Reading scores rise with K8 digital program

Pearson today released a new independent research report on SuccessMaker Reading, a digitally adaptive program for grades K-8 that personalizes reading and math instruction for students. Conducted by Gatti Evaluation, Inc., the study suggests that elementary and middle school students learning with SuccessMaker outperformed their peers relying on print materials on a nationally recognized assessment of reading skills.

The study looked at the achievement of students in third, fifth and seventh grade. Findings revealed that these SuccessMaker students statistically significantly outperformed students learning with print materials on the norm-referenced GRADE (Group Reading Assessment and Diagnostic Evaluation) for Total Reading score. Seventh-grade SuccessMaker students realized greater gains in reading achievement than 60 percent of their peers using a print program. Third-grade SuccessMaker students achieved greater gains than nearly 60 percent of their peers in reading achievement; fifth-grade SuccessMaker students achieved greater gains than 53 percent of their peers using a similar program.
Further findings show that SuccessMaker users across multiple high-risk groups, including Hispanic students and students of low socioeconomic status, outperformed those in the comparison group.

Guido Gatti, principal investigator at Gatti Evaluation, commented on the results of the study: “Our research tells us that students learning with SuccessMaker Reading, including at-risk students, were more successful in vocabulary, comprehension and fluency. Furthermore, the study indicates that SuccessMaker users experience greater gains in achievement with increased usage.”

In addition to accelerated student achievement, teachers’ responses to the program were “overwhelmingly positive,” according to the Gatti Evaluation research report. Specifically, teachers said the program’s adaptive nature and alignment to state and local standards provided well-differentiated learning activities for high- and low-achieving students. They also firmly believed that their students liked using SuccessMaker Reading and that the program made the learning process more fun for students.

Cherie Steadman, peer reading coordinator at Kruse Elementary in Pasadena, Texas, was among the educators participating in the study and saw both accelerated achievement and increased student engagement in learning. “Even our struggling learners showed significant growth from beginning to end. The students enjoy the games and aren’t even aware they are gaining skills as they play. Teachers truly appreciate the feedback the reports provide as they allow for immediate input to support Response to Intervention in their classrooms.”

Her colleague, Phillis Christeson, peer facilitator at the district’s Stuchbery Elementary, also saw high levels of student engagement when learning with SuccessMaker Reading. “Our students wanted to spend time learning with SuccessMaker Reading because they were making progress and having fun at the same time. This resulted in an improvement in their literacy skills as well as contributed to the development of a love for learning that will serve them well across the curriculum throughout their education, careers and in life.”

The study included 80 diverse third-, fifth- and seventh-grade classrooms from eight urban and suburban school districts in seven states during the 2010-11 school year. It involved a large study sample of 1,711 students.

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