Precision Teaching Series – Part 2: The Benefits of the Standard Celeration Chart


Although there are three different scales for measuring temperature, (Fahrenheit, Celsius and Absolute), there is a simple device, a thermometer, that typically provides the information in two of the three scales. When our weather forecast provides us with a number in degrees that indicates the current and anticipated temperature, we can easily understand, use and share this information as needed. It is standardized.

Science, on the other hand is not standardized. It uses a vast array of charts, with different scales on the ordinates and abscissas. There is no standard measurement system that is universally used to present data. The disadvantage to this is that when you have different scientists reporting data in different ways, it makes it much more difficult to compare results and develop a clear picture of what the data is trying to tell you.

Education isn’t any better. Some results are reported as percentages (e.g.87%), some as counts (e.g. 17/20), some as letter grades (e.g. B+), some as indicators (e.g. needs improvement) etc. It is nearly impossible to develop a real picture of a student’s skills in any area of study.

The Standard Celeration Chart (SCC)

  • Provides a standard method for presenting data
  • Displays a count over time measure which is always reported as “Count per 1 minute”. 
  • Plots behavior directly indicating corrects and errors. 
  • Given a few days data, it shows the rate of change of the behavior being observed.
  • Allows fast, fairly accurate prediction of future scores based on what we now know.
  • Has a known standard marked on the chart to show the objective or standard to be reached
  • Provides a record floor so you know how long the measurement lasted.
  • Allows fast accurate transmission of information in a form everyone understands.
  • Captures data for periods of as long as 20 weeks on a single sheet of paper. 
  • Two charts will hold all of the data for any single topic (see/Say word list) for an entire school year of 40 weeks.
  • Allows all charts for all students to be synchronized to the first day of school so that the effects of children entering later in the year can be incorporated into the information.
  • Can be taught to children as young as those entering Third Grade reducing the teacher’s workload and involving the students in decisions based on their own data.

The Standard Celeration Chart in Practice

During the 3 years that I ran my private school, every student was taught to collect data on a variety of pinpoints in reading, math, spelling, and other subjects and to record it on the SCC. Each child had a duo-tang filled with their charts.

They were taught to share their charts with a teacher if they did not see improvement within any 3 day period.

Once a month, we held a pot-luck dinner at the school for all of the students, their parents and whoever else wished to attend (e.g. grandparents, siblings etc.) After dinner, the staff provided an academic upgrading report and then each student shared his or her charts with his or her parents. Chart share was followed by a question and answer period. It was interesting to see parents comparing charts and asking questions with the data right in front of them. Often times, a student would provide the answer to their question.

The SCC provided a forum. It provided complete transparency and ensured clear communication between the student and his or her parents, his or her teachers and anyone else who wanted to know.

With the academic program for the autistic students in Hong Kong, the teachers, scanned and sent me charts on every student every month. In the beginning, I would receive more than 100 separate charts. We would then hold an hour long video conference to discuss those charts which presented issues. As the program became better established, and the teachers became more skillful, the number of charts needing to be discussed in our videoconferences dropped to a very small number. The teachers already had interpreted the data and acted on it. The issues to be addressed became less and less frequent. At that point, the program became independent of me, except for consultation on an as-needed basis.

If you or your organization would benefit from a data system like this, let me know. I will keep adding information to assist you in setting up a Precision Teaching measurement system.

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