Journal of Behavioral Education

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 215–234 | Cite as

The life and times of PSI

  • William Buskist
  • David Cush
  • Richard J. DeGrandpre


This paper describes the essential features of the personalized system of instruction (PSI). Results from outcome research examining the effectiveness of PSI-based courses relative to traditional methods provide unequivocal support for the superiority of PSI. Parametric studies, or component analyses, show that the mastery requirement, immediate performance feedback, and review units are the key features underlying high quality student performances in PSI courses. The use of student proctors as peer-tutors, optional lectures, and selfpacing do not, in and of themselves, appear to be vital to student success in PSI courses. Despite its superiority, PSI has not supplanted traditional methods as the dominant pedagogical system in higher education. Difficulties inherent in overcoming the inertia of the lecture within our established instructional system, the implications of PSI for that system, and the Zeitgeist that permeates educational reform are the major obstacles to widespread adoption of PSI.

Key words

personalized system of instruction (PSI) mastery performance feedback review units peer-tutors 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Buskist
    • 1
  • David Cush
    • 2
  • Richard J. DeGrandpre
    • 3
  1. 1.Auburn UniversityAuburn
  2. 2.Experimental Analysis of Behavior ProgramAuburn UniversityAuburn
  3. 3.Psychology ProgramUniversity of VermontBurlington

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