DAP USED TO BE CALLED OPEN EDUCATION
Studies show it to be harmful compared to structured education.
Date sent: Thu, 05 Mar 1998 20:34:49 -0500
From: "J. E. Stone"
Subject: Studies on developmentally appropriate instruction
Here is an excellent example of why consumers need a ClearingHouse.
Gloria Hoffman in PA is serving on a school committee that is debating the
adoption of developmentally appropriate instruction. I have urged her to
ask for research showing the efficacy of DAP. The defenders of DAP, of
course, have none.
The conflict here is a classic illustration of the education community
trying to substitute its educational aims for those of the parents by means
of adopting "new and improved" curriculum and instruction. Parents want
their children to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic. DAP places social
and attitudinal aims ahead of achievement and teachers are taught that
schooling which attempts to do otherwise is known to be harmful. For
example, Gloria has been told that rigorous academic programs are known to
produce an increase the rate of teen suicide--a claim that has no credible
foundation in evidence.
What is now called DAP used to be called open education. It was intended to
produce positive social and attitudinal changes. Here is what legitimate
educational research says open education does for achievement.
Gloria's latest report:
>It is interesting though, as you told me from the beginning, they have
>offered no research to support this program. They have given me many
>articles from ASCD, NAEYC, etc. explaining the program. I think maybe
>they thought I would think the magazine articles were research. I keep
>asking for the research and promise to read anything they can give me in
>support of the program. They have nothing....It is very sad.
Ask them for studies of the kind where DAP was tried in several classes and
compared with classes that were receiving traditional instruction.
There are no studies on DAP as such but there are several studies of its
previous incarnation: "open education." Open education uses the same
methods. The most comprehensive single report on open education is:
Giaconia, R. M. & Hedges, V. L. (1982). Identifying features of effective
open education. REVIEW OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH, 52, 579-602.
This report is a meta-analysis of 153 studies and it is published in the
most stringently reviewed source in educational research. A meta-analysis
is a report that summarizes the results of many studies by many
investigators. It found negative achievement effects in all areas as well
as negative effects on achievement motivation.
If the committee wants more, there are 3 other meta-analyses on open versus
traditional classrooms reported in:
Lipsey, M. W. & Wilson, D. B. (1993). The efficacy of psychological,
educational, and behavioral treatment, confirmation from meta-analysis.
AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGIST, 48(12), 1181-1209.
In the face of such a vast array of evidence, there can be no reasonable
doubt that the unstructured classroom methodologies now called DAP have a
negative effect on both actual achievement and on student motivation to achieve.
J. E. Stone, Ed.D.
Education Consumers ClearingHouse
P.O. Box 4411
Johnson City, TN 37602
phone & fax 423-282-6832
EDUCATION CONSUMERS CLEARINGHOUSE