July 1, 2008

Question 5: Various Questions about DI

Robert asks:

What is the total number of people/budget for R&D in DI? What portion of that is outside of Eugene Oregon?

I'm not privy to the inner workings of the various DI organizations like ADI and NIFDI and the Becker/Engelmann Corp, but I do know they are small organizations.

Why are not more of the materials made targeted at the home school market? 100 math lessons, 100 writing lessons..etc.

This is probably a licensing issue with SRA. I agree that it would be a good idea to adapt the DI materials for the homeschooling crowd which is a big untapped market.

It seems to me that DI is good at instilling basic skills, probably to about the 5th grade level. But that there must be a transition at some point to a more conceptual, self directed learning style after that. Such that an properly prepared 5th grader (or 6th or 7th etc) should be able to be given a algebra book and expected to learn form it and ask questions every few days if they need help. Given that I know this happens with some kids, I think it good to figure out if this could happen with more kids. Part of this also has to deal with instilling an internal drive, because an unmotivated child being given an algebra book isn't going to get real far.

Drawing back a bit, DI can be used to transmit known systematized information, but at some point the learner needs to get beyond that into creating knowledge of their own...it seems like there should be some more transitions between DI and Graduate School, but I am not sure what those transitions look like.

Any ideas?

I am somewhat familiar with most of the DI classroom materials. Most of the scaffolding is systematically removed between level 1 and level 6 with the intention that students completing level 6 should be ready for instruction in a more traditional classroom setting or independent work.

I don't know how successful this transition is with lower performers; the data is scant.

Does DI have any long term affect on measured IQ?

I doubt it. I doubt it even has an effect in the short term. The Follow Through students all took Ravens Progressive Matrix tests (which is highly g-loaded) which did not show significant improvement in IQ. However, IQ is often estimated from achievement tests and on achievement tests the DI students showed substantial improvement in achievement and IQ in the short term. But, the achievement tests require further achievement gains to maintain gains, so its difficult to attribute this achievement to DI once the students are out of DI.

What can be done to improve long term IQ?

Presently, it appears that we don't know of anything that is capable of improving IQ past adolescence.

What can be done to maximize a persons ability to capitalize on the IQ that they have? (outside if DI)

Clear teaching and sufficient practice for retention.


jh said...

Great post. Thank you for a terrific service.

FWIW - I recall seeing some evidence in Zig's most recent book that he increased the IQ of his very low SES students significantly in his preschool program.

KDeRosa said...

The basis of that claim is achievement test/IQ correlations.

DI is an efficient teaching method and kids learning through DI learn more than they normally would in a more typical learning program. As a result, when they take achievement tests, they will perform better and their IQ estimated from these tests will appear to be higher. But the evidence does not suggest that real gains have been permanently been made to their IQ.

jh said...

Interesting . . .

Does this mean that IQ is systematically underestimated in low SES children (vs. if they had a proper education)?

KDeRosa said...

I think what is underestimated is the amount these children are capable of learning, not their IQ.

palisadesk said...

>The basis of that claim is achievement test/IQ correlations.

No, it isn't. It is pre/post testing using the Stanford-Binet IQ test (individually administered).

From what he has posted here and elsewhere, I infer that Ken is not especially familiar with the details of the Engelmann-Bereiter preschool and its results (these are NOT to be confused with Project Follow-Through, as they were separate initiatives. The preschool project came first).

There are several published articles, with detailed charts and data on IQ (among other things). I have hard copies and have posted the references before. I can cite them again if anyone wants to look them up (you need a university library or something similar).

It would have been interesting to see what IQ's these kids scored as adults. They were low to start with, and all reached 100-139 on the S-B by the end of preschool. Engelmann followed up (informally) on most of them. Many went on to post-secondary education and/or professional and "middle-class" jobs despite attending rotten ghetto schools. The likelihood of their doing that (given their demographic data) was virtually zero.

Whimbey's Intelligence Can Be Taught, while old, is worth a read. The "outliers" in the cases of separated identical twins are particularly interesting.

There are no systematic studies testing the hypothesis that IQ can be raised long-term via intensive intervention early on with DI-like procedures. There are, however, individual case studies (and plenty of them) that are suggestive. Another factor that ought to cause some head-scratching is the frequently-observed phenomenon of poor readers -- of every SES level -- scoring lower and lower on IQ tests over time. One who starts out at 121 in early elementary may be 105 or 95 by the end of junior high. Psychologists are quite aware of this phenomenon though they may not wish to announce it from the rooftops.

Schools may not be able to raise IQ but they sure know how to lower it.

Bearing in mind that intelligence is a product of both environmental and genetic factors, the interaction of these can be manipulated to enhance or suppress it. Since we don't yet have a commitment to teach low-SES kids even the basics, it's no wonder there is no coherent initiative to raise the level of intellectual functioning systematically.

KDeRosa said...

My mistake, though I don't think it affects my conclusion. The results from IQ tests given to very young children, like the ones in preschool, are not very reliable.

