Best practices

Success for All

This is a comprehensive programme that focuses on educational processes, curricular improvement and support for families and teachers, with the aim of ensuring that all preschool and primary schoolchildren acquire basic language skills.

Fact Sheet

  • Original name: Success for All (SfA).

  • Geographical scope: United States.

  • Promoting organisation: Success for All Foundation, a non-profit organisation. US Department of Education.

  • Target groups: Socially disadvantaged children.

  • Launch year: 1987

1. Context

Developed by Dr Robert Slavin and his team at the Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed at Risk (CRESPAR), of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore (Maryland), in partnership with the city’s Department of Education, it was launched in 1987 in Baltimore.

2. Goals

  • To guarantee that all students, by the time they have completed primary schooling, acquire basic language skills. 

  • To reduce the number of students referred to special support classes. 

  • To reduce the number of students who have to repeat a school year. 

  • To increase school attendance. 

  • To address families’ food, housing and healthcare needs with the aim of eliciting families’ support for their children’s education.

3. Intervention

The programme features two modules: 

1. Interventions for pupils: 

  • Educational processes: Cooperative learning that teaches metacognitive strategies, with direct training, guided practice and progress assessment. 

  • Curricula: Programme focusing on reading and writing. Starts with reading techniques based on phonetic spelling and introduces reading habits gradually. 

  • Tutors: Work with students who do not attain their classmates’ reading level. Tutorials are integrated into classroom teaching to avoid special support classes, which are perceived as stigmatising. 

  • Assessments: Verify progress made and prepare the ground for specific work if necessary. 

2. Interventions at the education centre: 

  • Solutions team: Focuses on parent education and participation, increasing class attendance and improving pupils’ behaviour. 

  • Facilitator: Works with teaching staff, collaborates with the solutions team and ensures good communication all round. 

  • Training of professionals: Teaching staff receive intensive training before and during the implementation of the programme. 

4. Results

Children from low-income families of Asian origi who started in preschool with the SfA programme had acquired basic reading skills in the first year of primary school.
(Slavin and Yampolsky, 1992).

A meta-analysis of 29 models classified SfA as one of the three programmes with most evidence of effectiveness. (Borman, Hewes, Overman and Brown,

Pupils in the SfA programme showed better results than students of the same ages in schools that did not implement the programme, according to a randomised controlled trial conducted from 2002 to 2006 (Borman et al., 2007) and an evaluation by the University of Michigan (Cheung and Slavin, 2016).

Schools that have introduced the SfA programme have fewer pupils referred to special support classes, and fewer pupils who repeat a year. (Borman and Hewes, 2002)



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