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Precision Teaching: “The Learner Is Always Right”

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1 Precision Teaching: “The Learner Is Always Right”
A Collection of the Works of Others Rene’ Fetchkan EDSP 765 8/9/05 ©2005

2 Do These Ideas Sound Familiar??????
Mastery Fluency Skill Teaching Struggling Learners Criterion-Referenced Assessment and Instruction Charting School-wide norms comparisons Benchmarks Performance Standards Fetchkan, 2005

3 Old Ideas Are New Again…
“Using fluency standards and brief, timed assessment procedures, [researchers] been able to identify students in need of special help with a higher degree of predictive validity, and greater cost-effectiveness than when using more traditional screening techniques.”   With regular (e.g., monthly) one-minute timings on clusters of skills throughout entire schools and school systems, administrators and curriculum specialists have been able to track students' progress (and program effectiveness) across curriculum areas, classrooms, grade levels, and schools with a remarkable degree of precision and objectivity.” (Binder, 1988) Fetchkan, 2005

4 Old Ideas are New Again…, cont.
“Similar to Seeley (1988), who argues for a policy shift in education from "process accountability to product accountability," ….  A key recommendation based on Precision Teaching results is that schools, no matter what instructional methods or curricula they choose, should use empirically-based fluency standards and (at least) monthly assessments on critical skills to define educational success, to compare the results of educational programs, to make curriculum and policy decisions and to conduct cost-effective educational diagnosis and placement.” (Binder, 1988) Fetchkan, 2005

5 But Be Advised………. Precision Teaching is NOT = CBM/CBA
Refer to the Article in your Packet: Binder, C. ( 1990). Precision teaching and curriculum based measurement. Journal of Precision Teaching, 7(2), Fetchkan, 2005

6 Ogden Lindsley’s Vision
“The method of instruction called Precision Teaching was first formulated by Ogden Lindsley, who left basic behavioral research at Harvard Medical School in 1964 to develop Precision Teaching at the University of Kansas…”  “From the beginning, Lindsley set out to ‘put science in the hands of students and teachers’ in the form of measurement procedures designed to support educational decision-making for individual students.” Retrieved 7/23/05,

7 Lindsley’s Vision, cont.
Why Was it Named Precision Teaching? [Question and Answer contributed by Dr. Ogden Lindsley, 9/00.] Ogden Lindsley named Precision Teaching because "what was really new in our procedure was precision, we decided to use that as an adjective in front of whatever it was one was doing: hence in our case, ‘precision teaching.’ Lindsley hoped that the standard recording and charting system would be used throughout the behavioral fields as Precision School Psychology, Precision Social Work Precision Speech Therapy, and so on. The field experts would keep their name as the noun and use the adjective ‘precision’ to describe the method standard to all.” Retrieved 7/23/05 from Fetchkan, 2005

8 What is Precision Teaching?
Formative assessment in instruction Developed from Behaviorist methodology (Applied Behavioral Analysis, Verbal Behavior, others) Complementary to Direct Instruction (DI), which is how many apply PT, but does not need to be exclusively used only when using DI Works with “constructing behavioral [including academic skill] repertoires” to provide effective instruction and measure skill growth Fetchkan, 2005

9 What is Precision Teaching, cont.
“The key components of Precision Teaching are: to set time-based mastery criteria for each curriculum step, to provide daily opportunities for practice and timed measurement, to chart performance on a graph called the Standard Behavior [Celeration] Chart and to change procedures when the chart shows they're not working (Pennypacker, Koenig and Lindsley, 1972; White and Haring, 1980).” (Binder, 1988) Fetchkan, 2005

10 What is Precision Teaching, cont.
Curriculum objectives broken into skill steps (component to composite skills) Skill steps are taught and practiced, peer tutoring/paired learning often occurs Daily, minutes for skill lesson, practice, skill measurement and charting Instruction builds in direct engagement in the skill; argues that most general instruction does not engage the learner in the targeted skill for enough direct instruction Results of charting lead to skill or instructional changes or directions, helps to know when learner is ready to move on The primary goal of instruction is to build fluency with a skill; fluency implies readiness to expand understanding and comprehension Fetchkan, 2005

