Strategy Session

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Strategy Session

Business with a social agenda

Rick Kubina
Aug 29, 2014 12:00:00 AM

Dear Noble Change Seeker,

You have found us! We personally welcome you to the revolution! The revolution against processes, applications, and products inhibiting and obstructing change

The change you search for may involve personal success such as learning to play the piano or speaking French. The change solution might call for producing dramatic student outcomes like teaching a Kindergarten class how to read in one year or helping all high school students become fluent with trigonometry. Or perhaps the change you endeavor to produce involves call center specialists mastering empathy, and providing direct, relevant answers to customers. Whatever personal, educational, or business related change you seek, Chartlytics offers you the choice to leverage science and produce outcomes with the highest level of speed, precision, and compassion possible.

We're here because we think that no one deserves to feel the pain of failing to learn.  Learning happens best when learners move at their own pace and can build a strong conceptual foundation in the subject matter for each step of the learning process. Failure to build a strong foundation results in disenfranchisement of the learner from the learning process. 

Figure 1: A learner feeling frustration

Many strategies exist for adapting a learner's path. However, to do so, one must accurately measure the learner's comprehension of the material studied or practiced. The measurement systems, processes, and tools in use today across the entire spectrum of learning are outdated at best and largely ineffective at worst.

A recent visit I had to school in the midwest demonstrated the problems with a poor measurement system. A second grade classroom contained 22 students working towards proficiency with the Common Core Standard “Fluently add and subtract within 100 using strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction.” Each day the students worked on a sheet of single digit and multi-digit math and subtraction problems. The figure below shows a row of problems a student answered and how the teacher scored her answers.

Figure 2: A typical method for measuring behavior


The teacher scored the student as having 3 correct and 2 incorrect answers. But a closer look shows the measurement tactic (counting the whole answer as correct or incorrect) the teacher used appears more as a blunt instrument than a sensitive, precise tool. Does a score of 3 correct and 2 incorrect best capture the student’s performance and understanding of adding and subtracting? A more sensitive way to measure the student’s performance appears below.

Figure 3: A more sensitive method for measuring behavior

Notice how the more detailed “digits correct” measure better represents the learner's performance. A learner that writes  9 + 2 = 12 has made a very different error from a learner who wrote 3. 

Measuring performance with precision displays concern, exacting attention, and a stewardship for future learning. At Chartlytics nothing matters more than helping learning achieve their potential.

Measurement matters

So many schools, businesses, and individuals select measurement systems that literally have not evolved beyond the 19th century. Would you trust a doctor certified in medicine from 1895? We know the answer before you say it, “Sign me up for a double dose of leeches!” Joking aside, you can find descriptions of behavior that have the clarity of muddy water (more on that topic in later blog posts). More directly you can see time series data graphics — those which people use to make high stakes decisions —that come right out of the 1800s. 

As an example, take a look at the chart below from the 1884 book “Investigations in currency and finance.” It is a time-series graphic, which has has two scales: one scale called the vertical axis that expresses a measured quantity; and the other scale, the horizontal axis, displays a unit of time progressing from left to right (Harris, 1999).  This graphic is called a line graph, and it shows the goods England exported to India. The graph shows from the early 1700s up until 1810 change (one that favors England) occurs in the value of products shipped across the seas.


Figure 4: A time series line graph from 1884

The next chart comes from a 2013 article posted on the showing India’s trade with Britain. Notice that the 2013 graph does the same thing as the 1884 graphic, telling a story of change across time (change that does not favor Britain). By the way, shame on the graph makers at the! Notice all the chart errors: no label on the horizontal axis, no vertical axis label and no vertical axis line!The chart also has an improper construction ratio of the vertical to the horizontal axis (vertical axis should appear 2/3 the size of the horizontal axis). But we digress! The point to embrace: linear graph usage hasn’t changed since the 1800s.

Figure 5: A time series line graph from 2014. Source:

Our government (US) uses nonstandard linear graphs (NSLG) to make important decisions. Teachers all across the country use NSLGs to understand the change of students (and make high stakes decision about that student’s future). Magazines, journals, news outlets, blogs, apps, almost everyone uses nonstandard linear graphs with their limited offering of information. In some cases, the nonstandard linear graphs mislead the viewer. 

You may experience one of two emotions, disbelief or shock. Disbelief that everyone still uses a graphical display unchanged since the 1800s. Or shock that nonstandard linear graphs frankly provide limited information and can greatly mislead the story told by the data due to nonstandardization. As a society of concerned citizens we can, and must, do better. We have too much at risk. Almost all time series decision fall under the limited purview of nonstandard linear graphs.

What's the problem with nonstandard line graphs (NSLG)? 

Take a minute and think about how much you personally benefit from standards. Start with where you live. The house or building came to exist by construction workers applying standards that govern building materials, radon levels, ventilation, and fire safety. Without those construction standards you could find yourself living in a very unsafe home.

What about standards for energy? Lighting, fossil fuels, and electric power have undergone testing and precision measurement for quality and safety. If we didn’t have those standards, imagine the major problems we would have filling up our car with gasoline (sidenote: if you have a Tesla please take me for a ride - I love your fine electric vehicle!). Gasoline could contain elements that make it destructive for engine life and dangerous for you to breathe.

We could go on and discuss health standards, transportation standards, and many other facets of life that we all take for granted. But what about graphing? What standards do we have for the whole entirety of time series displays? Only one widely used visual display system, the Standard Celeration Chart (SCC).

The SCC came about based on the work of a truly brilliant scientist and American hero Ogden Lindsley. The SCC gives us a standard with the ability bring the science of measurement to all of us. Behold the SCC in all its graphical glory!

Figure 6: A sample image of the daily Standard Celeration Chart

The SCC offers many, many more advantages and information content than NSLGs. Scientific literature explains why the SCC offers more and better information when it comes to time series graphics. If you would like to harness the power of better decision making for yourself, your child, or your client, you have found a home. 

Business with a social agenda

At Chartlytics we have one fundamental mission pervading all of our products: contribute to improving society through effective change. The Chartlytics mission breaks down into two components: how to engineer change and what “effective” change means.

How to orchestrate change involves the following process: 

  1. Precisely identify behavior to target (we call it pinpointing)
  2. Measure behavior with physics-like precision (we love precision)
  3. Display the measured behavior with a standard visual display (like an EKG for behavior)
  4. Keep trying to resolve any problems (we root for every learner and agree with Jason Nesmith, we will “Never give up! Never surrender!”). 

All of the previously mentioned steps come from a science of individual measurement boasting a 50 year body of experimental evidence (i.e., Precision Teaching). 

Effective change means reaching goals as quickly as possible. Chartlytics uses a suite of Standard Celeration Charts to accomplish rapid change. The standard charts tell the chart reader how fast the behavior has changed, how smoothly the presence or absence of an intervention affects the behavior, the quality of the behavior change, and the clear identification of outliers.

We posses the technology to revolutionize time series graphics and help usher in an age of more responsive decision making. Through our platform we offer not only relevant solutions, but a method for standardizing time series graph display decision making. Chartlytics can tell you:

  • how fast has the behavior changed (a standard measure like miles per hour - everyone can understand it)
  • the quantified smoothness or level of difficulty a learner experiences with a particular intervention (the difficultly level tells the chart viewer how much a learner has struggled)
  • the quality of the performance change (just like a quality management approach, you can see the quantified amount of quality improvement or decline in behavior)

Thank you for reading our blog. We would love to hear from you. And please share your stories with us — we draw our inspiration from your success!

Learn more about bringing your graphical displays and decision making into the 21st century. 


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