Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


33rd Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2007

Event Details

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Symposium #62
Prove It! Contributing to the Precision Teaching Research Base
Saturday, May 26, 2007
2:30 PM–3:50 PM
Annie AB
Area: DDA/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Kent Johnson (Morningside Academy)
Discussant: Cathy L. Watkins (California State University, Stanislaus)
Abstract: Precision teaching, the instructional decision-making methodology using Lindsley’s standard celeration chart, has produced advances in instructional design and teaching, discoveries about human behavior frequencies, and decades of well-documented achievement gains in both public and private sector programs. Relying on an inductive discovery methodology exemplified famously by the work of Ferster and Skinner on schedules of reinforcement, precision teaching has produced little hypothesis-testing research or studies intended to exclude alternative explanations. Instead, its community of practice has evolved through sharing of many thousands of charted data sets since the late mid-1960s. Measuring behavior frequency, not only percent correct, precision teaching has revealed relationships between behavior frequency, rate of change in frequency (celeration), variability (“bounce”), performance duration, and remote learning outcomes such as retention, sustainability of continuous performance over time, and application of behavior components through combination with other behavior components in explicitly programmed or non-programmed learning sequences. However, Precision Teaching has received criticism for its lack of a peer-reviewed research reports. This symposium presents an overall strategy for responding to that criticism, and presents a spectrum of data sets from different environments illustrating how precision teaching research, development and practice can, and does evolve.
Precision Teaching Research Legacy and a Strategy for Moving Forward.
CARL V. BINDER (Binder Riha Associates)
Abstract: This presentation overviews the legacy of precision teaching discovery, emphasizing ties to the purely inductive research methodology of Skinner, Ferster, Lindsley, and other laboratory operant conditioning pioneers. It compares and contrasts this path of discovery with the proof-oriented, hypothesis-testing approach introduced to Applied Behavior Analysis by researchers from child development and traditional learning theory. Finally, it presents a four-part strategy for addressing research concerns with a broad, integrated approach combining inductive discovery in clinical settings, more focused investigation across subjects, and controlled, parametric experimentation and hypothesis-testing of the sort that graduate students and university faculty are likely to conduct. The goal of this session is to lay out a framework within which precision teachers can participate in various ways to contribute to the research base; and to communicate to non-precision teachers about the challenges and opportunities available in the relatively wide open field for controlled research, as long as our research designs take into account the quirks of studying frequencies of skilled behavior during the learning process (such as ceiling effects, impact of celeration measures, and so on).
Integrating Science with Practice: Discoveries, Rules, and Other Research Findings from a Precision Teaching Learning Center.
KIMBERLY NIX BERENS (Center for Advanced Learning, Inc.)
Abstract: At the Center for Advanced Learning (CAL) we deliver service to students, provide teacher training and consultation, and discover what enables each individual student to learn most rapidly. We build our instruction on a powerful, sensitive measurement and decision-making technology –standard celeration charting. This presentation outlines some of our strongly held views about the relationship between scholarly university-based research and data-based practice; describes a range of different projects and discoveries from CAL, including studies conducted at CAL by students in the Behavior Analysis program at the University of Nevada/Reno; and presents data produced methodologically along the spectrum described earlier by Binder, from purely inductive investigation conducted student-by-student as part of a service delivery program to more controlled studies designed to meet standards for peer review by academic researchers and scholars.
Laboratory Contributions to Precision Teaching Research and Research Design.
JESUS ROSALES-RUIZ (University of North Texas)
Abstract: This session presents a conceptual and historical context and practical implications for precision teaching research and development emerging from experimental analysis of behavior in the laboratory and from conventional applied single-subject research. On the one hand, precision teachers can benefit from more thorough understanding and application of research design. On the other hand, behavior analysts unaccustomed to conducting research concerning frequencies of skilled behavior and frequency-building procedures, are often unaware of specific design features that must be included to avoid artifacts or misleading results in precision teaching research. Among other things, this presentation will describe the improved sensitivity and power offered to researchers by the standard celeration chart and the analytical methods and forms of data summary that have emerged over the course of its 40+ year history. This presentation will provide for both experienced and aspiring PT researchers some guidelines, hints, and suggestions for contributing to a more robust precision teaching research base.



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