Many educational professionals have adopted a data-driven approach. “Data-driven” means what it implies, using data to inform instructional practices (not having Data from Star Trek drive you around like Miss Daisy). Successful schools incorporate data-driven methods throughout their culture. Data-driven also holds practitioners engage in a cycle of assessment, analysis, and action. Does that cycle sound familiar?
Precision Teaching forms the ultimate system of of assessment, analysis, and action with its PRCTA (Pinpoint-Record-Change-Try Again) cycle. A host of peer-reviewed articles and books have documented the success of the PRCTA cycle. While the whole system does require an extensive treatise to fully explain the system, focusing in on core change measures does not.
The Secret Sauce
What distinguishes Precision Teaching, and a software suite like Chartlytics, from all other progress monitoring/data discovery programs lies in the Standard Celeration Chart (SCC) and its accompanying change measures (metrics). Unlike McDonald’s and their Big Mac sauce and Coco-Cola’s highly guarded formula for Coke, we will freely share with you the secret of success for best understanding behavioral change. Namely, the Standard Celeration Chart and its change measures. The infographic below shows three basic measures born from the SCC. Each measure does something you won’t find anywhere else (especially with a nonstandard linear graph - that scoundrel of shifting axes will tell you something slightly different from other nonstandard linear graphs made by your friends and colleagues).
Figure 1: An infographic showing three basic Standard Celeration change measures
Simply put, better , more informative metrics and a standard view of graphical features allow chart readers to fully see the data story. Over the next three blog entries we will closely look at each metric. Furthermore, we will examine how Standard Celeration Chart metrics explain individual performance data and help you make more informed decisions.
How fast does performance data change? A student learning how to tie her shoes could take one day, one week, one month, or one year. The speed of learning measured by celeration directly reflects upon the intervention used to teach shoe tying. Any change in a pinpoint comes from the power of an intervention (i.e., a special type of instruction, practice, or educational method). How useful/good would you rate an intervention that takes one week versus one month? Which interventions do students/clients/ourselves deserve?
Measuring a performance for one day tells us how the person completed the task. But when we string those individual performances together across time we call the change learning. Learning appears graphically on an SCC with a celeration line. Each celeration line visually depicts the speed with its slope with a celeration value. The infographic above shows standard lines that have corresponding values. On the daily chart a x1.4 means the behavior grew or multiplied 1.4 times. A x1.4 value also means a 40% weekly change. A x2.0 represents a weekly doubling and a 100% growth rate.
On the other side of the celeration fan (Figure 1) behavior can decelerate and the value states how fast decay occurs. As an example, a ÷1.4 means a behavior divided 1.4 times, a 29% change (e.g., starting a week at 14 under a ÷1.4 will yield 10 at the end of the week). Likewise a ÷2.0 shows behavior halving each week, a 50% lessening.
How fast a behavior grows and how fast it decays allow us to optimize learning. Seeing a celeration line with a value of x1.1 would lead the chart reader to implement a change due to the slow 10% growth rate. Let’s look at an example of a pinpoint (behavior) growing at the speed of a x1.1. The Chart below shows the celeration of a student who started at 6 letter sounds correct per minute. Looking at the minimum aim for letter sounds, 100 letter sounds per minute, we see the typical daily SCC can’t handle all the days necessary to show the change. All Standard Celeration Charts have 20 periods (140 days on the daily chart). I added 49 more days just to show how long it takes to get to the aim of 100, an astounding 27 weeks (I just created a Franken-Celeration Chart)!
Figure 2: A Standard Celeration Chart extended by 7 weeks showing the low growth rate of a x1.1 celeration
Speed matters. We don’t want any student having to suffer through almost 190 days of instruction or practice. Not using the SCC condemns a decision maker (e.g., you, teacher, school psychologist) to a stiff penalty - the lack of seeing the speed of learning with a celeration line and no quick, understandable metric.
The field of education has a number of happy declarations and platitudes that sound inspiring, “Aim for excellence,” “We won’t leave any child behind,” and “Success, nothing less.” No one argues with the sentiment of such statements. We all want to live in a better world and plant the seeds of a bright future for our children and the younger generation through educational distinction. For stellar outcomes, academic prosperity, and masterful skill development, however, we *must* pay heed to metrics like celeration. The faster someone learns, the more time he or she has to learn other skills. We should wield the power of celeration like a Jedi Knight’s lightsaber helping others get better at whatever they endeavor to learn.