The Direct Instruction Model was developed in the early 1960’s by Siegfried Engelmann and Carl Bereiter. In 1968, Mr. Engelmann participated in a $1 billion educational study called “Project Follow Through,” the largest and most extensive study ever conducted in America by the U.S. Department of Education.
Nine models of education participated in the study, including Open Education, Behavior Analysis, and Responsive Education. The Direct Instruction Group consisted of 9,000 children at 20 different sites. In 1976, after several waves of kindergartners had progressed to third grade, the results were tabulated. Direct Instruction scored first place in every measurement of reading, arithmetic, spelling, language, basic skills, academic cognitive skills, and positive self-image, including first place for non-English speaking students. Since then, fourteen DI projects have been certified as exemplary by the U.S. Department of Education.
A 1999 report in Education Week, entitled “An Educator’s Guide to School-Wide Reform,” states that Direct Instruction is one of “only 3 of 24 popular school reform models that have strong evidence that they improve student achievement”. DI has achieved extraordinary results in over 3000 test studies since the 1960’s.
Our curriculum, Direct Instruction (DI), is a research-proven, learner verified method of teaching. This method easily outperformed all other models tested in thousands of studies. Direct Instruction is proven to work even when other programs fail, and produces positive results in regular, at-risk and Special Education classrooms. In addition, the book entitled “Overcoming Dyslexia,” by Dr. Sally Shaywitz, details the importance of explicit instruction, and mentions Direct Instruction throughout as an example of the type of curriculum these children in particular need.
The curriculum is structured so that students can master increasingly complex skills, which are taught in small, carefully sequenced steps, followed by ample opportunities for students to apply their knowledge in new and challenging contexts. Direct Instruction divides useful strategies into sub-skills that students practice until they gain proficiency. The program contains frequent built-in tests to ensure mastery. The technique develops ability and confidence in handling subject matter with intelligence and independence. We have typically seen an increase of one or more grade levels for each thirty hours in reading or math.
There is ample empirical evidence that the Direct Instruction programs have succeeded with a wide range of learners. This has been recognized by diverse groups, for example, the US Government’s acceptance of the Direct Instruction model as one eligible for funding.
The US Department of Education allocates enormous amounts for the implementation of replicable, research based school reform models. Direct Instruction programs have also been acknowledged as having the exemplary research base required under the recent USA Reading First Act, 2001 (Manzo & Robelen, 2002).
The American Institutes for Research (2006) reviewed 800 studies of student achievement and of the 22 reform models examined; “Direct Instruction” and “Success for All” received the highest rating for quality and effectiveness. http://www.air.org/news/documents/Release200611_csrq.html
Major reviews of the primary research can provide additional surety of program value. In a Department of US Education meta-analysis, Comprehensive School Reform and Student Achievement (2002, Nov), Direct Instruction was assigned the highest classification: Strongest Evidence of Effectiveness, as ascertained by Quality of the evidence Quantity of the evidence, and Statistically significant and positive results. “Its effects are relatively robust and the model can be expected to improve students’ test scores. The model certainly deserves continued dissemination and federal support” Borman, G.D., Hewes, G.M., Overman, L.T., & Brown, S. (2002).
A report from American Institutes for Research found that Direct Instruction was one of only three programs with adequate evidence for effectiveness in reading instruction. (http://www.aasa.org/issues_and_insights/district_organization/Reform/Approach/direct.htm).
Following the successful models of rigorous medical science, the Power4Kids reading study will be a landmark in education ~ a large-scale, randomized, controlled, longitudinal field trial. It is the second largest study of its kind ever to be conducted in public schools. It is designed to provide conclusive evidence of the effectiveness of quality remedial reading programs, along with determining common learning profiles of students and the best targeted-intervention for each profile. Four (4) highly effective remedial reading programs have been awarded a position in the study by virtue of their scientifically-based evidence of effectiveness. The programs are: Corrective Reading, a Direct Instruction program, Failure Free Reading, Spell Read P.A.T., Wilson Learning Program
Direct Instruction is the only model to be recommended by American Federation of Teachers in each of their reviews. Seven Promising Reading and English Language Arts Programs state, “When this program is faithfully implemented, the results are stunning…” (Seven Promising Reading and English Language Arts Programs, pg. 9).
Direct Instruction is also lauded in Three Promising High School Remedial Reading Programs, and Five Promising Remedial Reading Intervention Programs (http://www.aft.org/pubs-reports/downloads/teachers/remedial.pdf). http://www.aft.org/edissues/Reading/Resources.htm American Federation of Teachers (1999).
The report Bringing Evidence Driven Progress to Education: A Recommended Strategy for the U.S. Department of Education (2002) nominates Direct Instruction as having strong evidence for effectiveness.
Corrective Reading: Decoding and Corrective Reading: Comprehension is among the programs adopted by the California State Board of Education in 1999.