Individual student performance in Direct Instruction (DI) programs is dynamic. Some students outperform other students in their group. Other students have problems learning specific skills or concepts. An effective DI implementation adjusts instruction to facilitate student learning by providing more practice and support for students who are struggling and by moving students who find their current placement too easy to higher instructional groups. Knowing where and how to adjust instruction requires data. Schools implementing DI with the support of the National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI) assure optional student success by making decisions based on observational data generated by NIFDI consultants or trained school coaches, and student performance data on student mastery and progress through the DI programs.
The NIFDI data analysis system provides a comprehensive look at the performance of all students in all DI subjects every week across a school implementing DI. The system requires relatively little effort on the part of teachers to record and submit the data for review by the NIFDI consultants and the school’s leadership team. To record student progress through the programs, each teacher writes down on pdf Lesson Progress Charts (LPCs) the lessons covered by each instructional group that she or he teaches over the course of the day. To record student mastery, teachers write down on pdf Student Test Summary (STS) charts the results by individual students of informal reading “check outs” and mastery tests, which occur every five to 15 lessons depending on the DI program. Teachers also record the results of daily independent work for students in the upper levels of the programs. NIFDI supplies copies of the LPCs, STS charts and pdf Independent Work Summary sheets for all teachers.
These data are reviewed by the school leadership team and sent to the NIFDI manager and director for review and analysis. Subsequently, a telephone conference between these parties is held to discuss the performance of groups and individual children in detail. The telephone conference helps direct the coaching efforts to the areas of greatest need.
IMPORTANT: Many problems with instruction and learning can be identified through in-class coaching, but NIFDI trainers and building coaches can only see a small proportion of the instruction that occurs daily in a school. Only by having data on the performance of every child and every instructional group can problems of instruction be identified and solved in a timely manner. And only by solving instructional problems in a timely manner can student performance be maximized for all students.