An Introduction to the Standard Celeration Chart
What is the Chart?
The Standard Celeration Chart (SCC; “The Chart”) is a standard graphical display of behavior. The natural sciences require standard, universal, and absolute measurement units. Behavior and performance data should be measured the same way. The standard celeration chart is a semi-logarithmic line chart that permits analysis of how behavior changes over time. It makes more meaning out of data than traditional/linear ways of graphing data (e.g., bar graphs and line graphs). It helps us make predictions and guides more effective decision-making for teachers, students, health researchers, business people, financial analysts, economists, and other professionals.
Check out these videos for an introduction to chart! There’s also more free videos on our resource page and even more once you become a member.
Parts of a Chart (Introductory Level Content)
Pinpoints and Date on the Standard Celeration Chart (Introductory Level Content)
Why the Chart?
“Those other graphs show me the data as well. I have been able to analyze trends and make decisions using an equal-interval regular graph for years (e.g., bar graph, line graph). A table and an Excel graph tell me what I need to know. Why the SCC?”
Here’s a snapshot of why… (spoiler alert – it’s just more accurate).
According to a 2008 article by Lefebre, Fabrizio & Merbitz, published in the peer-reviewed journal, the International Journal of Precision Teaching, “Differences in how graphed data appear on a display may (and often should) lead…to…different decisions….”
Across almost a century of research, the behavior analysis field has concluded that counting behaviors is among the most effective ways to monitor learning, growth and the process of change. Uniquely, using The Chart (i.e., standardized format of a semi-logarithmic scale) enables a user to monitor the derivative of the rate (i.e., the acceleration or deceleration), which means one is able to better target barriers to learning, measure current performance, compare “apples to oranges” and more precisely predict future performance.
“It seems really hard to chart.”
It is true when something is unfamiliar or more effortful than an alternative people will choose the alternative (thanks Matching Law) but there is more to this story. We know that children regularly use charts and “drop their own dots” at Morningside Academy, as well as historically multiple public schools in Kansas were doing this in the 1980s. The truth is that charting isn’t very difficult – change is. Like many things, it is the process of learning something new that poses a challenge to learning. Yet, one final barrier to helping people of all fields use the SCC is for a long time it has been tucked away in highly specialized areas of the field. The Chart was not a mainstream tool published in popular journals.
If it’s easy enough for children to use it, why don’t more people use it?
We wonder the same thing! We believe the answer lies in challenges dissemination of The Chart, helping people access it and teaching people that the way they are accustomed to analyzing data aren’t the only (or sometimes the most helpful) way. Through the Standard Celeration Society, you’ll discover a growing community dedicate to using the chart, rate of response, and celeration to optimize human performance in a range of settings. We’re excited you’re interested!
Who Uses the Chart?
Mental health clinicians, physicians, healthcare leaders, business consultants, educators, researchers, public officials, community members, behavior analysts all make use of the chart. We’re continually amazed at the diversity of folks using the chart.
While the field of precision teaching, which relies on the SCC is alive and well, The Chart’s use is rapidly changing and evolving. More and more research being published regarding the inaccuracies of decisions being made on non-standard equal interval charts (See Lefebre, Fabrizio & Merbitz, The Chart is becoming more widespread to examine data and make critical decisions for clients, businesses and ourselves. There are even chart interfaces designed to help the public view community trends so they can mobilize behind the important social causes within their communities and enhance communication between community leaders and members. One interface is the Crime Statistics Database of Chicago, built by Patrick Marcotte almost a decade ago.
In 2018, we changed the name of our conference from the International Precision Teaching Conference to the Annual Conference of the Standard Celeration Society, recognizing the organization’s need for higher inclusiveness to advance the science and broaden its applications. As we evolve, numerous diverse applications of the SCC are emerging.
Here are some recent innovative applications:
- Training medical school students via precision teaching (Dr. Martin Levy)
- Training paratroopers via precision teaching in the U.S. Army (Emily Leeming)
- Increasing physical activity in sedentary college students (Bulla et al.)
- Training youths in basketball skills (Kubina and Kirby).
- The first widespread suicide prevention program evaluation using ABA, precision teaching concepts, and The Chart. This research has since expanded in collaboration with the Center for Veteran Studies, The Ohio State University and the U.S. Air Force (Dr. Kent Corso and colleagues).
Most remarkably, in early 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic pummeled the world and numerous media sources published data that seemed confusing or even meaningless. A Facebook page was stood up by Stu Harder and Scott Born within weeks to improve data analysis and generate actionable data upon which important decisions could be based. Now the community is erupting with 2,700+ members, including a variety professionals including epidemiologists, policy makers, and other non-ABA data scientists. Additionally, the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies has shared these free Chart-related COVID-19 resources which use The Chart or many of its underpinnings. Data scientists are increasingly recognizing and proving that examining data using semi-logarithmic scales (e.g., The SCC) has unique value.
Here are some more resources to get you started:
If you are interested in learning about how to use The Chart, check out these tutorial videos from one of the leaders and founders of this field, Dr. Hank Pennypacker.
If you’d like to become a member to learn more about our community and how it might help your professional, personal, or civic life, please visit our membership page.
Check out the archive for our journal. You’ll find a great deal of the historical scientific work that brought charting to what it is today.