After one year, the researchers found, kindergartners and 1st graders in Success for All were scoring two months ahead of their peers in the comparison group on tests measuring their ability to decode words. The two groups were still evenly matched, though, on other reading-skill measures.
At the end of two years, the program students’ edge had grown and spread. In word decoding, the Success for All pupils outpaced their peers by a margin equivalent to 4.7 additional months of schooling. They scored 1.3 months ahead of the control students on tests measuring their ability to understand written passages and 1.7 months ahead when it came to identifying words. Researchers are now analyzing results from the study’s third and final year.
Education Week notes the study followed rigorous guidelines for scientific research.
Paid for with nearly $7 million in federal and private funds, the study heralds what federal education officials and other experts hope will be a new generation of large-scale experiments that use randomized research designs to give educators and policymakers clearer answers on what works in schools.
However, SFA researchers were on the team that developed the study.