Even though he harbors doubts about whether there is a need for another education blog, friend of TE Dan Willingham has started a new blog. He thinks there is a niche for providing brief notes pointing at scientific findings that are relevant for education, and he plans to do so at daniel-willingham-science-and-education-blog. Scurry on over there and check on it. I’ll add it to the sidebar here.
Tag Archive for 'evidence'
Isn’t it unusual to get something for free that is actually worth a lot? The good folks over at Education Consumers Foundation (ECF) are giving away a small book that is quite valuable, and I encourage readers to download it, read it, and tell their friends to get it, too.
What are they giving away? It’s a book called Clear Teaching: With Direct Instruction, Siegfried Engelmann Discovered a Better Way of Teaching by Shep Barbash. As one can tell from the subtitle, it’s about Zig Engelmann’s work on education. I talked with Mr. Barbash as he worked on the manuscript for the book, read an earlier version of it, and am very impressed with this finished product. It’s even more impressive that the book is now out in the wild for free. Kudos to Mr. Barbash, John Stone, and all the others at ECF who made this happen.
Clear Teaching – The Book
Written by veteran journalist Shepard Barbash over a period of 10 years, Clear Teaching is a well-researched, highly readable introduction to Direct Instruction (DI), a systematic teaching approach which for more than 40 years has dramatically improved learning outcomes for students of all abilities and from all walks of life. The book looks at the development of DI through the early experiences of its creator, Zig Engelmann; explains the principles that underpin this approach; and looks at DI’s reception in the world of teaching, where it has been effectively shunned despite a formidable research base and example after example of transformative success.
The image at the top of the post is hot, but readers can also click here to go to the ECF page where they can download the PDF.
Does all the verbiage about the ills of education make you wonder about the reasoning skills of educational reformers? Well, it does make me have questions. I practice resisting the urge to walk away when people start attributing educational underachievement to problems we educators can’t change (poverty, for example) or to features of schooling that are like nibbling on one’s napkin rather than eating food (e.g., walls height in classrooms).
I also get a bit incensed when folks go after teachers as the bad people in the equation. I find it foolish to suggest that education simply needs to raise pay to attract more qualified people into classrooms; it is an admittedly biased sample, but there are lots of smart people going through U.Va.’s (and similar) teacher education programs. (Sadly, too many teacher education programs fill their students’ thinking with Pop-Ed bologna.) And even though I talk about dysteachia and dyspedagogia, those are references to practices, not to the people—and some of the worst cases of dyspedagogia probably can be observed in the professoriate at schools of education!
Anyway, I am glad to report that a couple of my colleagues argued a coherent case about the importance of curriculum in the effects of teaching in an editorial for the New York Daily News. In “The teacher quality conundrum: If they are the problem, why are kids gaining in math? Curriculum design is key to reform,” Dan Willingham and David Grissmer use evidence and reason to explain that it’s not the teachers per se, but the teaching that matters. I encourage people interested in sensible reform of education to read it.
In “Using Encoding Instruction to Improve the Reading and SpellingPerformances of Elementary Students At Risk for Literacy Difficulties: A Best-Evidence Synthesis,” professsors Beverly Weiser and Patricia Mathes of Southern Methodist University reviewed of studies of the effects of spelling instruction on literacy performance and found that systematic instruction in helping students to convert speech into print promotes not just spelling but also reading competence. What is more, the benefits appear to persist over time.
Using Encoding Instruction to Improve the Reading and SpellingPerformances of Elementary Students At Risk for Literacy Difficulties: A Best-Evidence Synthesis
Although connectionist models provide a framework explaining how the decoding and encoding abilities work reciprocally to enhance reading and spelling ability, encoding instruction in today’s schools is not a priority. Although a limited amount of high-quality experimental or control studies to date (N = 11) give empirical support to using direct, explicit encoding instruction to increase the reading and spelling abilities of those students at risk for literacy failure, the benefits of integrating this instruction into current reading curriculums warrant further consideration. Students receiving encoding instruction and guided practice that included using (a) manipulatives (e.g., letter tiles, plastic letters) to learn phoneme–grapheme relationships and words and (b) writing phoneme–grapheme relationships and words made from these correspondences significantly outperformed contrast groups not receiving encoding instruction. Robust Cohen’s d effect sizes, favoring the treatment groups, were found in areas of phonemic awareness, spelling, decoding, fluency, comprehension, and writing. Educational implications of these findings suggest that there is support for using encoding instruction to increase the literacy performances of at-risk primary grade students and that encoding instruction can be successful in improving the reading and spelling performances of older students with learning disabilities. Importantly, there is also evidence to support the transfer effects of early encoding instruction on later reading, writing, and spelling performances.
