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Version 1.2 – Updated June 2023

Direct instruction


  • Influence: Direct instruction
  • Domain: Teaching Strategies
  • Sub-Domain: Instructional strategies
  • Potential to Accelerate Student Achievement: Potential to considerably accelerate
  • Influence Definition: Direct instruction refers to instructional approaches that are structured, sequenced, and led by teachers. Direct instruction requires teachers to: have clear learning intentions and success criteria, building a commitment and engagement among the students in the learning task; use modeling and checking for understanding in their teaching; and engage in guided practice so that every student can demonstrate his or her grasp of new learning by working through an activity or exercise under the teacher's direct supervision.


  • Number of meta-analyses: 8
  • Number of studies: 3,052
  • Number of students: 520,905
  • Number of effects: 10,392
  • Weighted mean effect size: 0.56
  • Robustness index: 5


Journal Title Author First Author's Country Article Name Year Published Variable Number of Studies Number of Students Number of Effects Effect Size
Education and Treatment of children White USA A meta-analysis of the effects of direct instruction in special education.  1988 DI in special education 25 0 24 0.83
Educational Achievement Systems Adams & Engelmann USA Research on Direct Instruction: 20 Years Beyond DISTAR 1996 DI on reading 37 0 372 0.75
English Language Teaching Alsowat Saudi Arabia Evidence-Based Practices of English Language Teaching: A Meta-Analysis of Meta-Analyses 2020 Explicit instruction on ELL 2,361 478,287 5,662 0.59
Perspectives on Behavior Science Mason & Otero USA Just How Effective is Direct Instruction? 2021 DI 39 0 39 0.79
Review of Educational Research Borman, Hewes, Overman, & Brown USA Comprehensive School Reform and Student Achievement: A Meta-Analysis 2003 DI from Comprehensive schools reforms 232 42,618 182 0.21
NASSP Bulletin Haas USA Teaching methods for secondary algebra: a meta-analysis of findings 2005 DI in algebra 10 0 19 0.55
Review of Educational Research Stockard, Wood, & Coughlin USA The effectiveness of direct instruction curricula: A meta-analysis of a half century of research. 2018 DI 328 0 3,999 0.54
National Institute for Direct Instruction Coughlin USA Research on the Effectiveness of Direct Instruction Programs: an updated metaanalysis. 2011 DI 20 0 95 0.66
TOTAL/AVERAGE 3,052 520,905 10,392 0.62
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