NIFDI is proud to support research on Direct Instruction and promote the development of emerging scholars in the field of education through research awards and fellowships. NIFDI Research Fellowships are available for graduate students, emerging scholars, and established researchers. Priority for the graduate awards will be given to projects conducted by doctoral candidates as part of their dissertation research. Proposals from Masters’ candidates and faculty supervising the work of numerous students will also be considered. Projects may address a variety of issues regarding Direct Instruction. Those that examine the efficacy of DI curricular programs and incorporate random assignment of students, classrooms, or schools will be given the highest priority. Studies that include subjects with varying demographic characteristics and in different community settings are encouraged. Additional topics that might be examined include the fidelity of implementation, the relationship of Direct Instruction to behavioral issues and self-esteem, and the role of Direct Instruction in teacher retention and satisfaction.

AWARDS:           Small grants; varies based on project scope and funding availability
WHO SHOULD APPLY:   Masters, Doctoral and Postdoctoral scholars
HOW TO APPLY:   Instructions and Evaluation Letter: pdf Research Fellowship Application Packet (906.32 kB)
    Application Form: pdf Fellowship Application Form (95.63 kB)
DEADLINE:   Applications are currently being accepted on a limited basis.

For more information, please contact NIFDI's Research Department at research@nifdi.org.

NIFDI's Fellowship Recipients

Jessica CadetteJessica Cadette, M.Ed., BCBA   Jessica Cadette is a doctoral candidate at Florida Atlantic University in Special Education with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis. Jessica has taught elementary school students with and without disabilities since graduating with her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 2003. In addition to classroom teaching, Jessica has been working as an in-home behavior therapist for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) for four years. Jessica is a National Board certified teacher specializing in middle childhood and is also a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Jessica has presented at state and national conferences on special education teacher preparation and implementation of common core standards with students with disabilities. Her research interests include Direct Instruction with students with disabilities, early intervention, and language development in children with ASD.

Jessica is currently completing her dissertation study on the effectiveness of Direct Instruction in teaching students with ASD to answer “wh-” questions. Jessica is utilizing the SRA Reading Mastery language program in a small group setting to teach her study participants to answer “what”, “who”, and “where” questions. Jessica’s study is being conducted on the campus of a charter school for high school students with ASD. She anticipates graduating in May 2015.

Julie thompsonJulie L. Thompson, M.Ed., BCBA   Julie Thompson is a doctoral candidate in Special Education at UNC Charlotte. She also earned her Master’s degree from UNC Charlotte. Prior to pursuing a PhD in special education, Julie taught students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for six years. Her current research focuses on teaching academics to students with ASD, Direct Instruction, and applied behavior analysis. She is a National Board Certified teacher in severe and multiple disabilities and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She has presented at conferences nationally on teaching academics to students with autism and severe disabilities. Currently, she works as a research assistant for the Center for Secondary Education of Students with Autism.

As a recipient of the NIFDI Research Fellowship Grant, Julie was able to conduct a study investigating the effects of proximity fading and task breaks on student responding during small group Direct Instruction in mathematics with students with ASD. Results demonstrated a functional relation between the intervention and students’ ability to actively respond during small group instruction. One student, an English Language Learner, required an instructional cue in her native language to increase her participation to mastery level. Following the promising results of this study, Julie is continuing this line of research for her dissertation and plans to extend the research by measuring generalization of active responding across DI curricula (Connecting Math Concepts and Language for Learning) as well as measuring accuracy of response and assessing mathematics skill acquisition using distal standardized measures. 

Jennifer Weber2Jennifer Weber   Jennifer Weber is a doctoral candidate at Columbia University in Teaching as Applied Behavior Analysis, a program that is part of the Comprehensive Application of Behavior Analysis to Schooling CABAS®. Currently, Jennifer teaches in a CABAS® Accelerated Independent Learner (AIL) inclusion classroom. Through NIFDI’s fellowship program, Jennifer was able to conduct research on the implementation of Corrective Reading (CR) with students with and without disabilities at a Title I school.

Jennifer tested the effects of Corrective Reading on students with and without disabilities, who were identified as reading below proficient, as according to the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJ ASK), Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA), and DIBELS® across third, fourth, and fifth grade CABAS® classrooms, that utilized behavioral principles to teach children with and without disabilities. 25 students participated in the Corrective Reading intervention and were matched to 25 counterparts within the school that functioned at similar academic levels.  

The study included:

1) a comparison between general education student's reading below proficient that receive CR as an intervention (experimental group), compared to general education students reading below proficient and receive teacher-developed reading lessons (control group), and

2) the effects of the implementation of CR on children with disabilities compared to students with disabilities who receive teacher-developed reading lessons.

Overall, four months of Direct Instruction intervention with the use of behavioral tactics increased their independent reading level as according to the DRA, anywhere from one to four levels.

pdf Summary from NIFDI Fellow Jennifer Weber: The Effects of the Corrective Reading Program on Reading Skills with Students in an Accelerated Independent Learner Classroom

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