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Ask A REL Response

January 2019


What is the evidence of effectiveness for the Strategic Instruction Model (SIM)?


Following an established REL Southeast research protocol, we conducted a search for research reports as well as descriptive study articles on the evidence of effectiveness for the Strategic Instruction Model (SIM). We focused on identifying resources that specifically addressed the evidence of effectiveness for the Strategic Instruction Model (SIM). The sources included ERIC and other federally funded databases and organizations, research institutions, academic research databases, and general Internet search engines (For details, please see the methods section at the end of this memo.)

We have not evaluated the quality of references and the resources provided in this response. We offer them only for your reference. These references are listed in alphabetical order, not necessarily in order of relevance. Also, we searched the references in the response from the most commonly used resources of research, but they are not comprehensive and other relevant references and resources may exist.

Research References

  1. Flores, M. M., & Franklin, T. M. (2014). Teaching multiplication with regrouping using the concrete-representational-abstract sequence and the strategic instruction model. Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals, 133-148.
    From the abstract: "The Common Core State Standards (2010) involve the demonstration of conceptual knowledge of numbers and operations. For students who struggle with mathematics and have not responded to instruction, it is important that interventions emphasize this understanding. In order to address conceptual understanding of numbers and operations in meeting the rigorous Common Core State Standards, interventions should include the use of explicit instruction, manipulation of objects, and visual representation of numbers. The current pilot study investigated the use of such a method within a tiered intervention model, the concrete-representational-abstract (CRA) sequence and the strategic Instruction Model (SIM). Six fourth grade students receiving intervention through a response to intervention model participated. Multiplication with regrouping was taught using CRA and SIM (CRA-SIM) over the course of ten lessons as part of an intervention period. Data were collected before and after CRA-SIM instruction and statistical analysis showed that students made significant gains after instruction. The practical implications and application of CRA-SIM instruction will be discussed."
  2. Flores, M. M., Hinton, V. M., & Strozier, S. D. (2014). Using the concrete-representationalabstract sequence and the strategic instruction model to teach computation to students with autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 4(4), 547-554.
    From the abstract: "There is a need for further investigation of evidence-based practices for students with autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities leading to students' success within the general education curriculum (Cihak & Foust, 2008; Rockwell, Griffin, & Jones, 2011; Schaefer-Whitby, Travers, & Harnik, 2009). The purpose of this study was to investigate the concrete-representational-abstract instructional sequence and the Strategic Instruction Model (CRA-SIM) with regard to mathematics computation performance of students with ASD and DD. Eleven elementary students with ASD and DD participated in four weeks of instruction with regard to basic additional and subtraction using CRA-SIM. A paired samples t test statistical procedure was conducted to evaluate the differences in student progress across curriculum-based measures over the course of the study. Results indicated that the students made significant progress across three CBMs administered over the course of the study. Measures of effect size also indicated that CRA-SIM had a strong effect on student performance. These results, descriptive performance results, and their implications will be discussed."
  3. Flores, M. M., Houchins, D. E., & Shippen, M. E. (2006). The effects of constant time delay and strategic instruction on students with learning disabilities' maintenance and generalization. International Journal of Special Education, 21(3), 45-57.
    From the abstract: "The purpose of this series of case studies was to compare the impact of Constant Time Delay and Strategic Instruction on the maintenance and generalization of learning. Four middle school students with learning disabilities were effectively taught two different groups of multiplication facts using Constant Time Delay and Strategic instruction. The researchers measured students' levels of maintenance and generalization after receiving each type of instruction. Maintenance data were collected using 1-minute fluency probes. Generalization data were collected using timed (1-minute) and untimed probes. Strategic Instruction appeared to have a greater impact on the students' maintenance and generalization of multiplication skills. The students' performance and perceptions are discussed in terms of potential implications for the classroom. (Contains 1 table.)"
  4. Hock, M. F., Bulgren, J. A., Brasseur-Hock, Irma F. (2017). The strategic instruction model: The less addressed aspects of effective instruction for high school students with learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 32(3), 166-179.
    From the abstract: "In this article, we discuss research supporting the Strategic Instruction Model's™ (SIM) effort to address higher order reasoning and thinking skills in two lines of programmatic research. We review the extant body of evidence supporting the two lines of the SIM library, the Content Enhancement Routines and a comprehensive reading program, and the impact that the materials have on high school students with learning disabilities (LD). This body of research includes studies utilizing multiple research designs including randomized control trials, single case multiple baseline, quasiexperimental comparison group, single group, and descriptive data analysis. We have included studies that have been conducted with a SIM comprehensive reading program and instructional routines that reflect higher order thinking. These studies provide."
  5. Mason, L. H., & Graham, S. (2008). Writing instruction for adolescents with learning disabilities: Programs of intervention research. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 23(2), 103-112.
    From the abstract: "Writing performance for a large number of adolescents, with and without learning disabilities (LD), in the United States is below the level required for success in college and in the world of work. Despite the importance of writing and students' with LD documented difficulties in this academic domain, writing intervention research for adolescents with LD is not as well established as research in other domains, such as reading. Programs of research in writing interventions for adolescents with LD, nevertheless, have provided frameworks for effective instruction for these students. Adapting criteria from Graham and Perin's (2007c) "Writing Next" report, 40 studies across six programs of research were located for our literature review in writing instruction for adolescents with LD. Based on the findings of these studies, instruction within two levels of support for adolescents with LD are recommended."
  6. Mellard, D., & Scanlon, D. (2006). Feasibility of explicit instruction in adult basic education: Instructor-learner interaction patterns. Adult Basic Education: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Adult Literacy Educational Planning, 16(1), 21-37.
    From the abstract: "A strategic instruction model introduced into adult basic education classrooms yields insight into the feasibility of using direct and explicit instruction with adults with learning disabilities or other cognitive barriers to learning. Ecobehavioral assessment was used to describe and compare instructor-learner interaction patterns during learning center models of instruction and explicit, strategic instruction. The strategic instruction produced a higher quantity of instructional time and greater parity and efficiency in the instructor-learner interaction patterns than learning center instruction, which seems to indicate that explicit instruction is a feasible alternative for adult basic education classrooms."
  7. Reichrath, E., de Witte, L. P., & Winkens, I. (2010). Interventions in general education for students with disabilities: A systematic review. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 14(6), 563-580.
    From the abstract: "Implementing effective interventions in general education increases the chances of success for students with disabilities. Often the effectiveness of interventions is not known. The aim of this review was to investigate what interventions are used in general education and what is known about their effectiveness so that educational institutions can exchange best practices and students with disabilities have better opportunities for successful participation in general education. A systematic literature search was conducted in four databases. Three investigators assessed the relevance of the studies identified. In only half of the studies is information on the effectiveness of interventions reported. Due to enormous variety in the types of interventions, effect measures, disability groups, and focus on different types of education, we chose to focus on reading interventions for improving the reading skills of students with reading and/or learning disabilities. Other interventions are shortly mentioned. All of the eight reading interventions found seem to have positive influences on reading skills. However, the methodological quality in some studies was low. Still, recommendations for actual interventions in general education are made. Measuring the effectiveness of interventions systematically and publishing the information helps others to implement effective interventions without having to reinvent them. (Contains 4 tables.)"

