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Model Programs Database

Direct Instruction Model

PO Box 11248
Eugene, OR 97440

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Contact Information:
Kurt Engelmann

Program Specification:






Moderate Evidence of Effectiveness

Age/Grade Level:

Target Settings:

Target Groups:

Middle School


School Wide


Other Participation Criteria:

All Ethnicities


Direct Instruction (DI) is a model for teaching that emphasizes well-developed and carefully planned lessons designed around small learning increments and clearly defined and prescribed teaching tasks. It is based on the theory that clear instruction eliminating misinterpretations can greatly improve and accelerate learning. A crucial element in the implementation of DI in most cases is change. Teachers will generally be required to behave differently than before and schools may need an entirely different organization than they previously employed. Even staff members will be called upon to alter some operations.

Program Descriptors Include:
Academic Improvement, GED, Mentoring/Tutoring, Service Learning, Life Skills Training

Starting Date: 1968
Students Served Per Year: 250-500
Last Verified: 2009

Risk Factors:

Protective Factors:

Program addresses the following:

Individual factors

  • Low achievement
  • Low educational expectations
  • Lack of effort
  • Low commitment to school

Family factors

  • Low socioeconomic status

Program promotes the following:


  • Opportunities and rewards for pro-social involvement
  • Involvement with positive peer activities


  • Problem-solving skills

Program Resources:

Annual Cost:

The annual cost range of the program is $25,000 - $100,000.

Funding Sources Include:

Program Staff Includes:

Federal Agencies
State Agencies
Local/City/County Agencies
School Districts

School Administrators

Materials Used:

Supporting / Partner Organizations:

Instructional Texts/Manuals


Evaluation Information:

NIFDI, founded by the creators of Direct Instruction, continues to be directed by the originators of the Direct Instruction approach. Schools fully implementing the NIFDI approach produce evidence of success in direct proportion to teaching improvements. The most significant improvement in standardized test data is likely to become evident in the third year of implementation. The greatest gains are normally shown by students who began using DI in kindergarten and have continued through second grade and beyond. A report from the American Institutes for Research for AASA, AFT, NAESP, NASSP and NEA of all schoolwide reform models indicated that 32 of 34 qualifying studies demonstrated a positive effect of Direct Instruction on student achievement. In addition, DI was reported effective in improving overall achievement plus achievement in language, reading, mathematics, spelling, health and science. Perhaps most interesting, it had a positive effect on these affective behaviors and social skills: self esteem/concept, attitudes toward self and school, attribution of success or failure to self or outside, sense of responsibility and high school success.

How evaluation data was collected:
Outside experimental studies
Data collected and analyzed at school/district level
Data collected and analyzed at state or organizational level

Additional Evaluation Information:

National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities
209 Martin Street
Clemson, SC 29631-1555
Toll Free: 866-745-5641
TDD: 866-212-2775
Fax: 864-656-0136
Email: NDPCSD-L@clemson.edu

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Last Updated: May 24, 2015