Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: The Challenge of Sustaining Impacts in the i3 Scale-up Demonstration: The Experience of Success for All

Thursday, November 12, 2015 : 10:35 AM
Flamingo (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Janet Quint, Pei Zhu, Rekha Balu, Shelley Rappaport and Micah DeLaurentis, MDRC
Success for All (SFA), one of the best-known school reform models, aims to improve the reading skills of all children but is especially directed at schools that serve large numbers of students from low-income families. First implemented in 1987, SFA combines a challenging reading program, whole-school reform elements, and an emphasis on continuous improvement, with the goal of ensuring that every child learns to read well in the elementary grades.  Previous evaluations, both experimental and quasi-experimental, showed that students in SFA schools performed better on standardized tests than students receiving other kinds of reading instruction. The strength of this evidence was critical to the selection of the Success for All Foundation as one of only four recipients of five-year scale-up grants awarded in 2010 in the initial i3 funding competition. 

The i3 evaluation of SFA employs an experimental design, in which 37 schools in five school districts that participated in the scale-up effort were assigned at random to a program group or to a control group. The 19 program schools received SFA in all grades. The 18 control group schools did not get the intervention and, instead, either continued with the same reading program that they had used previously or, in the case of some schools, adopted a new one. The evaluation examines the impacts of SFA over the first three years of the i3 scale-up on measures of phonics skills, fluency, and reading comprehension, and explores reasons for the pattern of impact findings as well as the scale-up process and its results.