is a comprehensive computer assisted instruction
package to assist in the teaching of English
to students aged from 5 years. It is developed by Computer Curriculum Corporation
and has been in continual development for over 20 years.
The SuccessMaker package actually consists of upto 50 plug in type modules that can be purchased in packages to operate in either a peer to peer or server based environment. As well as the teaching modules SuccessMaker also incorporates a comprehensive management package that allows teaching and administrative staff to closely monitor student targets and attainment.
One of the key concepts behind SuccessMaker is accelerated attainment. The makers claim to be able to achieve twelve months learning gains in six months. These claims are well backed by numerous studies carried out in countries including the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and Germany.
One thing that makes SuccessMaker stand out from other computer assisted instruction packages is that it provides a personalised learning package for each student. Each student has an initial placement level for each course that they are working on, whether it be Maths Concepts and Skills, Readers Workshop, Spelling Skills or the like. This initial placement level is calculated using a mathematical formula that takes the students age and previous progression into account. The software then follows a set of rules to ensure that the student progresses at an accelerated pace. For instance, within Maths Concepts and Skills, the software may in the first sessions, ask an equal number of questions covering addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Later, as the student progresses, the software may identify that the student is answering a particular type of question incorrectly more often, so it will decrease the difficulty level for that type and ask those questions more often to assist the student. Along with providing assistance in the completion of a given question, the software also helps boost student morale by making the questions slightly easier so the student feels that they are more able to answer the questions correctly. Then the difficulty level is gradually increased again until the student is back on target.
The SuccessMaker management system allows teachers or administrators to generate reports on a student or group of students progress, which breaks each course down into a subset of results so problematic areas can easily be identified. The management system also enable homework worksheets to be generated that are tailor made to each individual student.
A pilot study in the United Kingdom proved to be very positive in its outcomes. The students taking part in the pilot project produced measurable learning gains in a condensed time period. The students, when interviewed, were also very positive on the whole about their experiences of using the system. One thing that was raised time and time again was that the students felt as though they were in control of their own learning because the system personalised the questions and examples to suit each individual. Also, because each student was at their own computer, immersed in the system, using a set of headphones and their own materials, their 'time on task' was also significantly increased as there was less disruption from other students.