11 Precision Teaching “REAPS” Benefits
Retention – meaningful recall of info Endurance- of quality recall over time Application - over settings, incorporating simple into complex skills PS – Performance Standards, or the targeted benchmark set for fluent behavior Summarized from Kubina & Morrison, 2000 Fetchkan, 2005

12 What Does the Research Say?
“Perhaps the most widely cited demonstration …was the Precision Teaching Project in the Great Falls, Montana school district…Teachers engaged elementary school students in 20 to 30 minutes per day of timed practice, charting, and decision-making in a range of basic skills over a period of four years.  The results were improvements between 19 and 44 percentile points on subtests of the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, as compared with children in control group classrooms elsewhere in the same school district.  These are exceptionally large improvements with a comparatively small expenditure of time and effort.”  Fetchkan, 2005 (Binder, 1988)

13 What Does the Research Say?, cont.
“One series of classroom studies (Binder, 1985) showed that simply by adding brief, timed practice periods to the class day, teachers can improve students' performance levels and learning rates.  Such explicitly timed practice, independent of any other instructional intervention, may be among the most cost-effective educational methods available.  Other less formal Precision Teaching results have shown that children can master entire years of curriculum in a few months, and can learn advanced skills far earlier than usually taught in public schools.” (Binder, 1988) Fetchkan, 2005

14 What Does the Research Say
What Does the Research Say? As Summarized by Merbitz and colleagues, Chapters 4 & 5, Evidence-Based Educational Methods Private schools and learning centers raise achievement by 1 grade level in 20 hours of instruction (p. 47) In Great Falls, after 4 years of PT methods used, HS’s were overwhelmed with students wanting AP classes (p. 49) PT “is the quintessential form of data-driven decision-making” (p. 49), an “astonishingly powerful technology (p. 48) Has been applied to hand movements (pp ) and other behaviors of autism with success (p. 71), took Lovaas’s methods from simple acquisition to fluency of skill Fetchkan, 2005

15 What Does the Research Say
What Does the Research Say? As Summarized by Merbitz and colleagues, Chapters 4 & 5, Evidence-Based Educational Methods Has been successfully used with college/adult learners, TBI, severe disabilities, rehab patients with success (p.69-71) Has been successfully applied to self-charting of thoughts. feelings and urges for self-improvement (p. 74) Fetchkan, 2005

16 HOW Evidence-Based is the Research?
What I’ve been able to find are Research Level I and Level II studies, or narratives, but at best, mostly meeting criteria for “possible” (not “strong”) evidence of instructional effectiveness; lack of experimental design. What I can’t find are many extensive, evidence-based studies in schools other that the Sacajawea Project, which in itself reports convincing data but did not use a rigorous research design; more descriptive and testimonial-type literature. Some, but lack of true RCT studies; but PT is 25+ years old, and only more recently have research standards been more explicit. There needs to be an emergence of convincing information using contemporarily defined research standards. Rick Kubina, Penn State, is a prominent researcher in this area today Fetchkan, 2005

17 Precision Teaching- It’s All About the Fluency!!!
Fluency NOT = Accuracy; = Acc + Speed “Whether it be speaking a foreign language, completing basic arithmetic calculations, reciting knowledge of American history, reading a story aloud, playing the guitar, dancing, or using computer software, masterful performance is quick and nearly automatic, rather than slow and hesitant.  People can observe this difference in their own behavior and in the behavior of others.  Yet conventional percentage correct scores, the standard in our educational system, cannot differentiate between these obviously different levels of achievement (Barrett, 1979).” (Binder, 1988) Fetchkan, 2005

18 Precision Teaching and Fluency, cont.
“A major Precision Teaching finding (Haughton, 1972) is that students must achieve fluency in "tool" skills in order to progress smoothly to more advanced material.  A common reason for failure in basic math skills, for example, is that students have not been allowed to achieve fluency in basic number-writing and digit-reading, despite their being able to perform these skills accurately.   When they do not achieve sufficient levels of basic arithmetic computation   (e.g., 50 to 70 problems per minute), students usually experience difficulty learning long division, algebra and other advanced math skills.  Thus, many so-called "learning disabilities" turn out to be no more than a failure of the schools to measure and to work toward fluency in basic skills.  Precision Teachers have found that a few minutes per day of timed practice on carefully sequenced skills can often eliminate what were previously considered irremedicable learning problems.” (Binder, 1988) Fetchkan, 2005

