Don Crawford, Ph.D. email@example.com
Date sent: Tue, 22 Dec 1998 09:03:44 +0000
From: Jimmy Kilpatrick
Subject: [education-consumers] Thaddeus Lott, DI and test scores
Send reply to: Jimmy Kilpatrick
I have forwarded this to the ECC.
I have read the communication regarding Wesley Elementary School and your
response to it.
At this point, I simply do not have the time to write a thorough piece on
the many issues that could be analyzed regarding Wesley Elementary School.
However, one of the great disappointments I have experienced over the last
several years is the fact that Wesley has failed to take certain actions
regarding its overall program that would have helped perpetuate its
As you are personally aware, it was my organization (TRA) along with the
Houston Federation of Teachers (Gayle Fallon) that took dramatic action in
1991 to literally help save Mr. Lott and Wesley Elementary School from
extinction by then superintendent Dr. Joan Raymond. Anyone familiar with
the story would not challenge that assertion. The role of the Acres Homes
Citizens Chamber of Commerce in those days was critical but never fully
utilized to maximum potential.
In many ways, Wesley Elementary remains a beacon of light. But in other
ways, Wesley failed to take full advantage of the opportunities that
national exposure gave it. The charter school arrangement that Wesley,
Highland Heights, Osborne and M.C. Williams reached with Houston ISD (I
was on the Board but subsequently resigned in disgust) has only been
marginally successful in reaching its potential.
Let me be clear about this. Wesley still stands heads and shoulders above
many of Houston ISD elementaries. Its successes should be praised. What
is difficult to accept after all these years are the missed opportunities
to solidify and expand upon greatness. My realistic concern is that in
five years (probably sooner), Wesley will be a "shell" of its former self.
The reasons are many. Maybe one day I'll have a chance to write a book.
If so, the triumphs and tragedies of Wesley will surely be worth a couple
> Houston ISD is doing a better job with it's minority students then the
> "burb" districts. What is interesting is comparing Mr. Lott's Westly
> Elementary (Distar) scores in 4th and 5th grade 25-35%. In first and
> second the grades scores were 80-90% for the students. Somethings wrong
Probably your information is wrong! Perhaps you can share your
source of such data?
Those scores are not consistent with the information I have
received concerning Wesley (not Westly) Elementary that uses Direct
Instruction. For example composite scores for the ITBS from 1974-1986
show 5th graders at Wesley scoring at about grade 6.4. This ought to be
above the 50th percentile by most evaluations.
---Source is Field Report-On Track: Fifteen years of student
improvement-Wesley Elementary School, Houston, Texas. (1992) Effective
School Pracitce, 11(2) 1-3.
Of course Wesley is not the only Direct Instruction implementation
to acheive extraordinary results. There's Kreole Elementary in Moss
Point, Mississippi whose student's average went from below the 25th
percentile to 87th percentile on reading and 79th percentile in language
follwing an effective Direct Instruction implementation. The schools
fourth graders became the second hgiest performers in the state in reading
and 6th in language.
----Source is Englemann, S. (1998) Theory of mastery and
acceleration. In J. Lloyd, E. Kameenui, 7 D. Chard (Eds), Issues in
educating students with disabilities. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum
Then there is the recent Direct Instruction implementation in Utah.
Three Title I schools implemented 100% Direct Instruction, school-wide in
1994-95. These schools were among the lowest scoring in the state and had
made zero progress on percentiles for several years. Considerable data
is available in Adams, G. L. & Englemann, S. (1996) "Research on Direct
Instruction: 25 Years Beyond DISTAR" Seattle: Educational Achievement
Systems. However one anecdote might be illustrative. The students in
the sixth grade who had completed through level F of Connecting Math
Concepts took the middle school's algebra placement test for 8th grade
algebra. ALL of the students passed the test with a score of 90% or
better. Interestingly the school was acused of cheating because of the
unprecendented scores on the Woodcock-Johnson test of the students who had
had Direct Instruction for only two years- a fate they shared with
Thaddeus Lott in the beginning.
Please do not contribute erroneous data to support the unsupported
notion that Direct Instruction is only useful in beginning basic skills in
Don Crawford, Ph.D. firstname.lastname@example.org (360) 650-4992 Fax:650-7516
Western Washington Univ. Spec. Ed.-Mailstop 9090 Bellingham, WA
I am responsible for the content of this message, which does not in any
way reflect the position or policy of Western Washington University.
The essence of individualism derives not from accumulating idiosyncratic
affectations, but from stripping those affectations away.
Material forwarded by: Jimmy Kilpatrick
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