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The Effectiveness of Direct Instruction Curricula: A Meta-Analysis of a Half Century of Research

Stockard, J.; Wood, T.; Coughlin, C.; Khoury, C. Rasplica
This updated meta-analysis synthesized the results of 328 studies on the effectiveness of Direct Instruction, spanning 50 years (1966-2016). Results were consistent with conclusions of previous meta-analyses and reviews of the literature regarding DI (e.g., Adams & Engelmann, 1996, White, 1988) providing overwhelming support that Direct Instruction continues to be effective in improving skills in multiple academic areas, including reading, math, language, and spelling. Other outcomes were also examined, including affective measures, ability measures, and teacher and parent perceptions. Moderation analyses indicated that characteristics of the publications, methodology, and sample were not systematically related to effect estimates. Effects showed little decline during maintenance, and effects for academic subjects were greater when students had more exposure to the programs. Effect size estimates were educationally significant, moderate to large when using traditional psychological and educational benchmarks, and similar in magnitude to effect sizes that reflect performance gaps between more and less advantaged students.
Research areas:
Main publication type:
Program Effectiveness
DISTAR; Reading Mastery; Corrective Reading; Horizons; Connecting Math Concepts; Language for Learning; Expressive Writing; Reasoning and Writing; Spelling Mastery; Corrective Mathematics
Review of Educational Research
Design type:
Fidelity monitored:
Students included:
Elementary, Secondary, Kindergarten, Pre-School, General Education, Special Education, English Language Learners, At-Risk Students, Minority Students
Urban, Suburban, Rural, United States, International
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