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The impact of Direct Instruction on elementary students’ reading achievement in an urban school district

Mac Iver, M. A.; Kemper, E.
This article discusses the preliminary results of the first four years of the implementation of Direct Instruction (DI) reading programs in six Baltimore elementary schools. DI programs in reading, language, spelling, and mathematics were implemented in six high poverty public elementary schools in Baltimore in the fall of 1996. Each of the six schools was demographically matched with a similar school within the same district. Student reading achievement was measured using the reading comprehension subtest of the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS), a curriculum based measure for oral reading fluency, and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test. The authors report a large number of results, some of which control for demographic characteristics and some of which do not. On average, students in the first cohort who began receiving DI in kindergarten were reading at grade level (49th percentile) by the end of the third grade. Students in the second grade cohort were approaching being at grade level for reading (40th percentile) by the end of the fifth grade. Students in the control group recorded levels of reading achievement at the same level, when controlling for demographics and pretest factors. When controlling for demographic variables and pretest scores and using regression equations, the effect sizes with all schools included ranged from -.04 to +.21, with an average of .07. When only the schools with higher fidelity were included, the effects ranged from 0.0 to .21, with an average value of .11. The authors noted that results may have been impacted by issues with implementation, particularly in kindergarten as well as a high level of student mobility. (Copyright © 2011, National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI). All rights reserved).
Research areas:
Main publication type:
Program Effectiveness
Reading Mastery; Comprehensive Test of Basic SKills; reading comprehension; Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test
Journal of Education for Students Placed At Risk
Design type:
Pretest Posttest Control Group Design
Fidelity monitored:
Students included:
At-risk Students, Remedial Students, Elementary Students, African American students, kindergarten students
South: South Atlantic, Baltimore, public schools, elementary schools, high poverty school, urban area
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