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Masters of Special Education with Academic Instruction Certification

Precision Teaching - Topic 15

What is it?

Precision Teaching (PT), originated by Ogden Lindsley, emanated from the work of B. F. Skinner (White, 1986). The PT process covers five major tenets regarding instruction and assessment: learner knows best, identify directly observable behaviors, measure frequency of behavior, employ the standard celeration chart, describe and analysis the environment affecting behavior (White, 1986). As a supplement to traditional instruction, teachers can use PT in two major ways – assessment and practice. Due to the fine grained analysis of behavior and measurably superior data display, teachers can uniquely examine and assess behavior in time (Kubina & Yurich, 2012). Based on those assessments, teachers can identify and adapt to each student’s needs with accurate frequency building practice procedures.

Why is it important?

Secondary students can benefit from PT in a variety of ways. All topics and academic areas contain elemental skills that combine to form compound knowledge. Within difficult material (i.e., content area), teachers can identify core measurable academic behaviors to assess all students, not just those with disabilities. Once identified and following instruction, teachers can implement frequency building exercises on important behaviors influencing future instruction and performance. In Chemistry, for example, students must rely on knowledge of the periodic table of the elements, a bedrock skill, as they advance through the course. Implementing PT, allows teachers to assess instruction and prior knowledge of the chart. They then can incorporate an individualized, systematic practice dedicated to promoting fluent identification of elemental symbols at a certain rate. Progressing in this manner would assist all students in future skills involving the use of the elemental names. The process can continue throughout the year on other identified skills and in other content areas.


Kubina, R. M., & Yurich, K. (2012). The Precision Teaching Book. Lemont, PA: Greatness Achieved.

White, O. R. (1986). Precision teaching—Precision learning. Exceptional Children, 52, 522-534

Web Links - Website focused on Precision Teaching and Standard Celeration Charting

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