Current Research in Psychology

Locally-Chosen versus State-Mandated Success Criteria: A Retrospective Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Success-For-All Program with Fourth and Seventh Grade Hispanic Students

James Carifio and Dalis Dominguez

DOI : 10.3844/crpsp.2010.82.101

Current Research in Psychology

Volume 1, Issue 2

Pages 82-101


Problem statement: This study compared the growth in reading competencies of Hispanic female and male students in the SFA program as measured by the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) and the Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI). Approach: The study was a retrospective study with several a priori hypotheses and examined logical comparison groups of 4th and 7th graders, who received 1 and 3 years of SFA reading instruction respectively. Results: This study found that the SFA recommended SRI test presented an over-rosy picture of students reading achievement levels and gains (as compared to the MCAS test) and masked important differential effects of the program. ANOVA results showed that female Hispanic students obtained significantly higher average scores on the MCAS than did male Hispanic students and that these differences between Hispanic female and male students were significantly larger in the seventh grade than in the fourth grade. These findings showed that the SFA program was, most probably, not very successful in developing the reading competencies of Hispanic male students beyond grade 4. Conclusion: The critical and unexamined issue of locally-selected versus state-mandated success criteria for evaluating high stakes programs is also discussed in this article.


© 2010 James Carifio and Dalis Dominguez. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.