Direct Instruction

A Good Idea


Direct Instruction (DI) is a highly structured approach to instruction designed to accelerate the learning of at-risk students. Previously known as the DISTAR (Direct Instruction Systems for Teaching Arithmetic and Reading) program and Project Follow Through, DI is based on the theory that learning is maximized when instructional presentations are clear, likely misinterpretations are eliminated, and generalizations are facilitated. Classroom teachers learn how to define tasks clearly, build toward more-complex concepts, use interactive lessons with large and small groups, use frequent praise for responses, and recognize and correct errors immediately. To maximize time spent on tasks, students are placed in instructional groups based on similar performance, and grouping may take place across classes and grades. DI can be used as a school-wide program, or the reading/language arts and math portions of the program can be implemented separately. Individual DI programs are currently used in more than 10,000 schools throughout the world, and more than 500 schools use DI on a school-wide basis.

Goal / Mission

The goal of this program is to maximize learning for all students.

Results / Accomplishments

Nearly 100 studies of the Direct Instruction program have been undertaken since the late 1960s. When results are considered across all studies, the majority of the evaluations reported at least some significant benefit accruing to students who participated in the Direct Instruction program. These benefits were found on standardized tests of general cognitive skills, reading, and mathematics, and on high school graduation rates.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Bryan Wickman
Association for Direct Instruction
P.O. Box 10252
Eugene, OR 97440
(800) 995-2464
Education / Student Performance K-12
Education / School Environment
Association for Direct Instruction
Promising Practices Network
Date of publication
Sep 2005
For more details
Target Audience