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First implemented in 1987, Success for All (SFA) is one of the best-known and most thoroughly evaluated school reform models. It combines three basic elements: (1) Reading instruction that emphasizes phonics for beginning readers and comprehension for students at all levels, and that is characterized by a highly structured curriculum, an emphasis on cooperative learning, across-grade ability grouping and periodic regrouping, frequent assessments, and tutoring for students who need extra help; (2) Whole-school improvement components that address noninstructional issues that can affect student learning, such as behavior, attendance, and parental involvement; and (3) A set of strategies for securing teacher buy-in, providing school personnel with initial training and ongoing professional development, and fostering shared leadership in schools. This report, the first of three, examines the program's implementation and impacts in 2011-2012, the first year of operation. Thirty-seven kindergarten through grades 5 and 6 (K-5 and K-6) schools in five school districts agreed to be part of the scale-up evaluation; 19 "program group" schools were randomly selected to operate SFA, and 18 "control group" schools did not receive the intervention. The analysis compares the experiences of school staff as well as the reading performance of a cohort of kindergarten students in the SFA schools with those of their counterparts in the control group schools. Subsequent reports will examine the reading skills of these students as they progress through first and second grades and will also measure the reading skills of students in the upper elementary grades. Data sources for the report include principal surveys, teacher surveys, and teacher-completed logs describing reading instruction, which were administered at all schools; "School Achievement Snapshot" forms completed by the Success for All Foundation (SFAF) coaches to report on the extent of program implementation; assessments administered to kindergartners at the beginning and end of the school year; and administrative records obtained from the districts. During spring 2012 site visits, researchers also conducted interviews with principals at SFA schools and control group schools as well as interviews with SFA facilitators and focus groups with teachers at SFA schools. This report finds that while teachers initially expressed concerns about implementing this new, complex, and demanding initiative, by the end of the first year, almost all the program schools had reached what SFAF considers a satisfactory level of early implementation, and many teachers were beginning to feel more comfortable with the program. Reading instruction in SFA schools was found to differ in key ways from instruction in the control group schools. Finally, kindergartners in the SFA schools scored significantly higher than their control group counterparts on one of two standardized measures of early reading. The following are appended: (1) Data Sources and Response Rates for the Success for All Evaluation; (2) The Student Samples and Student Mobility; (3) Baseline Equivalence Tests for Additional Samples; (4) Scale Construction and Statistical Properties of Scales; (5) The Success for All Foundation (SFAF) School Achievement Snapshot; and (6) The Estimation of Program Impacts. [This report was written with Emma Alterman, Herbert Collado, and Emily Pramik.]

Descriptors: Educational Change, Models, Change Strategies, Educational Innovation, Program Evaluation, Program Implementation, Program Effectiveness, Intervention, Experimental Groups, Control Groups, Kindergarten, Elementary Education, Reading Achievement, Participant Satisfaction, Student Characteristics, Institutional Characteristics, Staff Development, Training Methods, Performance Factors, Reading Programs, Reading Instruction, Comparative Analysis, Outcome Measures, Spanish, Scores, Academic Achievement, Achievement Gains, Surveys, Qualitative Research, Statistical Analysis

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Autor: Quint, Janet C.; Balu, Rekha; DeLaurentis, Micah; Rappaport, Shelley; Smith, Thomas J.; Zhu, Pei


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