Reading Program Description
The SuccessMaker® program is a set of computer-based courses used to
supplement regular classroom reading instruction in grades K–8. Using
adaptive lessons tailored to a student’s reading level, SuccessMaker®
aims to improve understanding in areas such as phonological awareness,
phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and concepts of print.
"Foundations" courses aim to help students develop and maintain reading
skills. "Exploreware" courses aim to provide opportunities for exploration,
open-ended instruction, and development of analytical skills. The computer
analyzes students’ skills development and assigns specific segments of the
program, introducing new skills as they become appropriate. As the student
progresses through the program, performance is measured by the probability
of the student answering the next exercise correctly, which determines the
next steps of the lesson.2
Three studies of SuccessMaker® meet What Works Clearinghouse
(WWC) evidence standards3 with reservations. The three studies
included 450 students, ranging in age from nine to 16 years, who
attended elementary, middle, and middle-high schools in Alabama,
Illinois, and Virginia.4
Based on these three studies, the WWC considers the extent of evidence for
SuccessMaker® to be small for alphabetics, reading fluency, and general
literacy achievement, and medium to large for comprehension.5
SuccessMaker® was found to have no discernible effects on alphabetics
and reading fluency, and potentially positive effects on comprehension and
general literacy achievement.
1 The descriptive information for this program was obtained from a publicly
available source: the developer’s website (http://www.pearsoned.com,
downloaded December 2008). The WWC requests developers to review
the program description sections for accuracy from their perspective.
Further verification of the accuracy of the descriptive information for this
program is beyond the scope of this review.
2 The most current version of the program is called SuccessMaker®.
Earlier versions were called SuccessMaker® Enterprise and Computer
Curriculum Corporation (CCC) SuccessMaker®. We were unable to
obtain documentation on the similarities and differences between these
versions from the developer.
3 The studies included in this report were reviewed using WWC Evidence
Standards, Version 1.0 (see the WWC Standards).
4 The evidence presented in this report is based on available research.
Findings and conclusions may change as new research becomes available.
5 A rating of "medium to large" requires at least two studies and two
schools across studies in one domain and a total sample size across
studies of at least 350 students or 14 classrooms. Otherwise, the rating is "small."
6 These numbers show the average and range of student-level improvement
indices for all findings across the studies.
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