SuccessMaker is an adaptive, interactive multimedia course that delivers supplemental reading instruction on students' instructional level. Students are placed in prescribed instruction determined by the results of the SuccessMaker placement test. The lessons are adaptive as movement through a course is determined by the student's responses to and interaction with the course learning objective. The program will correctly adapt to the students based on their task performance and demonstration of understanding concepts and content.

  • Target Populations K-12*

    • Special and General Education
    • Gifted
    • At-Risk
    • ELL
  • *Students in demographic grades 9-12 can be enrolled in the course and SuccessMaker will adapt instruction based on each student's abilities. If student levels drop into the grades 3-5 range, the instructional videos will have an appearance that is age appropriate for secondary students.
  • Instruction Strands

    • Concept of Print (K-1)
      • identify upper and lowercase letter
      • identify alphabet letter in and out of sequence
      • identify pictures
    • Reading Comprehension (K-8) (Listening Comprehension)
      • recognize organizational patterns of text:
        • compare and contrast
        • cause and effect relationships (stated or implied)
        • problem/solution
      • identify main idea (explicit/implicit)
      • identify correct sequence of events
      • distinguish fact and opinion
      • draw valid conclusions
      • follow multi-step instructions
      • use table of content to locate information
      • use text features to aid in understanding and chunking of information
      • retell a story to include important events
      • summarize text
      • understand metaphorical and symbolic words in context
      • use knowledge of word order (syntax) to recognize word and meaning
      • use question/answer relationships to improve comprehension of text
        • "right there" questions vs. "think and search" questions
    • Fluency (K-5)
      • letter/word/phrase recognition and automaticity
      • pacing
      • prosody
      • fluency goals that include words per minute for beginning, middle, and end of year for grades 2-5
      • K-1 fluency goals for errors per 20 words that translates to accuracy percentages
      • *the fluency strand can be included or disabled based on the availability of a required microphone.
    • Grammar (2-8)
      • parts of speech
      • sentence structure
      • subject and verb agreement
      • punctuation
    • Phonics (K-5)
      • identify letter/sound associations for alphabet (26 letters/44 sounds)
      • identify meaning of words using known endings
      • identify 2 words that make up a compound word; contraction
      • read: phonograms, regular plurals
      • read words with: inflectional endings, initial consonant digraphs, long/short vowel patterns, prefixes/suffixes, silent consonant pairs
      • recognize sound and spelling of "r controlled" words
      • use affix and base to identify meaning
      • read multi-syllabic words
    • Phonological Awareness (K-1)
      • blend phonemes in whole words
      • blend syllables to create 2 syllable words
      • count # of syllables in word given orally; divide syllables into sounds
      • distinguish short/long vowel sounds
      • distinguish words with same final consonant
      • identify pictures with same final sound
      • identify pictures with same initial sound
      • identify rhymes using picture cues as prompts
    • Spelling (2-8)
      • related words
      • easily confused words
      • consonant patterns
      • similar sounding final syllables
      • vowel diphthongs
      • vowel patterns
      • irregular plurals
    • Vocabulary (2-8)
      • meanings of grade-level content words
      • sort pictures into categorize
      • categorize words by specificity and hierarchy
      • classify words into sets and groups
      • determine meanings of antonyms, homographs
      • determine meaning of compound words by identifying base
      • recognize high frequency words
      • grammar: identify comparative and superlative adverbs
  • Lesson Format

    • Guided Practice: The core of the Reading program where students receive instruction based on the students' instructional reading level and the appropriate strand level.
      *Guided Practice set is comprised of four lessons in the appropriate Lexile levels for grade placement. Some Text Readers are Lexiled at a higher level to ensure students are exposed to a wider range of vocabulary and build listening comprehension.
      • Instruction: Focused Instruction introduces the lesson objective.
      • Application: Interactive Text Readers provide passages and assessments.
      • Practice: Interactive Practice and Print Partners provide printable practice activities.
    • Remediation: Follows each Guided Practice lesson when the student is assessed at less than 65% accuracy on responses to phonics, comprehension, or vocabulary items. Remediation activities that are not passed are reintroduced in Delayed Presentation.
    • Fluency Assessment: Allows students to practice their fluency by recording and assessing their performance. Students can practice letters, words, phrases, or familiar texts. Recorded fluency files are stored for teachers to access. Teachers are encouraged to download the appropriate script so they can follow along while listening to an audio fluency file.
      • Word Fluency: The ability to read a word correctly on sight. It includes high-frequency words, phonetic words, and phrases.
      • Reading Fluency: The ability to read a passage with accuracy, speed, and inflection. This can include re-telling and is comprised of both fiction and non-fiction.
    • Independent Practice: (2-12) Provides a passage that the student reads, and then answers questions. The passage is at a lower Lexile level, the student's independent reading level, or the level at which the program determines the student can comprehend with 90% accuracy. There is no audio support in Independent Practice because students are working at their independent reading level.
    • Retention: Provides a mixed presentation of retention items or those items that the student passed before moving them to the next lesson set.
  • Suggested Usage

