Event: Direct Instruction Research Consortium
Date: November 10, 2007
Location: The Peery Hotel Salt Lake City
Topic: Issues relating to recent research reviews regarding the efficacy of Direct Instruction
Letter soliciting participation for this event:
I am writing to let you know about some recent developments regarding research and Direct Instruction and invite you to participate in a meeting to advance research on DI.
Recently, DI has not fared well in several important reviews of research on educational practices. For example, the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) rated DI programs in 3 areas, and the results were not as positive as we are used to:
Direct Instruction in general – “Direct Instruction was found to have no discernable effects on oral language, print knowledge, cognition, and math skills of special education students.”
Corrective Reading – “Corrective Reading was found to potentially positive effects on alphabetic and fluency and no discernable effects on comprehension.”
There was a great deal of discussion of this problem at the Eugene conference. There was widespread agreement on several points:
1. This is a very serious problem for the entire DI community.
2. The problem is solvable with the pooled resources of the community.
3. Players with all the necessary skills and resources are very interested in collaborating to solve the problem.
Based on this understanding, ADI is going to form a Direct Instruction Research Consortium. The broad purpose of the consortium is to bring together the people, organizations, and resources necessary to conduct and disseminate high quality research on Direct Instruction programs. Its first activity will be to convene a meeting of key people such as yourself who can contribute to the development of high quality research projects. This will include:
1. Implementers and others who have contact with schools that might host studies, and have the expertise to build high fidelity implementations. Implementers must be committed to promoting high-quality research, including studies that have control groups and random assignment of students.
2. Researchers who have the expertise and commitment to design studies, manage the research aspects of interventions, and disseminate results. Researchers must be committed to implementing high quality designs to evaluate DI programs.
3. SRA which has numerous kinds of resources including DI materials.
The objectives of the meeting would be to:
1. Inform all participants of the details of where we stand with the What Works Clearinghouse, and exactly what is necessary to receive the highest ratings.
2. Clarify what is necessary from various players to improve our standing.
(a) What kinds of research sites are needed, and what demands will be made of these sites? (i.e., help implementers recognize situations that may lend themselves to research.)
(b) What kinds of research methods must be used? (i.e., help researchers make sure that studies will meet the methodology standards of the WWC.) 3. Assemble teams of implementers, researchers, and others that, together, include all the resources to produce high-quality research. We hope some teams come together at the meeting, but we also want to make connections so teams can come together after the meeting as opportunities arise.
The consortium already has the support of ADI, NIFDI, JP, ERI, SRA, and several prominent researchers.
Our first meeting will be on Saturday Nov 10, 2007 at The Peery Hotel in Salt Lake City
I sincerely hope you can attend. Please let me know as soon as is convenient.
If you have colleagues who have a serious interest in promoting research on DI and can offer the kinds of resources I described above, please refer them to me.
Thanks very much,
President, Association for Direct Instruction
PS: University personnel will have an opportunity to make brief presentations and appear on the official agenda. This may facilitate university funding for attendance.