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The Benefits of Direct Instruction: Affirmative Action for At-Risk Students

Engelmann, S.
This article describes how Direct Instruction programs can help at-risk students who are academically behind catch up to their peers. At-risk students who are academically behind are forced to learn substantially more material in the same amount of time than advantaged students in order to perform at grade level. By being below grade level in elementary school at-risk students have greater problems mastering skills in later grades. To create equal opportunities for success of all students Engelmann asserts it is necessary to have a well-designed preschool kindergarten using a highly structured format, which allows teachers to present large amounts of practice. The goal of the program would be to increase the at-risk students’ academic skills above the levels of affluent students by the time they leave kindergarten. When at-risk students are academically ahead after leaving kindergarten they are more likely to remain academically competitive despite the competition tending to favor affluent students. Success of the program would depend on implementing it beginning in pre-kindergarten, otherwise students would be too far behind their peers academically to catch up. Additionally, for the instruction to be effective it would need to be highly oral in order for children to become comfortable and successful in following directions and answering questions. (Copyright © 2011, National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI). All rights reserved).
Research areas:
Main publication type:
DI Overview & Background
Direct Instruction; language; reading; math
Educational Leadership
Design type:
Fidelity monitored:
Students included:
At-risk students
Other tags:
Direct Instruction, pre-reading language, number skills, language, math, reading skills

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