Monday, March 19, 2012

Re: What's the Meaning of 'Direct Instruction'? #2

Some blog followers might be interested in “Re: What's the Meaning of 'Direct Instruction'? #2” [Hake (2012b). The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: In response to my post “What’s the Meaning of ‘Direct Instruction’?” [Hake (2012a) at, Jack Rotman of the MathEdCC list wrote (paraphrasing):

“For those who look at direct instruction as an ‘automatic bad thing’, I would point you to the results of the largest educational research project every conducted in this country – ‘Project Follow Through.’ Start at ‘OVERVIEW: The Story Behind Project Follow Through’ [Grossen (1995/96)] to get some information.”

Contrary to Bonnie Grossen’s glowing account of “Project Follow Through,” Ellen Condliffe Lagemann (2000) in An Elusive Science: The Troubling History of Education Research wrote [my italics]:

"Some experiments ended inconclusively. One of these was the 'planned variation' strategy used in implementing Project Follow Through in the late 1960s . . . . . . . Although the Follow Through experiment seemed promising at first, to the surprise of many observers the variables involved were so difficult to identify and control that less was learned than anticipated. Even if one could identify gains and associate them with one rather than another plan for the delivery of Follow Through services, one could not be sure that those gains were a consequence of the Follow Through program as opposed to a better teacher or some other variable. Partly as a result of such problems scholars scrutinizing the same data, reached different conclusions. . . . . . as education researcher David K. Cohen (1970) concluded, all the Follow Through experiment really demonstrated was that power in education was so decentralized that the controls necessary for experimentation were virtually impossible to maintain."

To access the complete 12 kB post please click on

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Honorary Member, Curmudgeon Lodge of Deventer, The Netherlands
President, PEdants for Definitive Academic References
which Recognize the Invention of the Internet (PEDARRII)
Links to Articles:
Links to SDI Labs:

“But the important distinction is really not between the hard and the soft sciences. Rather, it is between the hard and the easy sciences. Easy-to-do science is what those in physics, chemistry, geology, and some other fields do. Hard-to-do science is what the social scientists do and, in particular, it is what we educational researchers do. In my estimation, we have the hardest-to-do science of them all! We do our science under conditions that physical scientists find intolerable.”
David Berliner (2002)

REFERENCES [URL’s shortened by and accessed on 19 March 2012.]
Berliner, D. 2002. “Educational research: The hardest science of all,” Educational Researcher 31(8): 18-20; online as a 49 kB pdf at

Hake, R.R. 2012a. “What's the Meaning of ‘Direct Instruction’? ” on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at Post of 16 Mar 2012 13:59:51-0700 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. This post initiated a thread on MathEdCC that had grown to 19 posts at on 20 March 10:05-0700. The abstract and link to the complete post are also being transmitted to several discussion lists and are on my blog “Hake'sEdStuff” at with a provision for comments.

Hake, R.R. 2012b. “What's the Meaning of ‘Direct Instruction’? #2 ” on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at Post of 19 Mar 2012 14:24:12-0700 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are also being transmitted to several discussion lists.

No comments: