Thursday, September 23, 2010

Reading Program: The SuccessMaker®

Reading Intervention Overview

Intervention: SuccessMaker®

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 (,
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.

Teachers, Parents, and Administrators:

Please Give your Input on The SuccessMaker®



Produces user-friendly practice guides for educators that address
instructional challenges with research-based recommendations for
schools and classrooms; Assesses the rigor of research evidence
on the effectiveness of interventions (programs, products, practices,
and policies), giving educators the tools to make informed decisions;

Develops and implements standards for reviewing and synthesizing
education research; and

Provides a public and easily accessible
to assist schools, school districts, and program
developers with designing and carrying out
rigorous evaluations.

All reports are reprinted from the
US Department of Education website
WWC for informational purposes.
Complete Reports Can Be Found


  1. After using Successmaker for a school year and making no progress, the next year's teacher wanted to use it again and the fix is to "express that it is important" thereby mandating to my child to improve. My child has problems with Computer based tests. Is there any evidence that computer based is better than classroom? Is there any help for those challenged with Computer tests (I don't mean can't use computers, there is something that just doesn't work for my child when doing computer tests.)

  2. I just happened upon this blog while doing an internet search for SuccessMaker reviews.

    Do you know what your child's learning style(s) is/are? Programs like SuccessMaker only target a couple learning styles. For example, a student works through the program alone for the most part, getting help from a teacher when necessary; but, what if that student is a stronger interpersonal learner (they learn better when working and interacting with others)? There is a chance they may run into difficulties.

    Is your child also challenged by paper tests? Again, it may just be learning style differences. A student may not perform so well on tests, but maybe they are masters when they give a speech, or engage in a debate, or make a piece of art (whether a painting, a play, or a song).

    Your child may have to keep at these computer-based education tools in addition to the other traditional methods of assessing learning. These all only target specific learning styles while leaving others out unfortunately. You and your child may have to figure out a strategy for your child to learn the content in the way they learn best, and then transfer it to the ways that the school is asking your child to perform.


Thank you!