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NIFDI's Research Office
The National Institute for Direct Instruction maintains an Office of Research and Evaluation that compiles research on Direct Instruction (DI), conducts original studies of DI, and responds to requests for assistance in issues related to research regarding Direct Instruction.
Body of Research
A substantial body of NIFDI research has examined the effectiveness of the DI curricula. These studies have confirmed the accumulated findings of decades of other studies showing that students studying with DI have higher achievement scores and stronger growth rates than students studying with other curricula. These results have appeared with reading1,2,8,9,10,13,15 and math7; in urban1,2,7, rural2,8 and suburban8,13,15 settings; with middle class high achieving students13; with high risk students16, general education students1,2,7,8,9,10,13,15,16 and special education students15; with schools that are predominantly African American1,7,9, those with substantial numbers of Hispanic students2,8,15 and those with large numbers of non-Hispanic whites8,13,15; and with children from pre-school age10 through middle school4. The strong positive results appear in studies examining state test scores4, curriculum-based measures2,4,8,10 and norm-referenced tests1,4,7,9,10; in the United States as well as in other countries11 and with randomized control trials10,13,14 as well as quasi-experimental designs1,2,4,7,8,9,11,15.
A number of organizations provide reviews of educational curricula. The results of their work have disappointed many, and their procedures have received substantial criticism from the research community. NIFDI’s analyses of the WhatWorks Clearinghouse are typical of these critiques and have described errors in specific reviews16 as well as problems in procedures that are used to assess fidelity of implementation12. Other analyses have described more general problems with the review criteria and alternative approaches that provide both more internal and external validity4.
Institutional Review Board
Are you a researcher?
NIFDI recently compiled a bibliography of research related to Direct Instruction (DI) and is working to connect with researchers in the field to ensure the bibliography is as comprehensive as possible. Thus, we are asking scholars in the field to check their listings in the material to make sure it is correct and to let us know about studies that are missing, errors in classification, or any other changes you think would be appropriate. You may find the bibliography HERE.
We'd also be intersted in hearing more about your work and your interests in the field! Take our survey HERE.
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3 “Research on the Effectiveness of Direct Instruction Programs: An Updated Meta-Analysis”, Cristy Coughlin, Paper Presented at the Annual Meetings of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, May, 2011.
4 Merging the Accountability and Scientific Research Requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act: Using Cohort Control Groups, Quality and Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, published on-line December 11, 2011.
5 “Research Syntheses of Direct Instruction Outcomes: A ‘Tertiary’ Review, Cristy Coughlin, forthcoming in Lloyd, J. Carnine, D., Slocum, T., & Watkins, C. (Eds.). Does Direct Instruction Deserve Status as an Evidence-Based Practice? ADI Press, 2011.
8 “Academic Kindergarten and Later Academic Success: The Impact of Direct Instruction," Jean Stockard and Kurt Engelmann, Journal of Behavioral Assessment and Intervention for Children, 1 (1, 2010): 2-24.
9 “Promoting Reading Achievement and Countering the ‘Fourth-Grade Slump’: The Impact of Direct Instruction on Reading Achievement in Fifth Grade,” Jean Stockard, Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 15 (August, 2010): 218-240.