New research to be conducted at the University of Central Florida will measure the effectiveness one tool has on elementary students’ reading progression.

Facilitated through UCF’s Morgridge International Reading Center, the MIRC-Istation project will examine the effects of the Istation Reading program on elementary school students’ reading comprehension, text fluency, vocabulary and phonics performance.

Istation Reading is a multimedia program piloted in Dallas that tracks students’ academic progress and provides curriculum to help them succeed. The computer-delivered technology includes assessments, interactive intervention curriculum, immediate online reports and a library of web-based training and teaching resources.

The study will focus on students in Florida’s public and state-assessed charter schools who are enrolled in grades pre-K through 5 during the 2014-15 school year. Istation will recruit Florida school districts and schools to participate in the study, and data collected will be sent to UCF for analysis. Participation in the research study is voluntary and free for up to 500,000 students.

Data evaluation will be led by College of Education and Human Performance Dean Sandra L. Robinson, who on Aug. 8 will transition into the new role of executive director of the Morgridge International Reading Center and the Toni Jennings Exceptional Education Institute. Grant Hayes, associate dean for academic affairs and a professor of counselor education, will serve as interim dean for the college.

Robinson will lead a team of four education faculty in reviewing the data and evaluating the efficacy of the tool.

“The Morgridge International Reading Center opened in 2011 with the goal of improving literacy across the globe, and this new project is a giant leap toward achieving that,” said Robinson. “This innovative project will collect important information that can contribute to the worldwide conversation about reading and how the skills associated with it can most effectively be taught.”

According to the World Literacy Foundation, illiteracy costs the global economy more than $1 trillion every year. Nearly 800 million children and adults across the world lack basic reading and writing skills.

In 2009, philanthropists John and Carrie Morgridge contributed $2.5 million to the construction of UCF’s Morgridge International Reading Center with the goal of creating a space dedicated to the art, craft and science of teaching reading. The building is a hub for research, collaboration and community involvement to advance international literacy.

During her 17-year tenure as dean, Robinson oversaw the creation of the Morgridge Center, as well as the establishment of the UCF Teaching Academy and the remodeling of the Education Complex. Under her leadership, the Counselor Education Program earned a No. 7 spot on U.S. News and World Report’s Best Graduate Schools 2015 list, the highest ranking in UCF history. UCF’s Special Education program also earned a top 20 ranking.

Hayes has held several leadership positions in the College of Education and Human Performance during the past 10 years. A former public school teacher and counselor, Hayes’ research focuses on counselor education, youth counseling and character development in schools and youth settings.

To learn more about the MIRC-Istation Research Project, visit