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The IERI Research Community :: Projects

Development and Evaluation of a Technology-Enhanced Success for All Reading Program

Robert E. Slavin

Nancy A. Madden, Bette Chambers, Philip Abrami


Background: The Success for All reading program, used in 1200 schools in 46 states, has a strong research base, but seeks to further increase effects on children. Embedding DVD technology in class lessons and computer technology in tutoring sessions was proposed as a means of enhancing instructional effectiveness and improving consistency and quality of instruction.

Purpose: To develop, pilot, and evaluate embedded multimedia in first grade reading instruction and computer-assisted tutoring for struggling first graders.


  1. Embedded multimedia: Brief DVD content, involving animations (letter sounds), puppet skits (sound blending), and live action skits (vocabulary) threaded into Success for All beginning reading lessons.
  2. Computer-Assisted Tutoring: Computer-assisted content for use in 1-1 tutoring sessions that provides stimulus materials for children, assessments, record keeping, planning, and professional development for tutors.
  1. Settings: Three year-long, randomized studies were done. One was in Hartford, CT; one in Los Angeles and Las Vegas; and one involved 25 schools nationally. All schools were high-poverty Title I schools.

    Research Design: All three studies were randomized experiments, one cluster randomized trial and two with random assignment within schools. The study samples included:
    • Study 1: 10 SFA schools, randomly assigned to embedded multimedia or control
    • Study 2: Tutored children randomly assigned within 25 SFA schools to computer-assisted multimedia or control
  • Study 3: Children randomly assigned within 2 SFA schools to technology infusion (embedded multimedia + computer-assisted tutoring) or control

    The comparison condition was Success for All reading without technology. In all studies, children were individually pretested on the Woodcock Letter-Word Identification and posttested on Woodcock Letter-Word, Word Attack, and the Gray Oral Reading Test Fluency, Comprehension, and Total scales. Analyses used HLM in Study 1, MANCOVA's in Studies 2 and 3.

  • Study 1: Significant differences favoring embedded multimedia on Woodcock Word Attack and Word Identification. No differences on GORT.

  • Study 2: No differences overall, but in schools with highly-rated implementations children who experienced computer-assisted tutoring scored significantly higher on Letter-Word Identification, Word Attack, and Fluency.

  • Study 3: Tutored students who experienced embedded multimedia and computer-assisted tutoring scored significantly higher than controls on all Woodcock and GORT measures. Non-tutored students who experienced embedded multimedia scored significantly higher on Letter-Word Identification, GORT Fluency, and GORT Total.

Chambers, B., Cheung, A., Madden, N., Slavin, R. E., & Gifford, R. (2006). Achievement effects of embedded multimedia in a Success for All reading program. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98 (1), 232-237.

Chambers, B., Abrami, P.C., Tucker, B.J., Slavin, R.E., Madden, N.A., Cheung, A., & Gifford, R. (2005). Computer assisted tutoring in Success for All: Reading outcomes for first graders. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Chambers, B., Slavin, R.E., Madden, N.A., Abrami, P.C., Tucker, B.,J., Cheung, A., & Gifford, R. (2005). Technology infusion in Success for All: Reading outcomes for first graders. Manuscript submitted for publication.

All studies are available at

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