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Comparison of achievement for DISTAR and conventional instruction with primary pupils

Kaufman, M.
This article examined two studies that compared the effect of the DISTAR program to a combination of conventional basal programs on student academic achievement in reading, language and arithmetic when instruction was begun in first grade. In experiment one, the academic achievement of two first grade classes were compared over three years. One first grade class received instruction with DISTAR in grades one and two, and then received instruction with the basal program in grade three. The control group received instruction with conventional basal programs for all three years. In experiment two, two first grade classes at separate schools were selected to receive instruction with DISTAR for the first and second grade. A third first grade class was selected from an additional school to serve as the control group. As in the first experiment the experimental group received instruction with DISTAR for first and second grade and then began instruction with conventional basal programs in the third grade. The Metropolitan Readiness Test, Gates-MacGinitie Primary Form A, Otis-Lennon Mental Ability Test, Stanford Achievement Test Primary II, and an experimenter-constructed First-Grade Reading Test were administered for pre- and posttest measures. The author’s analysis did not adjust for pretest differences. This analysis found that results from the first experiment indicated that at the end of the second grade, students in the DISTAR group scored significantly higher in arithmetic computation in comparison to the control group. No other statistically significant differences were reported at grades one, two, or three. Results from the second experiment indicated that first grade students in the control group scored significantly higher in reading readiness than students in the DISTAR group. Additionally, all reading tests favored the control group, but not at a significant level. Second grade control students recorded significantly higher scores on word meaning and word study tests than the DISTAR students. At the conclusion of third grade, control group students scored significantly higher in word meaning and paragraph meaning than one group of DISTAR students. (The DISTAR students scored substantially lower than the control group at pretest and the effect sizes shown below and in Table B-2 and used in the meta-analysis adjusted for these differences.) (Copyright © 2011, National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI). All rights reserved).
Research areas:
Main publication type:
Program Effectiveness
DISTAR; reading; language; math; Metropolitan Readiness Test; Stanford Achievement Test
Reading Improvement
Design type:
Pretest Posttest Control Group Design
Fidelity monitored:
Students included:
Elementary students
Massachusetts, elementary school

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