Positive results for Success for All in national evaluations

Success for All (SFA) – a primary literacy approach – was selected to receive a five-year scale-up grant under the US Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation (i3) competition. This report, the second from MDRC’s independent evaluation, discusses the programme’s implementation and impacts in 2012-2013.

The evaluation uses a cluster random assignment design involving 37 schools for children age 5-12 and located in five school districts; 19 schools were randomly selected to receive the SFA programme, while the remaining 18 control group schools did not receive the intervention. Findings showed that first grade (Year 2) pupils who had participated in the SFA programme since kindergarten (Year 1) significantly outperformed children in the control group on two measures of phonics and decoding skills. Outcomes were similar for different categories of children, including African-American, Hispanic, and White children.

In addition, a new article reports the third-year findings of a longitudinal evaluation of SFA in England. The results reveal a statistically significant positive school-level effect for SFA schools compared with control schools on standardised reading measures of word-level and decoding skills. There were also directionally positive but non-significant school-level effects on measures of comprehension and fluency. A total of 18 SFA schools and 18 control schools across England, matched on prior achievement and demographics, were included in the quasi-experimental study.

Sources: The Success for All Model of School Reform: Interim Findings from the Investing in Innovation (i3) Scale-Up (2014), MDRC. Success for All in England: Results From the Third Year of a National Evaluation (2014), SAGE Open 2014 (4).

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