of Educational Research

Several years ago, I became responsible for coordinating almost all the holiday shopping in my family. To this day, I’m not sure how or why that happened, but I do my best. Hunting online and in stores for the perfect gift can be stressful, but it’s made easier with tools such as Amazon and CNET to compare prices and most importantly, read user reviews. When was the last time you bought anything without checking out the product ratings and reviews?

There are no one-stop user-review sites for education technology (yet), but there are a number of independent organizations that rigorously evaluate K12 tools. And when programs have been around for a while and have attracted as many enthusiastic educators as Renaissance Accelerated Reader 360®, Renaissance Accelerated Math®, and Renaissance MathFacts in a Flash®, it’s not surprising that they get acknowledged. These programs have received a number of positive reviews, accolades, and awards over the years for their research evidence (e.g., National Dropout Prevention Center/Network), popularity with teachers (e.g., THE Journal Readers’ Choice Awards), and suitability for response to intervention (e.g., National Center on Intensive Intervention).

However, one review stands a little taller than the rest. The Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE) recently endorsed Accelerated Reader 360, Accelerated Math, and MathFacts in a Flash. Their endorsement came after a long and intensive review of each program’s foundational/theoretical research base, evidence of impact on learning, accommodations, and acceptability by teachers in the field, among other components. And all through the lens of serving students with disabilities or who are at risk for learning difficulties. During the review process, CASE reviewers provided great suggestions that are already shaping our research agenda. For instance, there is more we can do to better understand closing achievement gaps and rates of growth for students with disabilities and those at-risk by leveraging our massive databases.

“The Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE) recently endorsed Accelerated Reader 360, Accelerated Math, and MathFacts in a Flash.”

Given Renaissance’s mission to “accelerate learning for all children and adults of all ability levels and ethnic and social backgrounds, worldwide,” this is a particularly meaningful endorsement. When we say all, we mean all. We know that no two students are the same and cannot assume a program that works for one student will work for others, particularly those with disabilities or who are struggling to keep up with their peers.

What we need are more personalized approaches that respond to the individual. And what Accelerated Reader 360, Accelerated Math, and MathFacts in a Flash have in common—and one big reason they meet CASE’s many standards for endorsement—is that they are personalized practice programs that meet students where they are (not where we want them to be), help teachers set personalized goals, and provide continuous feedback on progress so that all students can experience success and teachers can adjust their instruction every day.

As Harvard University’s Todd Rose has argued in his powerful book The End of Average, we do all of our students a great disservice if we impose a system of education designed to meet the needs of an “average student,” which, by definition, does not exist. Rose summarizes data on intelligence, physical characteristics, and other factors to arrive at one conclusion: No one is average. Two students with the exact same test score (even if it’s “average” per national norms), or who have been given the same learning disability designation, can have wildly different personalities, strengths, and interests.

All of our research and development efforts are about reaching all students and teachers in a world where no two are the same and no one is average. Having CASE’s endorsement of Accelerated Reader 360, Accelerated Math, and MathFacts in a Flash and their input on our R&D agenda is an important milestone as we strive to accelerate learning for all.

“All of our research and development efforts are about reaching all students and teachers in a world where no two are the same and no one is average.”

Do you use Accelerated Reader 360, Accelerated Math, or MathFacts in a Flash in your classroom? Let us know in the comments! For more information on CASE’s endorsement, click the button below:

Eric Stickney, Director of Educational Research
Eric Stickney, Director of Educational Research
Eric Stickney works with external independent researchers who conduct evaluations of Renaissance programs. He specializes in analyzing reading and mathematics data collected from millions of students in North America and the UK.


  1. Kelly Barr says:

    I use AM Live and AM 2.0 in my classroom. I have seen amazing results with all my students and have been how their own attitude towards math has changed. It has been an excellent resource in my classroom and I don’t know what I would do without it.

  2. Dvawn Maza says:

    I use AR in my classroom and I have seen success story after success story.

  3. Rita Platt says:

    This is wonderful! I love it when there is proof that something I use and believe in works.

  4. Donna Nichols says:

    These programs (Renaissance and Math Facts) are based on individual achievement and therefore, best supports student growth.

  5. Carly says:

    I’ve been teaching for over ten years and this year I was given the most academically challenging class I’ve ever had. In this class of 20 students there are 5 identified E.C. In addition, there are another 5 students more than a year below grade level, some closer to two years below. I teach 3rd grade, so when I have half of my class unable to tell me 7 + ? = 10 or are unsure if 9 is more than 4, I know I’m in trouble. On the other spectrum, I have two students high students one and two years above grade level in math. This dynamic has challenged me to keep everyone engaged – not lost or board. AM has been essential in helping me to establish groups of students so I can meet every child’s individual needs and help them all to grow.