Additional Organizations to Consult

Center for Research on Learning, University of Kansas -

From the website: "The Center for Research on Learning is an internationally recognized research and development organization noted for creating solutions that dramatically improve quality of life, learning, and performance...especially for those who experience barriers to success. Since 1978, we have conducted research designed to develop ways to help students meet the demands of life, not just in school but after they leave school as well. Our overriding goal has been to develop an integrated model to address many of the needs of diverse learners. Out of this effort, the Strategic Instruction Model®, or SIM, has evolved.


Keywords and Search Strings
The following keywords and search strings were used to search the reference databases and other sources:

  • Strategic Instruction Model
  • Strategic Instruction Model, Intervention
  • Strategic Instruction Model, Learning Strategies

Databases and Resources
We searched ERIC for relevant resources. ERIC is a free online library of over 1.6 million citations of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences. Additionally, we searched Google Scholar and PsychInfo.

Reference Search and Selection Criteria

When we were searching and reviewing resources, we considered the following criteria:

  • Date of the publication: References and resources published for last 15 years, from 2003 to present, were include in the search and review.
  • Search Priorities of Reference Sources: Search priority is given to study reports, briefs, and other documents that are published and/or reviewed by IES and other federal or federally funded organizations, academic databases, including ERIC, EBSCO databases, JSTOR database, PsychInfo, PsychArticle, and Google Scholar.
  • Methodology: Following methodological priorities/considerations were given in the review and selection of the references: (a) study types - randomized control trials,, quasi experiments, surveys, descriptive data analyses, literature reviews, policy briefs, etc., generally in this order (b) target population, samples (representativeness of the target population, sample size, volunteered or randomly selected, etc.), study duration, etc. (c) limitations, generalizability of the findings and conclusions, etc.

This memorandum is one in a series of quick-turnaround responses to specific questions posed by educational stakeholders in the Southeast Region (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina), which is served by the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast at Florida State University. This memorandum was prepared by REL Southeast under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Contract ED-IES-17-C-0011, administered by Florida State University. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.