The discrete scan statistic in a binary (0-1) sequence of n trials is defined as the maximum number of successes within any k consecutive trials (n and k, n ≥ k, being two positive integers). It has been used in many areas of science (quality control, molecular biology, psychology, etc.) to test the null hypothesis of uniformity against a clustering alternative. In this article we provide a compound Poisson approximation and subsequently use it to establish asymptotic results for the distribution of the discrete scan statistic as n, k → ∞ and the success probability of the trials is kept fixed. An extreme value theorem is also provided for the celebrated Erdős-Rényi statistic.