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Research on the effectiveness of Direct Instruction (DI) has spanned over 40 years, consistently providing support for the assertion that all children can learn if provided with appropriate instruction. Studies involving Direct Instruction curricula and its implementation have been conducted with a wide variety of populations, in different settings, and within all subject areas related to the programs. This report from the National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI) provides citations to many of these studies.

The document has five major sections. The first section lists the DI programs that have been developed over the years, with separate sections for different subjects. Sections II, III, and IV focus on studies of DI’s effectiveness, categorizing the studies by the type of research design and curricular focus. Section II lists studies that utilized randomized control designs, while Section III lists studies that used quasi-experimental and other designs. Section IV lists the studies noted in Sections I and II by year of publication, beginning with the most recent. Studies that have been abstracted in NIFDI’s on-line searchable research base are indicated by an asterisk in this section.

Section V lists a wide variety of other work related to Direct Instruction. The first subsection includes a broad range of general articles and books. This is followed by criticisms and responses, writings on Project Follow Through, and then material related to specific subject areas and target audiences. An extensive sub-section (Q) lists studies that were instrumental in the development of the programs and the two final subsections list unpublished dissertations and theses and case-study reports from individual schools and districts.

This compilation of citations will be regularly updated. Because the body of research related to Direct Instruction is so large, many studies may not have been included or may be wrongly classified. Researchers who know of other studies that should be added, including unpublished manuscripts such as dissertations and thesis projects, or who have other suggestions for corrections are asked to send their ideas to the NIFDI research office at research@nifdi.org .

Click here to see the latest addition to NIFDI's tools and resources on DI research: A Bibliography of the DI Curriculum and Studies Examining its Efficacy

Implementing Direct Instruction Successfully

When implemented fully, Direct Instruction (DI) is unparalleled in its ability to improve student performance and enhance students’ self-esteem. In order to implement DI effectively, much more is required than simply purchasing instructional materials. The following two-part tutorial guides administrators, teachers, and coaches through the key features of a successful DI implementation. Part I provides an overview of the steps schools need to take in preparation for a DI implementation before school starts, while Part II provides an overview of the steps schools need to take after school has started.

IMPORTANT: This tutorial is an intensive video series comprised of 18 segments, each followed by a series of questions. Users should allow approximately three hours to watch the videos and complete the questions. NIFDI recognizes the high demand for time placed on school officials and, for this reason, has structured the tutorial so users may stop at any time and later resume where they left off.

Enroll in the tutorial here

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New to Direct Instruction? Watch the Introduction to Direct Instruction Video Series before taking the online tutorial.

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