Using precision teaching strategies and tactics to increase essential skill fluency

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    Research areas

  • PhD, School of Psychology


The area for this thesis was the application of Precision Teaching (PT) to the teaching of essential skills to various populations—university undergraduates, high school adolescents, and primary school children. Chapter 1 of this thesis begins with a brief overview describing problems that exist within the educational system, and how we might intervene to raise the performances of all learners by using PT’s systems and strategies. Paper 1 was a small n study (conducted over 10 weeks) aimed at improving the rate of reading high frequency English words in a group (n = 5) of children struggling with reading. This was compared to a small comparison group that underwent Treatment as Usual (TAU; n = 2). Although the engagement time of the PT group was brief (M = 12 minutes per week), all the children showed significant gains in their accurate reading fluency. In Paper 2 we applied these same principles to teach statistics to undergraduates (Intervention, n = 24; TAU, n = 31). Results showed that the PT group performed significantly better at post-test in comparison to TAU. In addition the PT group performed better on their weekly module content tests. Paper 3 was conducted to increase maths performance, comparing the intervention group (n = 19) with a control group (n = 10). All the PT children performed significantly better on three of the four outcome measures of essential skill maths fluency (d = 1.25-1.67)—one of which measures had not been practiced providing some initial support for contingency adduction. In Paper 4 we used a simple flashcard intervention to increase recall of second-language vocabulary. The intervention spanned four weeks and took only 15 minutes per week for each child, yet the intervention group (n = 79) performed significantly better then the WLC group (n = 16) at post-test (d = 1.54). Both Papers 3 & 4 report data showing significant increase in the RCI measures and a low NNT. In all four papers Standard Celeration Charts were used to monitor learner’s improvement


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award dateJan 2012