  6. Virginia Travis says:

    Yes I use Accelerated Math and Accelerated Reader 360. They are wonderful tools to challenge my students as well as individualize and differentiate with each child.

  7. Renee Graham says:

    My partner uses MFF and STAR and I use Accelerated Reader and STAR. She teaches both our homerooms math and science and I teach both our homerooms Language Arts and Social Studies.

  8. Meredith Sanders says:

    I love Math Facts in a Flash for all my students. I set goals for all my students and differentiate the goals for my special education students. Everyone works toward a goal!

  9. P R says:

    At my school, we use Accelerated Math as a supplemental program that supports our curriculum. Students are assigned practices, exercises, diagnostic tests, and tests at their own level and pace.
    We also use Math Facts in a Flash to encourage retention of basic Math facts.

  10. Sarah Swanzy says:

    I use Accelerated Reader in my classroom to monitor students’ independent reading comprehension. Students set goals each month and we celebrate reading and their success each month when they reach their goal.

    • Eric Stickney, Director of Educational Research Eric Stickney, Director of Educational Research says:

      I’m happy to hear that your students set monthly goals! How do you celebrate reading and their success?

  11. David Keech says:

    Use of AM and Math Facts in a Flash makes perfect sense as a match for what best works with RTI. The endorsement by CASE is not a surprise at all. Data driven analysis clearly shows AM and Star Math make a huge difference.

  12. Katherine Williams says:

    The thing that I like about AR is that is for each and every learner. They can read and test at their own levels, without the constraints of a classroom curriculum or leave them struggling to stay with us.

  13. Andrea Wendt says:

    So glad! This is a great product that shows results!

  14. Lloud says:

    The reports are so great to assist when parents ask ‘what can I do to help my child’. Now I can present them with very specific skills they can work on at home.

  15. Angela says:

    I use Accelerated Math and Math Facts in a Flash and my student absolutely love it. I have seen amazing growth and improvement with the programs.

  16. Melissa Robles says:

    Thank you for sharing with us. It’s great to know that this product is making a difference.

  17. Evan M Taylor says:

    I love that many educators and ed tech programs are moving towards problematizing the idea of the average learner. In the beginning of the school year I read “The End of Average” by Todd Rose and now am an even stronger advocate for personalized learning and using technology to aid in the process.

    • Eric Stickney, Director of Educational Research Eric Stickney, Director of Educational Research says:

      Very nice, Evan. Did you enjoy “The End of Average” by Todd Rose?

  18. STACEY Painter says:

    The more I push AR with my students the more successful and confident they are when reading.

  19. Mary Meyer says:

    We are new to AR 360 this fall. So far, we love the way we can assign a specific article to students who need a certain reading skill. We meet as a faculty every Monday for 30 minutes to share our new knowledge of the program and our success stories.

  20. Belinda says:

    I use AR and set weekly goals to challenge my students to meet expectations and go beyond.

  21. Jennifer Slade says:

    Using AR daily in class has been very beneficial to increasing student achievement and interest in reading. Reward parties and field trips are also used to promote students meeting their goals. I don’t think our school would be where we are with reading scores if it were not for our use of AR!

  22. Angelica Cruz says:

    Really enjoyed

  23. AR is definitely popular at my school network!

  24. Shannon Drey says:

    I use AR, AM, and Math Facts in a Flash. These are common tools that are used in our building that help reinforce the curriculum and the kids love it!

  25. David Surdovel says:

    Wow, this is great news. We recently had a STAR Math training and the presented also gave a brief overview of Accelerated Math. The math specialists were very interested in finding out more!

  26. Kelsie says:

    This is great. Love the program! Glad it got such a high endorsement!

  27. Lee says:

    I love that everything needed is so accessible. I can correlate my lessons easily.

  28. Sheila Shaffer says:

    My school is using AR. When used as intended, the teachers are seeing remarkable improvement in students’ reading levels. It was interesting to see the growth in graphs at the end of last year; you could tell immediately who was using AR and who wasn’t.

  29. Lisa Capon says:

    Great to hear! The program really helps students achieve success!

  30. Shonte Grady says:

    We actually utilized Math Facts in a Flash for a few years at my school. Our math teacher here absolutely loved it. It helped us meet our goal of 100% of students earning their math facts ribbons based on their grade level. We were quite disappointed when our school did not purchase the subscription for the year to follow. We currently allow the children to check out flash masters for math fact support.

  31. Laurie McNally says:

    I love using AM for differentiation. For example, when we are studying decimal addition in 5th grade my above level students will work the objective that is a word problem, my on level students will work a standard addition problem, and my students that need more support will work an addition problem that uses a table to line the digits up by place value.

  32. Roxanne says:

    These progams are great for small group learning and differentiation. I feel confident students are not working on anything that is too difficult.