Book Review

Handbook on Effective Instructional Strategies: Evidence for Decision-Making

Reviewed by Arthur W. Stellar
Superintendent, Kingston City School District, Kingston, N.Y.


Educators are pragmatic professionals who want to use what works. Unfortunately, the language of the researcher often requires more painstaking time for analysis than most busy school administrators have available.

Myles Friedman, a professor of educational research at University of South Carolina, and Steven Fisher, a doctoral candidate at the same university, deserve our thanks for translating a mountain of research studies into 15 generalizations about effective instructional practices. They also discuss research on ineffective instructional practices, such as ability grouping or tracking and rewarding behavior that, despite what we intuitively believe, do not, in fact, contribute to better learning.

The handbook’s review of research looks at demonstrations to improve learning in more than 50 studies across many different content areas and with a wide variety of student populations.

Educators can determine how to make the best use of these approaches in their own settings by reviewing a general introduction, the student research base, the relevant subject areas, the instructional tactics, cautions and comments and samples from a research study or two. Related reference lists are also included for the more serious scholar.

(Handbook on Effective Instructional Strategies: Evidence for Decision-Making, by Myles I. Friedman and Steven P. Fisher, The Institute for Evidence-Based Decision-Making in Education Inc., Columbia, S.C., 1998, 312 pp. with index, $89.95 hardcover)