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About us Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences Organization News PhD Defences BSS

Supporting struggling students

Prevention and early intervention with success for all
PhD ceremony:dr. M. (Mariëtte) Hingstman
When:June 07, 2021
Supervisor:prof. dr. R.J. (Roel) Bosker
Co-supervisors:dr. S. Doolaard, prof. dr. M.J. (Matthijs) Warrens
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Behavioural and Social Sciences
Supporting struggling students

It was investigated whether the American program Success for All (SfA) could improve the reading outcomes and behavioral engagement of struggling students in the Netherlands. Earlier studies have shown that investment in prevention and early intervention pays off. In a systematic review, it was found that effective programs like SfA can even reduce the number of special education assignments. The aim of SfA is to ensure that all students experience success in learning. To achieve this, several evidence-based strategies are combined. Dutch and American teachers who were interviewed, valued the integrated approach to reading/language, the books, the cooperative learning activities and tutoring as effective features of SfA for struggling students. However, teachers also mentioned that they sometimes found it difficult to balance between the scriptedness of SfA and the need for flexibility in the support of struggling students. With regard to effects of SfA in the Netherlands, we found in the first cohort that first grade students at SfA-schools had significantly better reading comprehension skills than students at control schools. In the second cohort, no significant effect of SfA on reading comprehension was found. No significant effects of SfA on the other reading outcomes and behavioral engagement were found either. It is important to keep in mind that all studies were conducted during the first years of SfA in the Netherlands. The studies in this dissertation showed that there was room for improvement in the implementation of the program.