19 Precision Teaching and Fluency – Perceptions on Reading
“PT teachers want to know MORE than how accurately a student can read. We want to know how fluently! Children at [Ben Bronz Academy] are taught from the very beginning to read at 150 words per minute ALOUD before they learn a large vocabulary. This is because reading is like riding a bicycle. Reading slowly is very difficult for new learners, just like riding slowly on a bicycle. It is easy to "fall off" and lose confidence in your skill. (Presently major research on reading states that 40% of USA people are reading disabled to the extent that they dislike reading and will not read for pleasure or independently. Once you "fall off" in reading you may never master the skill.)” Retrieved 7/23/05,

20 Precision Teaching and Fluency – Perceptions on Reading, cont.
“Students who CAN read fluently will master new vocabulary with confidence and ease. Our USA schools expect students to learn to read at 60 words per minute. Start tapping your finger once per second, and then talk along with that beat. (Go on, give it a try, even for ten seconds!) Even after years of "riding the reading bicycle" most adults cannot understand slow reading or slow talking and will not listen for long. Neither will students.” Retrieved 7/23/05,

21 Precision Teaching and Fluency, cont
Precision Teaching and Fluency, cont. Referenced Fluency Benchmarks (Research cited by Kubina & Morrison, 2000) Seeing/saying words in context or in oral reading at Words Per Minute (Kubina & Starlin: WPM) Seeing/writing math facts at 70-90 Digits Per Minute Thinking/writing alphabetic letters at 150 Words Per Minute Fetchkan, 2005

22 Precision Teaching and Fluency, cont.
Pick a skill, i.e. Math +/- facts, older students Give a 1 minute assessment, e.g., 75 problems of: etc. Or +/- series problems like start:4 add:4 = 4 ___ ___ 16 ___ ___ 28 ___ start:4 add:4 = 4 ___ 12 ___ 20 ___ 28 ___ start:8 add:8 = 8 ___ ___ 32 ___ ___ 56 ___

23 Precision Teaching and Fluency, cont.
Other “Pick a Skill” examples: WPM Reciting vocabulary words for a given definition Number of vocalizations in response to a ? Discriminating whether terms or concepts came from the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution Naming colors/letters/shapes/sizes

24 How Do You Measure Fluency?
Oral reading probes Math computation probes Flashcards known as SAFMEDS (Say All Fast a Minute Every Day Shuffled) Student or Teacher Tally of Observed Behavior Fetchkan, 2005

25 Then Chart It!!!!!! The Celeration Chart

26 On both, the slopes form the standards.
The Behaviorists’ Views of Charting Human Behavior – Skinner and Lindsley B.F. Skinner devised the cumulative record, where the slope of a line equals frequency. O.R. Lindsley devised the Standard Celeration Chart, where a point equals frequency, and the slope of a line equals celeration. Lindsley has proposed the name "Standard Frequency Chart" in place of "cumulative record" for Skinner's charts.   On both, the slopes form the standards. Retrieved 7/23/05,

27 Celeration Chart Likeness
Retrieved 7/23/05,

28 The Celeration Chart http://www. celeration. org/faqs/index
A LIGHT BLUE, standardized chart (complicated method of determining the dimensions!!! Semi-logarithmic, uses multipliers not addends, makes a learning curve a straight line)- copyrighted Displays behavioral frequencies, celeration changes, and bounce that correspond to the natural flow of behavior Measures the behavior select time intervals (usually 1 min., can be few seconds to few mins.) Does NOT start with a baseline Child chooses the target behavior; experts say that they will pick the behavior you wanted them to pick by the 3rd-4th behavior charted Children as young as Grade K have learned to use

29 Why No Baseline?
Doing Precision Teaching: Do I need a baseline? [Question and Answer contributed by Dr. Ogden Lindsley, October 2000.] “No. You do not need to chart for a week or two before you try a reward or penalty. The slope of our standard chart tells how much what you are doing is working, and will predict when you will reach aim. Of course, about one third of the time self counting and charting alone produce the results you want. So, you don't always need to change anything else.”

30 Let the Child Choose the Behavior. http://www. celeration
Doing Precision Teaching: Can I help a learner pinpoint his or her first target? [Question and Answer contributed by Dr. Ogden Lindsley, 10/00.] “Yes. ‘Child knows best.’ Try to get the learner to do three things: Pick something they really want to do and haven't been able to, so gains will please them. Pick a target that either counts itself or is easy to count. Pick something they are already doing a little. Break the target into small enough pieces so that it can be done 5 to 10 times a minute at the start and can go up to over 100 per minute.”

