First Blog Post

First blog post, what to say? Do I start by pointing out the our education system fails way too many learners and is more of an art than a science? No, that seems a little negative. Perhaps I can draw attention to the booming cottage industry of people selling faux performance/learning enhancing products like Baby Einstein and Power Balance bracelets? No, again that falls on the pessimist side of the ledger. Maybe the best way to start my first blog is to say “Welcome!” and “Your journey for discovering a world class scientific measurement system for human behavior and learning has ended.” I would also say, however, entering the site and learning about Precision Teaching and Standard Celeration Charting means your journey has also just begun.

We live in a rapidly changing world. Part of surviving and thriving is the ability to learn and master new concepts and skills. By the way, truly mastered skills are not “100%,” percentage correct can only tell us about accuracy and acquisition, more on that later. Our world is becoming increasingly technological, therefore, fully harnessing the power of the information age requires us to maximize all opportunities for learning. If you have ever been in a classroom, seen a classroom, or know someone in a classroom, you have already realized at some point in time people struggle to learn. Enter Precision Teaching.

Precision Teaching, or PT, is a measurement system. PT is not a curriculum that tells people what to teach. Instead, Precision Teaching offers an unparalleled system for (1) defining behavior; (2) measuring and recording behavior; (3) showing whether a change is, or is not, needed and suggesting methods for change; and (4) not giving up on the learner by providing strategies for continued problem-solving. The four PT steps previously described, Pinpoint-Record-Change-Try Again, may appear simple, but the full application is rigorous, technically demanding, and a precise science (a process very much like the scientific method). Imagine the great care and meticulousness applied to measurement in mature sciences like physics and chemistry. Indeed, physics and chemistry would not command the universal respect they do without having applied the high standards for measuring their respective subject matters. In particle physics we are on the verge of discovering the Higgs boson, a subatomic particle hypothesized to be a fundamental building block of the universe. Measurement will allow us to peer into the creation of the Universe! If such a discovery is not a titanic score for the human species, then I don’t know what is.

In education high degrees of measurement by standard units are unfortunately rare. Even more scarce, the use of high-quality visual display systems for time series data. The name “time series”data” almost explain themselves; data that occur across a dimension of time are scrutinized for change. The Precision Teaching system uses the most powerful and informative graphic for time series data I am aware of – the Standard Celeration Chart (or SCC). The Standard Celeration Chart has so much to offer those interested behavior change it seems only a matter of time before it becomes institutional standard. Of course, for the SCC to be adopted widescale that would mean education has embraced science and high quality measurement as a common practice.

So why care about PT? If you want to improve a behavior for yourself, a loved one, or client, then learning and using Precision Teaching is a must. Measuring behavior as precisely as possible is like watching a Blue Ray movie on high definition television – the clarity is unbelievable and see you all the subtle and important details. Without PT, the picture may be in black white, grainy and difficult to see. You might get part of the picture, but without the extreme precision critical details are missed. And when critical details are missed decision making is negatively affected. As part of the heritage of PT, teachers have been watching the high definition TV for years and have discovered amazing things. Some of the findings fall under behavioral fluency which I will write about frequently. There are many others.

Indeed, my intention of writing a blog, writing a book, conducting research, and working directly with learners is to be a small part of the movement already underway. Namely, to usher in an age of spectacular precision in measurement of human behavior. The good news is we already know how to measure behavior with the resolve of the most strict natural scientists out there. Furthermore, we also have a visual display system, the SCC, that allows us to determine consistent, genuine significance of behavior change. I hope I can join you on your journey to discovering the elegant and strikingly robust measurement system that is Precision Teaching. If you are reading this you may have specific problems that need solved or are curious how to do even better measuring behavior. I hope to interact with you in the future and welcome all of your comments, questions, and suggestions.


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4 Responses to First Blog Post

  1. Marilyn Arnold says:

    Hello Rick,

    Your new book sounds intriguing. Can you tell me if it would be useful to parents conducting an in-home ABA program using Verbal Behavior for their child with autism? Or would it be more useful for professionals?

    Thank you.

    • Rick says:

      Hi Marilyn,

      The entire field of ABA needs to take measurement more seriously than they do. At present, the field and its practitioners would experience a jump in the magnitude of a lightyear if they used standard, absolute, universal measures like frequency. Furthermore, the data should go on the most informative, and useful visual display for time series data – the Standard Celeration Chart. As a natural scientist concerned with applications of behavior analysis to humanity, my goal is to help show the field how the lack of good measurement and visual display is not moving her science forward. I don’t think I could be more emphatic than saying your whole team would improve communication, analysis, and understanding of the data by using frequency and displaying the data on Standard Celeration Charts. I probably wrote 150 pages demonstrating how powerful the Standard Celeration Chart is, and how nonstandard arithmetically scaled graphs bring us only so far. I’m incredibly passionate about Precision Teaching and the application of its methods to improving behavior. I used Precision Teaching with my own children, who are now young adults, to great effect. Beyond my own personal experience all the teachers who I have taught, and my colleagues, who use Precision Teaching report similar, exceptional outcomes (as does the research). If I can answer more questions please let me know.


  2. Ron Kesecker says:

    Rick… thanks for writing the book. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. Although my work is with training dogs, it really translates into teaching people to train their dogs. Thanks… rjk

    • Rick says:

      HI Ron,

      It was my pleasure. Writing a book means you have dig deep into the content matter. I learned even more about our applied science. And I like your work domain and completely agree. Would love to learn more about what you do.


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