I'm familiar with the B/E preschool from ENgelmann's general audience books, but I don't have access to the underlying research that resulted.

In Teaching Needy Kids, Engelmann writes that the IQ gains were 24 points (from 97 to 121).

In the Perry Preschool project, the ABCerian project, and E/B preschool, the researchers found substantial IQ gains for these intense preschool interventions, yet no one appears to be able to achieve the same results in K-3, even DI and High Scope (Perry Preschool).

It would be a very big deal if someone was actually able to increase IQ because such an increase in IQ would be of enormous benefit in grades 6-12 and beyond.

PalisadesK, if you want to summarize this research, I'll post it for you.

Anonymous said...

I sure would like to know more about the Engelmann-Bereiter preschool.

I'm ordering a copy of Give your child a superior mind. I wonder what that's all about...some of the amazon reviews would make Glenn Doman parents feel jealous...


palisadesk said...

>I'm ordering a copy of Give your child a superior mind. I wonder what that's all about

It's an interesting and highly readable book, with activities to do to develop reasoning, language and math skills from infancy to age 5 or so. Doman's results have never been replicated by outsiders, nor his empirical findings validated, so it's no surprise that Engelmann's work might have a more loyal following. There's no magic, though -- he tells parents what and how to foster their children's intellectual growth, but they still have to DO it, not just read about it;-)

Another very helpful book Engelmann wrote for parents is entitled Your Child Can Succeed. It's out of print but easy to find on used book sites like abebooks.com

>I sure would like to know more about the Engelmann-Bereiter preschool.

A good book about the preschool is one he co-authored with Carl Bereiter, Teaching Disadvantaged Children in the Preschool. It goes into a lot of detail about the preschool program. With some changes of terminology, the book could be re-published today as something "new," so little has been learned from its message. We still try to ignore the language gaps that many children bring to school, and imagine we can teach "reading" effectively to those whose basic language skills are seriously deficient. Engelmann developed ways of rapidly accelerating language growth so that reading could be much more efficiently taught (and with far better results, especially where that elusive "reading comprehension" is concerned).

For the primary grades, he wrote an excellent, very detailed book called Preventing Failure in the Primary Grades which elucidates the steps needed to teach basic and advanced language and math skills to children who are poorly prepared at school entry, for whatever reason. You don't need to buy one of his programs to do it, he shows you how to develop instructional sequences to teach specific skills etc. that anyone can use with any curricula.

The article I was referring to earlier about IQ was this one:

Engelmann, S. (1970). The effectiveness of Direct Instruction on IQ performance and achievement in reading and arithmetic. In J. Hellmuth (Ed), Disadvantaged child: Vol 3, Compensatory education: A national debate. New York: Brunner/Mazel

I will have to dig up my copy. Maybe I can mail a photocopy to Ken, I do not have the data analysis skills he has. It is very suggestive -- all kids ended up with IQ at or over 100, and one as high as 139. There were control groups, one middle-class and one similar in SES. Though there was no formal follow-up, many of these children ended up as successful adults who completed secondary and post-secondary education -- something almost never occurring in the 'hood from which they came. It is reasonable to hypothesize that their strong start gave them advantages that continued to pay off, like residual income, over the years. They did not regress to their baseline.

The Engelmann preschool results were replicated elsewhere but I do not have that info handy. There was alsoa DI elementary school in the midwest or west that served mainly low-income or working-class kids and where they monitored IQ (with the CogAT I think) from K to 3rd or 4th grade, and found that they got a steady increase of about 1 standard deviation IIRC. I saved that somewhere. I found it interesting because it was a school application.

It's not the only one, though. Another study published in the Harvard Educational Review tracked a cohort of students from a low-SES school over a 25-year period or so and found that a particular first grade teacher consistently raised the IQ's of students and that these students continued to succeed in upper elementary, secondary and beyond. Exactly what this teacher did that generated such consistent results over so long a period of time cannot be exactly determined, but it does suggest that schools are not powerless to change outcomes for students in poverty or from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The more we learn about epigenetics, neuroplasticity etc. the clearer it becomes that "IQ" and other characteristics are not fixed, but are genetically influenced. It's probably a more apt analogy to consider IQ as a range with a spread of possible development that is significantly influenced by environmental variables.

Programs like the E-B preschool, if followed up appropriately, could provide some real insights here.

Anonymous said...

palisa wrote:
Doman's results have never been replicated by outsiders, nor his empirical findings validated, so it's no surprise that Engelmann's work might have a more loyal following.
The former is true, but not the latter. There are thousands all over the world who have read the books and follow the Doman method. There are many who send their kids to the Institutes or variants such as NACD, Family Hope Center and the Shichida schools is popular in Asia.

Compare that to an out of print book from decades ago-I have found very few references to it on the web.

We're still in the educational dark ages.


Anonymous said...

re: IQ
please also see
Improving fluid intelligence with training on working memory


and an implementation of the dual n-back game that was used in the study:


This website has an alternate version of the dual n-back game as well as other tests