April 17, 2008

More Gering Data

(Continued from previous post)

I know the in DI, they hit language instruction hard. Think of it as the "content" course you need before you get to the other content courses. Language is content.

Not unsurprisingly Gering is posting better language results.

Take for example example these scores from the Terra Nova Language test which show Gering fifth graders who received 3 yrs of DI language arts instructions compared to Gering seventh graders who did not.

That's even better than the reading scores.

How about some scores from Gering second graders on the Gates-MacGinitie Word Knowledge test.

The 2007 cohort received three years of DI instruction (grades K-2), the 2006 cohort received two years (grades 1-2), the 2005 cohort received 1 year (grade 2). Either the 2007 cohort had a lot of smart kids compared to the other cohorts or they learned a lot more words.

There's also been a lot of talk about NCLB causing schools to neglect the non-reading and non-math classes, such as social studies and science. Certainly, in DI a strong focus is placed on English Language Arts and Reading, but Gering doesn't appear to be suffering in these areas.

These are Terra Nova Science and Social Studies for 3rd and 4th grades. Remember you need to be able to read the tests in order to correctly answer questions. That point seems lost on many edu-pundits.

Finally, we turn to writing scores. The following scores show the improvement that Gering Hispanic students made in comparison to other Hispanic students in Nebraska as each cohort received more DI instruction in writing.

Gering went from significantly performing below the state average to performing better than the state average.


Robert Sperry said...

Did they also do the DI math?

If not, do they plan to?

Anonymous said...

Looks like they are using Saxon math

Full-school, language AND math total curriculum and instructional change takes years to do (the exception being when a school starts up from scratch, and they add one grade per year). It takes about 5 years to get the reading and language programs in place and operating well so that the level of support can be reduced. The up-front expenses are the largest, so they will likely be able to continue WITHOUT Reading First money (initial classroom materials, just books etc. are in the $10 000 per classroom range, but those are mostly non-consumable). Coaching and support from NIFDI are needed until they have teachers on staff who can take on some of those roles.

The DI Language instruction is really the "secret" weapon that makes such a big difference in the later grades. The new editions of Reading Mastery -- Reading Mastery Plus -- have the Language lessons built in. The results from using both the Language and RM together vs. Fast Cycle alone show a quantum difference. Fast Cycle reliably gets kids reading at a second grade level but they do not necessarily hold their gains (in a non-DI environment) and continue their growth.

With the addition of the Language curricula, most will not only demonstrate second grade reading/decoding skills, but also significant gains in vocabulary, verbal reasoning, oral language and general knowledge. They master word relationships in a way that fosters new vocabulary learning through incidental exposure (something that typically does not happen with low-SES or low ability students).

In our experience (non-DI school using DI for intervention) students with possible exceptionalities test a whole SD higher after a year of DI language than previously, which is enough to get them reclassified (moderate to mild cognitive delay, or mild delay to low average, etc.) Kids who are low performers for ELL or general language delay frequently blossom and turn into strong students by third and fourth grade.

The upper grades are where you see the real payoff for DI language, because it teaches components of verbal reasoning and these all come together with the decoding skills and vocabulary to enhance that elusive "reading comprehension."

Reading Mastery III-VI also teach advanced reading and language skills including vocabulary, general knowledge, analytic skills (comparison, finding similarities, deductions, rule applications, literary devices, genre, author's purpose, etc.), always in small bits that are followed up and consolidated in situ over a period of time.

Anonymous said...

Are they using Reasoning and Writing?

Anonymous said...

Palisadesk, What exactly do you mean by the "language instruction".

I homeschool my language delayed son. He's 9 years old. We've completed Funnix, RM plus 3 and are about 20 lessons into RM plus 4. We're also using Reasoning and Writing, currently on lesson 65 of C, having completed B.

Possibly because I'm already using the plus program, I don't recognize language as a seperate component? I ask because I have the Rainbow edition (6) on the shelf for later, bought cheap off of e-bay.

We also have completed CMC C and are half way through D. Love, love, love the DI. Wish I could find some where else to buy from. SRA breaks the bank.

Sorry for the off-topic comment. I enjoyed watching the Gering kids in the classroom, getting the quality instruction they deserve. I wish, oh I wish, this type of classroom were available to my son. Unfortunately, our local school district uses, among other "tools", Reading Recovery for remediation. What an exercise in pointlessness that was.

Anonymous said...

I don't know exactly what they are using but the video did have a scene where I clearly saw them using Reasoning and Writing (Level D or E).

My guess is that in K-1 they are using Language for Learning and Language for Thinking and/or the equivalent components that have been incorporated into Reading Mastery Plus.

I've got the K edition of RM plus and the Language strand has much of L4L included but not quite as comprehensively; I haven't compared them line by line to note the differences. I loaned mine to a friend teaching kids with developmental disabilities and may have to threaten police action to get it back;-)

We have had really impressive results from using the language programs in the early stages. I haven't had a chance to use the new Language for Writing or High Performance Writing yet. The emphasis on reasoning and thinking skills is one of the aspects of the DI language programs that sets them apart. There are other good programs that teach organization, mechanics etc but the DI instructional design with its complex interwoven tracks incorporates more, and more effectively, than anything else I know of.

The oral language development has been especially important for our students.

Stacy in NJ, you might want to join the DI listserv. Parents and others occasionally sell used materials there. I got most of my materials off Ebay and a few from the district recycling centre (aaaakkkk!). Extra student books can be picked up easily on used book sites but the TP materials are harder to track down.