E4I focus on Success for All

Posted on 17 May 2018

We continue our look at interventions included in the Evidence4Impact database, with Success for All – a whole-school phonics programme with proven effectiveness for beginning reading and struggling readers at primary level.

Success for All (SFA) has been rated as ‘strong’ for primary reading. This is the highest possible rating and lets educators know that the intervention has a good chance of improving pupils’ outcomes if implemented as designed. The E4I rating and average effect size is a sample-size-weighted effect size taken from all 25 qualifying studies.

Success for All is a whole-school intervention which provides extensive staff training and materials to improve all aspects of school organisation and functioning but with the spotlight on literacy. The focus is on early and intensive intervention to detect and resolve reading problems as early as possible.

Last year the Education Endowment Foundation published a report on an effectiveness trial of the SFA programme to evaluate its impact on the literacy outcomes of Reception pupils.

Fifty-four schools took part in this effectiveness trial, which was evaluated by Sarah Miller and colleagues from Queen’s University Belfast. Although the intervention was delivered on a whole-school basis, the evaluation focused only on the outcomes of 1,767 pupils starting in Reception, and followed them through to the end of Year 1.

The main analysis found that Reception pupils in SFA schools made more progress than pupils in control schools after two years (effect size = +0.07). The effect was slightly larger for pupils eligible for free school meals (FSM), compared to FSM pupils in control schools after two years (effect size = +0.12). In both cases, the effect was smaller than those found in previous evaluations (this is the third RCT of SFA to be conducted, and the first independent trial of the programme in England). Trials in the US reported effect sizes between +0.15 and +0.30. The report suggests that one possible reason for this was that some schools struggled to implement the programme as intended.

The project delivery team was from the University of York. Robert Slavin, director of the US Center for Research and Reform in Education, is Co-founder and Chairman of the Board of the Success for All Foundation.


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