Students Realize Accelerated Reading Scores, New Levels of Learning Engagement With Pearson’s K-8 Personalized Adaptive Program

CHANDLER, Ariz. – Jan. 31, 2012 – With national, state and regional education leaders seeking learning resources with a proven track record of improving student performance, efficacy reports pointing to measurable gains are critical. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan reiterated the need for data in education recently, saying, “Research is the compass for education reform – guiding us forward and showing us when we’re headed in the right direction.”

As part of its ongoing research and efficacy initiatives, 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 confirms that elementary and middle school students learning with SuccessMaker significantly 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.”

Meeting the What Works Clearinghouse’s “gold standard” guidelines for academic research, 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.

Pearson’s Director of Academic Research Marcy Baughman, said, “We require the independent research companies evaluating our programs to employ rigorous research methods to provide solid evidence that our products, programs and services enhance and further academic achievement. Research-based instruction with embedded assessment, coupled with our efficacy studies conducted by leading educational research organizations, provides education decision-makers with the information they need to choose the learning tools that will best support their students’ needs.”
“Every day, tens of thousands of students around the country build their reading skills with SuccessMaker,” said Chris Dragon, President of Pearson Digital Learning. “This new efficacy study further confirms what teachers tell us: Students at all levels are more engaged in learning and are improving their literacy skills with SuccessMaker Reading.”

About SuccessMaker
SuccessMaker identifies and addresses individual learning needs quickly and efficiently through embedded assessments that determine each student’s unique starting place and continuously analyze each student’s actual performance. The program utilizes the data to automatically create a personalized path through the curriculum, based on a learner’s strengths and weaknesses, pinpointing specific areas of struggle, difficulty, advancement or mastery. Nearly 3 million students in kindergarten through eighth grade have logged in to SuccessMaker globally to date. Learn more at

About Pearson and Pearson’s Efficacy Research
Pearson has as its mission to work side by side with states, districts, teachers, students and parents to ensure that every child is prepared for college and career (NYSE: PSO).

Pearson is a company with a strong sense of purpose, focusing on three key issues of social and economic importance: literacy, efficacy and competitiveness. By providing substantive, verifiable studies reflecting the effectiveness of our preK-12, higher education and assessment programs, we are able to shine a spotlight on the deep connection between our commitment to excellence and demonstrated student success. Pearson commissions independent third-party research organizations to work with school districts across the United States to conduct randomized control trial efficacy studies that use the same rigorous scientific model that the Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse requires. These studies inform the next generation of our programs, providing continuous data for enhancing teaching and learning.Visit to learn more.

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