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FAQs--about Precision Teaching

This version was saved 11 years, 4 months ago View current version     Page history
Saved by Regina Claypool-Frey
on June 27, 2009 at 2:51:26 am


In progress/needs substantial expansion/other Q& A coming

Fluency/performance AIMS, Removing Fluency blockers,calculating celeration, adjusting instruction, RESA/REAPS.

FAQs about Precision Teaching


Q: So what exactly IS "Precision Teaching"?

 A: Precision Teaching Guiding Principles


1. Focus on Directly Observable Behavior

2. Frequency as a Measure of Performance

3. Use of the Standard Celeration Chart

4. The Learner Knows Best, aka, THE CHILD KNOWS BEST


From:  Precision Teaching: Concept Definition and Guiding Principles

Athabasca University, Psychology 387


The entire tutorial.

Precision Teaching Module,

Module Author: David Polson, Instructional Designer/Technical Advisor: Lyle Grant



"What is Precision Teaching?


...Precision Teaching is adjusting the curricula for each learner to maximize the learning shown on the learner's personal standard celeration chart. 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 (Johnson, 1989, Maloney & Humphrey, 1982). The materials are derived from Direct Instruction and the curricular change decisions, fluency aims and one-minute practice sessions are from Precision Teaching.


The precision comes from making curricula changes based on changes in the weekly learning of each student. The weekly learning changes are seen on standard celeration charts. The frequencies of correct and incorrect responses of each subject are recorded daily on separate standard charts. Because of the normal daily variation in performance frequency, it takes one to two weeks (5 to 10 daily frequencies) to project a learning course and to determine a change in learning. Details of Precision Teaching techniques, timing and charting have been described extensively in previous publications (Binder, 1988; Lindsley, 1990a, 1990b; McGreevy, 1981; Pennypacker, Koenig & Lindsley, 1972; West, Young & Spooner, 1990; White 1986) and in a special issue of Teaching Exceptional Children (spring, 1990), and will not be repeated here..."


Lindsley, O.R. (1991). Precision Teaching's Unique Legacy from B. F. Skinner

Journal of Behavioral Education, 1(2), 253-266



Rick Kubina, Ph.D., BCBA also has kindly provided definitions of Precision Teaching from important references at his  Precision Teaching Blog



For an overview of how PT and fluency can help instruction for children with autism, see.


Fabrizio, M.A. (February and March 2003). A parent's introduction to fluency Parts I and II. The OARacle, Alexandria, VA: The Organization for Autism Research."(PDF format):



An interesting excerpt about "Exceptional Teaching and Precision Teaching"

Google books excerpt from

Emerging Perspectives on Assessment of Exceptional Children,

Randy E. Bennett, Charles A. Maher, Eds. 1986. Haworth Press. ISBN 0866564101. pp 10-12

Published also as v. 2, nos. 2/3, winter/spring 1985/86 of Special Services in the Schools.



Q: What do the acronyms RESAA, REAPS, SLOBS, etc. stand for?


A: For the explanation, see: PT ACRONYMS



Q: What are "Jaws", "Crossover", and "Jumps Up" and "Jumps Down" all about?





Q: Okay, it sounds good, but how do I get started?


A: Read the Athabasca Tutorial, and visit FAQs--ABOUT THE STANDARD CELERATION CHART,

to get a feel for how to use the timing and Standard Celeration Chart.


If you are waiting to get the MUST-HAVE TEXTS, take a look at Rick Kubina and Owen White's charting guides.


If you are in the neighborhood for an ABA INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE, there is always a workshop on the use of the STANDARD CELERATION CHART, given by experts in the field.


As examples of the kinds of considerations to think about, take a look at


SCListserv Archives – April 1-2, 2002;\"PT 101\" discussion

EXCELLENT response and discussion by the SCListserv members to beginning teaching questions posed by a parent starting to apply PT to an existing Verbal Behavior ABA program


and these Chart shares:


Ben Bronz Academy/The Learning Incentive

Charts shared from 1999-2001



Organization for Research and Learning formerly Fabrizio-Moors Consulting

Examples specific and relevant to children on the autism spectrum:

 Professional Work Examples


For additional reading about Precision Teaching

  • Calkin, A. B. (2005). Precision teaching: The standard celeration charts. The Behavior Analyst Today, 6(4), 207-213. 

  • Lindsley, O. R. (1992). Precision teaching: Discoveries and effects. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 25, 51-57. 

  • Lindsley, O. R. (1995). Precision teaching: By teachers for children. Journal of Precision Teaching, 12(2), 9-17. 

  • Potts, L., Eshleman, J. W., & Cooper, J. O. (1993). Ogden R. Lindsley and the Historical Development of Precision Teaching. The Behavior Analyst, 16, 177-189. 

  • White, O. R. (1984) Performance Based Decisions:  When and what to change. In R. P. West and K.R. Young (Eds.), Precision Teaching Instructional Decision Making, Curriculum and Management, and Research. Logan, UT: Department of Special Education, Utah State University. 

  • White, O. R. (1985) Decisions, Decisions. British Columbia Journal of Special Education,9,305-320. 

  • White, O. R. (1986) Precision Teaching -- Precision Learning. Exceptional Children, 52(6), pp. 522-534.



Q: What is a "Chart Parent"... and how do I find one? 


A: One of the great things about the field of Precision Teaching is the friendly tradition of the "Chart Parent", a real, live mentor to help get you started and give you pointers on how to use the SCC and interpret the data.

(Little known fact: The origin of the term "Chart Parent" is attributed to Dr. Steve Graf, who used the term at a 1980 ABA chart share sesssion.) Dr. Pat McGreevy, p. 68, Journal of Precision Teaching, 4(3).

What is a Chart Parent?

[Question and Answer contributed by Dr. Ogden Lindsley, September 2000.]

"Your chart parent first taught you to use the Standard Celeration Chart..."


To find a chart parent, the easiest way is to join the SCListserv, and just post--"

I need a chart parent", and describe what you are doing. Our experience has been that folks are very responsive and helpful. Don't be afraid to say, "Hey, I didn't understand that, can you explain further?".


Another venue to find a Chart Parent is at the International Precision Teaching Conference, where there is some special time set aside for novice charters to get individualized help from an expert charter.

Historical Interest- Chart Parent Tree



Q: What if I am not a teacher or I just want to find a tutor for my child? 

A: Everyone is a teacher :-)and use of Precision Teaching can help to make you a great one, but we know what you mean.



(Some of these folks can also be great to get you going if you feel more comfortable learning how to be a Precision Teacher under more 1:1 guidance.)



DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is presented on an "as is" basis, and does not claim to present definitive information, make recommendation or to represent such official bodies such as the Standard Celeration Society. Users of this site agree that the owner of the site or authors of pages and articles are indemnified against legal liability  


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