Project CRISS (CReating Independence through Student-owned Strategies) is a professional development program designed to help all students read, write, and learn more effectively. Our project is based on the premise that teaching students how to learn is everyone's responsibility and that this instruction can be done very effectively within the content areas. We are firmly committed to the notion that all students, from basic to advanced, must be taught how to read and learn course information. The content areas—art to science, social studies to vocational education—provide an excellent medium for such instruction.
Because the project demonstrated persuasive evidence of effectiveness, it received validation in May 1981 as a Montana State Demonstration Site. In March 1985, the Joint Dissemination Review Panel and the National Diffusion Network (NDN) of the U.S. Department of Education approved and funded the project for grades 4-12. In March 1993, the Program Effectiveness Panel and the NDN approved and funded Project CRISS for grades 4-12. Federal funding continued through 1996, at which time the NDN lost its funding. Two federal research studies noted that effective implementation requires fidelity to the model across grades and content areas. In 2010, Project CRISS was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences What Works Clearinghouse as having an impact on adolescent reading comprehension.
Project CRISS fits into existing curricula. It is not necessary to change either the content or the materials used in any teaching situation; rather, CRISS advocates a change in teaching style.