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Direct Instruction




Evidence of Effectiveness:


Phoenix, Arizona - Wilson Primary School


Wilson Primary School in central Phoenix is located in the most indigent public school district in the state of Arizona. The school serves a population that is 97% disadvantaged, 75% Limited English Proficient (LEP), 69% mobile, and 25% homeless. For years, the standardized test scores (SAT/9) in the district were consistently in the teens and twenties. In 1998, the Reading score for Grade 3 was at the 17th percentile, up only one percentile point from 1997. After the first year of implementation of Direct Instruction - Reading Mastery, the Grade 3 SAT/9 Reading scores rose from the 17th percentile to the 50th percentile. Language scores rose from the 21st percentile in 1998, to the 59th percentile in 1999, and to the 71st percentile in the spring of 2000.


Houston, Texas - Wesley Elementary School


Wesley Elementary School (Houston, Texas) has one of the longest, continuous Direct Instruction implementations in the country. It is located in one of Houston=s poorest, mostly African-American, neighborhoods and has a student population that is over 99% minority and 90% eligible for school lunch subsidies---statistics that usually signal low achievement levels. For many years, however, this school has ranked in the top tier of all schools in the state. Much of this success has been credited to the school=s 1975 adoption of Direct Instruction. First piloted in a Title I reading resource room, DI was soon in use throughout the school. By 1980, Wesley students had average test scores above the 80th percentile in both reading and vocabulary, outscoring students in comparison schools by more than 40 percentile points. By 1996, all of Wesley's third-graders passed the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS), compared to fewer that 70 percent of third graders in comparable backgrounds statewide. In addition, Wesley reduced the number of students requiring special education to 3 percent, compared to 10 percent statewide.

Park Forest - Chicago Heights School District


Park Forest - Chicago Heights School District, located 40 minutes south of Chicago, had a history of poor performance on state and national tests. Its student population was 65% economically disadvantaged and 72% low income. During the 1998-1999 school year, Direct Instruction programs were implemented in six Pre-K-8 schools, serving a total of 2,200 students. Results in the first year showed improvement overall from younger to older students. The district's TerraNova assessment data shows that before Direct Instruction was implemented, students in Grade 1 tested at the 48 National Curve Equivalent (NCE). After two years in the Direct Instruction - Reading Mastery program, scores rose to the 65.6 NCE. Similar results were achieved with Grades 2-8.
















Program Description:


Direct Instruction is primarily an elementary school (pre-K-6) program, but may also be used successfully with secondary and adult special education and remedial students. Curricular materials, daily lessons, and teachers= guides are available for grades K-6 in reading, language arts, spelling, and math; grades 4-6 in expressive writing; grades 3-6 in science; grades 3-12 in corrective reading; and grades 4-12 in corrective math.


Direct Instruction is a highly structured instructional approach, designed to accelerate the learning of at-risk students. Curriculum materials and instructional sequences attempt to move students to mastery at the fastest possible pace. While DI has been used successfully as a schoolwide program, the reading and language arts (and sometimes math) portions of the program are frequently purchased for separate implementations.


The main features of the program are as follows:


         Scripted Lesson Plans---Classroom scripts are a hallmark of DI; the scripts are written, tested, rewritten, retested---polished in a cycle of classroom field-testing and revision that ends only when trials show that 90% of students grasp a lesson the first time around.


         Research-Tested Curriculum---In DI, skills are taught in sequence until students have fully internalized them and are able to generalize their learning in new, untaught situations.



         Coaches/Facilitators---Another feature of the program is the use of in-class coaches for implementation support. The coach periodically monitors each classroom and is available to assist individual teachers with any problems, perhaps taking over a part of the lesson to model pedagogical procedures.


         Rapid Pace---Because the goal of DI is to move students to mastery as quickly as possible, a large proportion of classroom time is spent on fast-paced teacher-directed instruction, punctuated by rhythmic choral-group and individual-student responses.


         Achievement Grouping---Common periods for reading and math are established across grades during which students are regrouped by performance level, with the idea that all students will progress at the fastest possible pace and no students will be left behind.


         Frequent Assessments---Frequent assessments are also built into the program as a means to ensure that all students are reaching mastery, to detect any student who might need extra help before falling too far behind, and to identify students who need to be regrouped.


Aspects of Reading


This program addresses the following aspects of reading:


         Phonemic Awareness















Correlation to Nevada State Standards


Currently being completed.


Teacher Support:


This is a commercially published program; materials may be purchased by individual grade and subject, as well as in a package suitable for schoolwide implementation.


Professional development and implementation support of differing levels of quality can be contracted from various providers for both single-subject and schoolwide implementations.


Equipment Requirements:


Sets of Direct Instruction Materials (textbooks, workbooks, storybooks, etc.)






Complete sets of teacher materials range in cost from $194 - $439 (15 students); all materials may be purchased separately.


For Information Contact:


Susan Campbell, Sales Representative

SRA McGraw-Hill

3610 NE Peerless

Portland, OR 97232

Phone: (503) 233-2069

(800) 933-4302 x4381600


Current Location in Nevada:


Clark County School District

McCall Elementary

800 Carey Avenue

N. Las Vegas, NV 89030

Contact: Mary Manchego

Phone: (702) 799-7149


Nye County School District

Beatty High School Round Mountain Elementary

P.O. Box 806 P.O. Box 1151

Beatty, NV 89003 Round Mountain, NV 89045

Contact: Keith Koerner Contact: Bob Chvilicek

Phone: (775) 553-2595 Phone: (775) 377-2236