31 Terms to Know “Frequency… means some count per unit of time.  In behavior analysis the most common measure of frequency has been responses per minute. In behavior analysis, frequency often gets renamed as "rate" or as "rate of response." Celeration forms the root word of acceleration and deceleration. Celeration refers to number per unit of time per unit of time. In behavior analysis (Precision Teaching) the most common measure of celeration has been number [of the observed behavior] per minute per week [one chart shows multiple weeks].” Above Retrieved 7/23/05, Bounce describes the variability in frequency from one performance to the next (Merbitz et. al., p. 65)

32 The Celeration Chart – How-To’s http://members. aol
“The chart comes in several versions.  The most common version has "SUCCESSIVE CALENDAR DAYS" along the x-axis. We refer to that chart as the "Daily Behavior Chart." Up the left, or y-axis, one finds a multiply-divide scale of frequency.  This scale has the label "COUNT PER MINUTE." Frequency refers to "number per minute." So, one uses the chart to plot the frequency of behavior on a daily basis.” “As frequencies accumulate across a chart, one can draw a line of best fit through them.  This line forms a "celeration line." Celeration shows trends in frequency. The frequencies may speed up, slow down, or stay the same. Beyond simply describing the frequency and celeration of behavior, one may use standard charts for instructional decision-making.  Such decisions place the chart in a vital and critical role.”

33 The Celeration Chart – How-To’s http://members. aol
At least six types of celerations “Precision teachers often count and chart both the daily frequency correct and the frequency error for a particular movement cycle, or behavior of interest. We call that an accuracy pair, or a "fair pair." As both correct and error frequencies accumulate across the chart a behavior change picture emerges.  We call such results "learning pictures." A full set of learning pictures may be described with different combinations of celeration lines.  One may use learning pictures to make instructional decisions.”

34 Best on the Web for Understanding Celeration Charts
Dr. Owen White’s “chart book” (University of Washington) – see bibliography for course syllabus link- WOW, what a website for the interested!!!!!!) pdf version OR ...overview 2.htm for html version -Both from Dr. Rick Kubina’s website (Penn State University) The How To’s of Celeration Charts, Dr. John Eshleman

35 Alternate Celeration Chart Resources w/ Disclaimer from The Standard Celeration Society
Excel chart versions of SCC Individual skill builder student materials kit Two users created chart option

36 Chart Differences – 1. Regular Chart Courtesy Dr. R
Chart Differences – 1. Regular Chart Courtesy Dr. R. Kubina (personal to Fetchkan, 7/25/05)

37 Chart Differences -2. Standard Celeration Chart Courtesy Dr. R
Chart Differences -2. Standard Celeration Chart Courtesy Dr. R. Kubina (personal to Fetchkan, 7/25/05)

38 How Educators Are Using Precision Teaching EX. /http://www
The QLC Learning Model MEASURING ACHIEVEMENT—PRECISION TEACHING “This elegant and easily used measurement system gives the teacher and the learner immediate feedback of progress, problems and possible options. Precision Teaching offers performance standards, practice options, remedial alternatives and a consistent method of recording, analyzing and making decisions on student performance…. It was used in thousands of classrooms in a major educational study, the Sacajewea Project, with spectacular results. Precision Teaching takes a timed sample of the learner's specific performance, like oral reading, compares it to other samples of that task and provides a comparative graphic measure of the pace and quality of that attempt.”

39 The QLC Center, Canada
Private School services that use Direct Instruction as the primary instructional method and PT as the tool for formative assessment

40 Morningside Academy (Puget Sound, WA) http://www. morningsideacademy
Private school, targets struggling and identified students Initially uses Direct Instruction, then moves to expanded methods (“Generative Instruction”) Measures all target skills daily Offers a money-back guarantee for progressing 2 years in 1 in the skill of greatest deficit. In 25 years, they have returned less than 1% of school-year tuition Starts with their “Foundations Program” and catches students up to grade level

