SuccessMaker’s Adaptive Learning Model Accelerates Achievement for Young Learners

Share Article

New Jersey Charter School Achieves Adequate Yearly Progress When Students Learn With Pearson’s K-8 Personalized Program

Personalized learning is more than a trend in education – it is widely recognized as the key to ensuring that all students are on the path for success in school, college and careers. However, to create personal learning roadmaps for students, schools need research-based, proven programs that are genuinely adaptive.

Research supports that SuccessMaker from Pearson is a learning system built from the ground up to adapt to the unique learning needs of each individual student, continuously analyzing performance, identifying areas requiring remediation or acceleration, and effectively estimating the amount of time necessary for them to reach achievement levels.

“The term ‘adaptive’ gets thrown around a lot these days when talking about digital learning programs, and the definitions for this term run the gamut,” said Chris Dragon, President of Pearson Digital Learning. “At Pearson, we take adaptive learning very seriously. For us, to be called adaptive goes way beyond simply assigning different lessons based on student assessment scores at the beginning or end of a unit. The proprietary algorithms behind SuccessMaker allow it to function like an expert tutor, automatically adapting instruction at strategic decision points so that all students experience a learning path precisely tailored to their individual learning needs. And our efficacy studies show that this ability to deliver exactly what students need, right when they need it, improves student learning.”

The real impact of SuccessMaker’s adaptive learning model is apparent in classrooms around the country, where more than 3 million students learn with SuccessMaker. For example, Village Charter School in Trenton, N.J., started the 2010-11 school year with one important goal – to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) – and turned to Pearson’s SuccessMaker to accelerate learning for its students. When announcing that his students had aced the state assessments and the school had achieved AYP in June 2011, Head of School Leigh Byron gave top credit to SuccessMaker. Citing test results, Byron said the median first-grade score on the TerraNova was the 89th percentile, and the math scores of the fifth-grade cohort went from 33 percent proficient or advanced proficient in 2010 to 72 percent proficient or advanced proficient on the New Jersey state assessment.

“As a superintendent in public schools, headmaster in independent schools, and now as a head of school in a charter school, my experience with SuccessMaker supports what the research demonstrates. It rapidly moves the needle on student test scores in the right direction by adapting to students’ unique learning needs and keeping teachers apprised of their progress,” said Byron. “And SuccessMaker’s dynamic environment keeps students engaged and having fun – serious fun – while they are learning.”

Based on 50 years of research, SuccessMaker relies on proprietary mastery algorithms designed to emulate an expert human tutor who evaluates and responds to the individual instructional needs of each student and provides progress reports to the teacher. The program’s Initial Placement Motion identifies the student’s appropriate level for learning – sufficiently challenging, but not too difficult for the learner to make progress independently. As students complete each activity, SuccessMaker determines whether they have mastered the content based on the probability of their answering the next question correctly, not just on the percentage of correct answers.

Also unique to SuccessMaker is an adaptive tutor model that automatically employs various instructional strategies, such as sequential practice in an area of difficulty, presentation of brief tutorials and review of prerequisite skills, when a student experiences repeated difficulties with new concepts.

A recent independent research study on SuccessMaker Reading, conducted by Gatti Evaluation, Inc., demonstrates the way that this adaptive learning model accelerates achievement for students. The study revealed that elementary and middle school students learning with SuccessMaker significantly outperformed their peers relying on print materials on a nationally recognized assessment of reading skills. Looking at the achievement of students in third, fifth and seventh grade, the research showed that SuccessMaker students statistically significantly outperformed students learning with print materials on the norm-referenced GRADE (Group Reading Assessment and Diagnostic Evaluation) for Total Reading score. Seventh-grade SuccessMaker students realized greater gains in reading achievement than 60 percent of their peers using a print program. Third-grade SuccessMaker students achieved greater gains than nearly 60 percent of their peers in reading achievement; fifth-grade SuccessMaker students achieved greater gains than 53 percent of their peers using a similar program.

In addition, the study showed that Latino students in seventh grade learning with SuccessMaker achieved significantly greater gains in reading achievement than 75 percent of their peers using a print program. Third-grade Latino students realized significantly greater gains than 70 percent of their peers in reading achievement; Latino students in fifth grade achieved greater gains in reading achievement than 58 percent of their peers using a print program.

For more information, visit

About Pearson
Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, has as its mission to work side by side with states, districts, teachers, students and parents to ensure that every child is prepared for college and career (NYSE: PSO). For more information, go to

For more information, contact: Kate Miller, 800-745-8489, kate.miller(at)pearson(dot)com

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Kate Miller
Email >
Visit website