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Precision Teaching Videos & Information

Precision teaching (PT) is a precise and systematic method of evaluating instructional tactics and curricula. It is one of the few quantitative analyses of behavior forms of applied behavior analysis. It comes from a very strong quantitative scientific basis and was pioneered by Ogden Lindsley in the 1960s based largely on Skinner's operant conditioning. Precision teaching is a type of programmed instruction that focuses heavily on frequency as its main datum. By focusing on fluency, the teacher can then adjust the curricula for each learner to maximize the learning based on the learner's personal fluency measurements. The instruction can be by any method or approach. For example, the most effective applications of Precision Teaching have been when it is combined with Direct Instruction. Children as young as five have charted their fluency measurements and utilized precision teaching to increase their learning. Some examples are, progress of teaching a motor movement (Big 6+6, how many times can you grasp an item in one minute), verbal response (how fast can you say something in one minute), or learning response (how many items on the periodic chart can you identify in one minute), learning math facts, writing. and many other areas.

Guiding principles

  • Focus on Directly Observable Behavior
    By focusing on directly observable behavior, teachers can avoid ambiguity. Thus, it is important for the teacher to measure concrete, directly observable behaviors which can be counted and recorded. Even if the learning deficit is a subtle or private one (such as reading silently), the teacher must find a way to make it public so that it may be counted and improved.
  • Frequency as a Measure of Performance
    Frequency is specified as counts per minute. There are well researched advantages to the use of frequency data over traditional measures in education such as percent correct
  • The Standard Celeration Chart
    Ogden Lindsley created the standard celeration chart because of a large amount of differences between the way each teacher was charting their learner's behavior at the University of Kansas Children's Rehabilitation unit. Lindsley indicated that it took 20 to 30 minutes to share one project because each chart had to be explained and described. Thus, the standard celeration chart was developed in which the x-axis is an add scale to accommodate a full school semester (140 days). The y-axis was on a multiply scale accommodating frequencies ranging from 1 per day to 1000 per minute. The largest benefit was that with the new chart, different students being charted by different teachers will still have pictures of progress which can be compared and evaluated.
  • The Learner Knows Best
    Ogden Lindsley realized that if a student is progressing according to plan, the program is good for the student. If not, the program is flawed, and needs to be changed, therefore, there is no failure by the student as a product of the student but rather as a product of the teaching.


For those interested in what Precision Teaching/PT is, how to do it, and who is using it, please see: Precison Teaching wiki (also ABA and DI info) Precision Teaching (PT) links and contact info:

Much of the text in the original post was authored by me, and by Baker Mitchell, Executive Director of the Roger Bacon Academy/Charter Day School, N.C. I only mind slightly not being referenced, and am appreciative of the dissemination of information on Precision Teaching, but I really think that Baker and the Charter Day School should get proper attribution, both for the video of the one minute timings of the DI classroom and also for the description of the process which he developed with Mark and Jessie with consultation by Michael Maloney, director of the QLC program.

I've re-written it. Hopefully it is OK now. You are welcome to add another whole story or even edit the one I put out there.

Thanks Kathy, I did tweak it some. I hope that's okay. I also wanted to include the new precisionteaching.pbwiki site.

I checked out the wiki site. Amongst the best organization I've seen yet. Simple, yet elegant! Did you do that yourself?

Yes, I had always wanted to try setting up a website, and this was an opportunity. Thanks! Coming from you, that's a real compliment. Hope it turns out to be useful :-).