Precision Teaching Series – Part 1 of 5: What is Precision Teaching?


The Precision Teaching Series

This series of 5 blogs will introduce you to the Precision Teaching Method created by Ogden R. Lindsley for data collection, data analysis and decision making.


Using Frequency

In my recent blogs, I have described how frequency can be used as a highly sensitive measurement of human behavior. We now know that:

  • All behaviors have a frequency and a range of frequencies
  • Counting the frequency and matching it against a known standard is a quick, easy, direct measure of where this individual’s performance ranks against what is currently known and accepted as a standard of excellence
  • Over the past 50+ years, a huge body of data has been recorded on many human behaviors
  • Knowing the frequency of a specific behavior can be very helpful in determining client placements and intervention strategies
  • Knowing about the changes of frequencies over a period of time is even more helpful
  • Frequencies taken over time provide us a measure of the rate at which the behavior is changing or stabilizing
  • Given a particular rate of change, we can now make an educated guess about how soon the behavior will enter the range of acceptability
  • We can now see how quickly the rate of behavior change is accelerating, decelerating or if it is remaining static.
  • Such information assists us in making decisions about current and next steps in a treatment program.

Precision Teaching

The late Dr. Ogden R. Lindsley spent most of his professional life at Harvard and University of Kansas studying the frequencies of human behavior and creating the branch of Behavior Analysis known as Precision Teaching.

  • Precision Teaching has its own unique tools, including the Standard Celeration Chart system
  • Precision Teaching has its own international research journal
  • Precision Teaching has its own Special Interest Group (SIG) within the International Association for Behavior Analysis which meets annually each May
  • Precision Teaching has its own international conference
  • Precision Teaching has its own Listserve hosted by the University of Pennsylvania

If we are going to measure the frequency of specific behaviors, such as oral reading, over a period of time, it would be helpful to record the data so that it can be visually represented in a standard fashion and easily understood by anyone familiar with the Standard Celeration Chart. The Standard Celeration Chart provides practitioners with a uniform method for collecting and displaying data so that you do not have to try to compare different scales when comparing results. It is the stethoscope of psychological tools.

Once you understand the chart, analyzing anyone’s data becomes incredibly simple and easily shared. Let’s take a tour of the Standard Celeration Chart.

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