Over on SpedPro I have a post about an up-coming Webinar on evidence-based practices presented by Bryan Cook. A product of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and and CEC’s Division for Research, the session is billed as helping educators answer questions such as these:
- What exactly does evidence-based practice mean for practitioners?
- How are evidence-based practices different from “best practices” and “research-based practices”?
- Where can you find them?
- How should you select them?
- How can you use them?
- How can you evaluate them?
I haven’t seen the syllabus, but I bet this will be a worthwhile session. For one small fee, one can register as many folks as you can gather around a computer and a projector; and then you get a copy of the Webinar to review later, as well. It’s like a ready-made, re-usable staff-development program. To read the SpedPro post, follow this link. Alternatively, simply follow this link to register for the session!
The Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, which covers many different social programs in addition to education, announced the publication of an electronic newsletter that should be of interest to some readers. The current issue of RIGOROUS EVIDENCE Newsletter: Distinguishing Effective Evidence-Based Programs from Everything Else doesn’t have much that is precisely on point for education (though, check the entry about a teen pregnancy program), but one can bookmark the on-line site for the newsletter and check it regularly as a potential source for trustworthy content about effective educational methods.
Folks who are interested in effective teaching for students with Learning Disabilities (and other students as well) can learn a lot at the up-coming conference of the Division for Learning Disabilities in Baltimore (MD, US) later this month. Michael Gerber assembled a fine group of sessions, as shown at the end of this post.
Check out the all-star cast. Note the coverage of relevant topics ranging from RTI to math, primary to adolescent ages (with some adult interests included!), and skills to cognition. On top of the fine content, there will be excellent opportunities to mix and mingle with other people attending the conference as well as presenters and members of DLD’s executive board during social events that include breakfasts, a luncheon, and a reception. Lots of materials are included.
Learn more about the TeachingLD Conference 2010, including how to register on line.
- Using Evidence-Based Interventions to Teach Primary Level Students Early Numeracy Concepts and Skills
—Diane P. Bryant (University of Texas at Austin) & Brian R. Bryant (University of Texas at Austin)
- The Math Learning Companion: An Individualized Intervention for Students with Math Learning Disabilities
—Lindy Crawford (University of Colorado at Colorado Springs) & Barbara Freeman (Digital Directions International)
- Responsive, Comprehensive, and Intensive Intervention for Older Struggling Readers
—Lynn M. Gelzheiser (University at Albany) & Laura Hallgren Flynn (University at Albany)
- Adults with Learning Disabilities: Current Research, Evidence-based Conclusions, and Emerging Directions
—Paul J. Gerber (Virginia Commonwealth University)
- Effective Rime-Based Instruction to Improve the Decoding Skills of Students with Learning Disabilities
—Sara J. Hines (Hunter College), Jennifer T. Klein (Hunter College), & Kathleen M. Ryan (The Churchill School)
- The Essay Writing Strategy: Helping Students Write More Organized and Complete Responses to Essay Questions and Prompts
—Charles A. Hughes (Penn State University) & Bill Therrien (University of Iowa)
- Strategy Training, Problem Solving, and Working Memory in Children with Math Disabilities
—Olga Jerman (Frostig Center), Amber Moran (University of California at Santa Barbara), Cathy Lussier (University of California at Riverside), Michael Orosco (University of California at Riverside), Lee Swanson (University of California at Riverside), & Michael Gerber (University of California at Santa Barbara)
- The Technology and Pedagogy of Universal Design for Learning
—Peggy King-Sears (George Mason University)
- Early Reading Intervention for Struggling Readers
—Jill Marie Leafstedt (CSU Channel Islands) & Catherine Richards-Tutor (CSU Long Beach)
- Response to Intervention Screening and Progress-Monitoring Practices in 41 Local Schools
—Daryl F. Mellard (University of Kansas)
- Strategic Instruction for Building Vocabulary
—J. Ron Nelson (University of Nebraska, Lincoln)
- Beyond Reading Words: Improving Reading Rate, Fluency, and Comprehension
—Rollanda E. O’Connor (University of California at Riverside)
- Growth in Literacy, Language, and Cognition in Children with Reading Disabilities who are English Language Learners
—Michael J. Orosco (University of California at Riverside), Lee Swanson (University of California at Riverside), Michael Gerber (University of California at Santa Barbara), & Danielle Guzman (University of California at Santa Barbara)
- Response to Intervention in Math: An Instructional Focus
—Paul J. Riccomini (The Pennsylvania State University)
- Developing Text Level Literacy Skills in Beginning Readers
—Emily J. Solari (University of Texas Health Science Center Houston) & Alexis L. Filippini (San Francisco State University)
- Reading Progress Monitoring for Secondary School Students: Reading-Aloud and Maze-Selection Measures
—Renata Ticha (University of Minnesota) & Miya Miura Wayman (University of Minnesota)
Please note that I am compensated by DLD as its executive director so this is, indeed, a shameless promotion!