    • 15 minutes per day or 1 hour per week (not to exceed 2,160 min or 36 hrs/yr)
      The average student can complete a full lesson in 15 minutes. Units, which are comprised of 3-6 lessons, are approximately 120 minutes in length.
  • Reports

    • Areas of Difficulty
    • Cumulative Performance
    • Last Session
    • Prescriptive Scheduling
    • Student Performance
    • System Enrollment and Usage

Evidence of Effectiveness

  • What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) - (2009) Institute of Education Sciences
  • Three studies of SuccessMaker met WWC evidence standards with reservations. These 3 studies included 450 students ages 9-16 years - grades 4-10 Based on the 3 studies, the WWC considers the extent of evidence for SuccessMaker to be:
    • small for alphabetics, reading fluency, and general literacy achievement
    • medium to large for reading comprehension and reading achievement
  • Gatti Evaluation Inc. (2011) Funded by Pearson
    • Implementation: 2010
    • 1,711 students in 3rd, 5th, and 7th grades
    • 16 hrs. or more of program use for the year
    • Research Q: Do students using the SuccessMaker reading program demonstrate a significant improvement in achievement over their non-SuccessMaker counterparts? Achievement growth was determined as measured on the Group Reading Assessment and Diagnostic Evaluation (GRADE), a test of vocabulary and reading comprehension, and the AIMSweb Reading Curriculum-Based Measurement, a test of accuracy and pacing for oral reading.
    • Results: SuccessMaker Reading users significantly outperformed the comparison group student on the GRADE. (ES= Effect Size)
3rd GRADE Total ScoreES: 0.16Av hrs on program: 26
5th GRADE Total ScoreES: 0.06Av hrs on program: 22
7th GRADE Total ScoreES: 0.25Av hrs on program: 18
    • Report also states that 3rd grade SuccessMaker students outperformed the comparison group in fluency on the AIMSweb as well.
Words Read Correctly AIMSweb (Av hrs. on program: 26)
Whole Sample: ES: 0.17
Low Achieving: ES: 0.39
  • Evaluation and Training Institute - USOE Early Intervention Report FY 2014
    • Implementation: FY 2013-2014
    • 4,357 program students K-3 (data from 1,825 program students K-3)
    • Outcome measures for starting and ending course level and the percentage of skills and exercises correct. (No actual scores were reported for comparison.)
      • Regression analysis indicated a positive and significant relationship between time spent on the program and students ending course level (final scores), regardless of students beginning course level (starting scores)
      • The relationship between program use and final scores was moderate to strong. This relationship was most evident for 3rd grade students, in which 1 hr spent on the software was associated with an increase of one course level.
    • This report looked for measurable growth from beginning of year (BOY) DIBELS Next scores and End of Year (EOY) scores for treatment students compared to non-program (control) students. The report does not disaggregate DIBELS Next scores for SuccessMaker and the 4 other interactive software programs used statewide.


The SuccessMaker Reading program offers computer assisted courses that include instruction, guided and independent practice, review, and assessments on a students' individualized skill level. The lessons are aligned to each state's core standards. The student moves through the skills in each instruction strand at their individual pace as they master the content of each course. Performance is measured by the probability of the student answering the next exercise correctly, which determines the next steps of the program. The program uses Lexile leveling to place students on an approximate instructional level. The fluency component encourages students to record themselves reading a passage and then saving that recording in a fluency file for teacher review. SuccessMaker also has Text Readers that introduce reading materials on a Lexile level higher than the student's instructional level. This offers text that is challenging, introducing and exposing them to important vocabulary and more complex text structure while providing the support of a narrator to allow students to develop listening comprehension skills.

Research has been published outlining the effectiveness of SuccessMaker particularly for reading comprehension and reading achievement in grades 4-10, and reading achievement and reading fluency for grade 3.



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