41 Morningside Academy, cont. http://www. morningsideacademy
“Following successfully completed lessons; students practice their freshly learned skills until they become fluent or automatic, using Lindsley's Precision Teaching method. Having fluent prerequisite skills makes learning subsequent, related skills faster and more successful. Students usually practice building skills to fluency in pairs, although sometimes they practice alone or in threes. During practice, students time themselves on specially designed fluency materials until they can perform a certain amount-accurately, smoothly, and without hesitation-in a certain amount of time. Timings are usually 1 minute, but range from 10 seconds to 10 minutes. …”

42 Morningside Academy , cont. http://www. morningsideacademy
“Students record their timed performance on …Standard Celeration Charts. A specific minimum rate of improvement is indicated on these charts. As students practice, they plot their own improvements and compare their progress to the minimum rate lines. Their comparisons tell them whether they are making sufficient progress, or whether they need to call the teacher or another student for help. Practice is spaced and cumulative in order to maximize its effectiveness. These practice sessions blend the timing, charting, fluency-building, and celeration-building aspects of Precision Teaching…”

43 Morningside Academy, cont. http://www. morningsideacademy
“With Precision Teaching, students learn important goal setting, self-monitoring, self-management, organizational, and cooperative learning skills. Students also learn self-management and self-determination through freedom to take their own performance breaks and still meet their expected goals, skip lessons when they can demonstrate mastery, move through the curriculum at their own pace, select their own arrangement of tasks to accomplish in a class period, choose their own free time activities, and give themselves report card points, among other opportunities.” NOTE: Others concur, claim PT builds learning excitement, not dry boredom with learning tasks.

44 Other Programs, Similar Structure
Ben Bronz Academy, West Hartford, CT Center for Advanced Learning, Inc., Reno, NV; claims averages of 2 years' gain in academic skills per 40 hours in the program

45 Reading with Precision (Kubina & Starlin, 2003)
Any behavior displayed within a certain frequency range will facilitate retention, endurance and application REAPS attained when orally reading WPM, any level, materials, grade, etc. Determine instructional level ( WPM; 0-75 is guide for frustration or “challenge” level) and practice at this level Do not keep students at same level once aim is met, learning is not occurring Practice tactics: Direct Repeated Readings; Endurance Building (very short practices, seconds, build to 1 minute and beyond); Graph Feedback Fetchkan, 2005

46 So How Does Precision Teaching Work?
Precisely !!!!!!!!!!!

47 Bibliography An exhaustive bibliography on PT PT applied with autistic populations Home page of The Standard Celeration Society One stop shop for PT The How To’s of Celeration Charts

48 Bibliography – links to PT tutorial and advanced narratives and research papers Athabascau University – good tutorial on PT Renowned PT expert and his Univ. of Washington course syllabus – people are learning PT principles!

49 Bibliography Behavior Research Company, Box 3222, Kansas City, KS 66103; FAX = – Lindsley’s afliliation and official publisher of the Standard Celeration Chart + a number of books, charts, reports, and articles on Precision Teaching. Beck, R., & Clement, R. (1991). The Great Falls Precision Teaching Project: A historical examination. Journal of Precision Teaching, 8(2), 8-12.[a.k.a.“Sacajawea Project”] Binder, C. (1988). Precision teaching: Measuring and attaining exemplary academic achievement. Youth Policy Journal, 10(7), Graf, S., & Lindsley, O. (2002). Standard Celeration Charting Youngstown, OH; Graf Implements. Kubina, R.M., & Morrison, R.S. (2000). Fluency in education. Behavior and Social Issues, 10,

50 Bibliography Kubina, R.M., & Starlin, C.M. (2003). Reading with precision. Retrieved on July 24, 2005 from Merbitz, C., Vieitez, D., Merbitz, M.H., & Binder, C. (2004). Precision teaching: Applications in education and beyond. In D.J. Moran & R.W. Malott (Eds.), Evidence-Based Educational Methods (pp ). Amsterdam: Elsevier Academic Press.

51 Bibliography Merbitz, C., Vieitez, D., Merbitz, M.H., & Pennypacker, H.S. (2004). Precision teaching: Foundations and classroom applications. In D.J. Moran & R.W. Malott (Eds.), Evidence-Based Educational Methods (pp ). Amsterdam: Elsevier Academic Press. Pennypacker, H.S., Gutierrz, A., Jr., & Lindsley, O.R. (2003). Handbook of the Standard Celeration Chart. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies.

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