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Farewell to the NIFDI Research Team

Please join NIFDI in sending a fond farewell to our NIFDI Research team, Jean Stockard and Tim Wood. Jean has been Director of Research since 2008, and Tim has been a Research Associate since 2012. Both have been instrumental in generating original research and white papers as well as creating the Direct Instruction database.

Jean will pursue other research projects, including various facets of retirement and grandmotherhood. When reflecting on her time with NIFDI, Jean said, "I have immensely enjoyed learning about Direct Instruction and interacting with the dedicated community of educators and practitioners."

Tim will focus on completing his graduate work in historical preservation.

For the time being NIFDI's active research will be on hiatus, but we will still be updating the research database and fulfilling research paper requests. If you or your associates publish anything related to DI, please continue to forward a copy to our offices by mail or email to

First Installment of Video Series on Engelmann's Writings Released

The first of a four part video companion to the NIFDI Press text Engelmann's Direct Instruction: Selected Writings from the Past Half Century has just been released on the NIFDI website. In this one hour video, Zig Engelmann and interviewer Evan Haney discuss the first section of the book, "Theoretical Understandings of Learning and Instruction." Engelmann comments on the highlights of each of the five papers, selected from his writings ranging from 1966 to 1999. NIFDI plans on releasing the balance of the interviews over the next 3 months. To view this first installment, click here. To order the book, click here. Use coupon code save5 at checkout prior to April 30 and get $5.00 off! 

Remembering Wes Becker

BeckerMarch 17 is notable in the DI community for something other than eating corned beef and cabbage or drinking green beers. It also marks the birthday of the late Wesley C. Becker. Wes was born in Rochester, New York, in 1928 and passed away in October of 2000. He earned a BA at Stanford in 1951 and in 1955 received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and Statistics. Wes met Zig Engelmann in 1968 and worked closely with Zig and others to develop the Direct Instruction model as well as generate the research that documented the efficacy of the model. He was an amazing person of great integrity and insight. One of his former colleagues, Mark Shinn, has complied a collection of articles by and about Wes, and has kindly given us permission to pass on the link. If you would care to learn more about Wes, go to

"Fourth-Grade Slump" Examined

Over the past decade, many low-income schools throughout the country have seen an improvement in reading scores in first through third grades as schools increasingly used the research on beginning reading. However, researchers have noted a drop in reading test scores for low income students after finishing the third grade. This drop has been referred to as the "fourth grade slump."

The director of research for the National Institute of Direct Instruction, Dr. Jean Stockard, conducted a research study to see if using Direct Instruction continuously through fifth grade could overcome this phenomena. Dr. Stockard examined the results of a Direct Instruction implementation in a large low-income urban district. She focused on the performance of children who began Direct Instruction in kindergarten and first grade and continued in DI classrooms through fifth grade.

Dr. Stockard found that students in the DI programs out performed students in the District reading program and also performed above the national reading norms, thus countering the fourth-grade slump. The article was published in 2010 in the Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk. The complete article, Promoting Reading Achievement and Countering the "Fourth-Grade Slump": The Impact of Direct Instruction on Reading Achievement in Fifth Grade can be requested through . You can view the abstract of the article in the NIFDI Research Database by clicking here

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