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Using DI to teach computer programming to retarded institutionalized adolescents

Berryman, D.; Maggs, A.
This study examined the effect of DISTAR Language and a Direct Instruction micro-computing program on the ability of students referred to as moderately to severely “retarded” to master concepts, discriminations, and rules to perform computer programming tasks. Twenty eight students (age 6-14 years) participated in this study. A control group was included and received instruction with traditional teaching practices and the Peabody Language Program. Students in the experimental group received instruction with DISTAR Language for two years and then received instruction with a Direct Instruction (DI) micro-computing program. Results indicated that students in the DISTAR group exhibited a significantly higher number of concepts than students in the control group. Students in the DISTAR group performed significantly better on the Piaget-Bruner tests and exhibited superior verbal comprehension. Results from the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Tests indicated a mean gain of 22.5 mental age months over 24 months for students in the DISTAR group and a mean gain of 7.5 months for students in the control group. After 15 weeks of instruction with the DI micro-computing program, students exhibited mastery of the content covered in the first 22 modules, including deductive problem solving, algorithm construction, structure diagram drawing, and knowledge of computers. The authors concluded that the students demonstrated the ability to obtain micro-computing skills. (Copyright © 2011, National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI). All rights reserved).
Research areas:
Main publication type:
Program Effectiveness
DISTAR Language; Peabody Language Program; micro-computing; computer programming; concepts; discriminations; rules
DI News
1, 12-13
Design type:
Pretest posttest control group design with matched comparisons
Fidelity monitored:
Students included:
Elementary students, secondary students, students with learning disabilities, mentally retarded students, special education students
Other tags:
Piaget-Bruner tests, Stanford-Binet Intelligence Tests
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