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Surface Learning Picture

Page history last edited by Regina Claypool-Frey 13 years, 1 month ago


Surface Learning Picture

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Learning Picture Name = Surface.

Frequency of Correct Responses = Maintaining below correct frequency aim.

Frequency of Error Responses = Accelerating toward correct frequency and away from error frequency aim.

Accuracy Ratio = Decreasing.

Change to Make = Slice Back in the Curriculum.

Situation Report

Metaphor: Children back in the 1970s named this learning picture "Surface" because the picture resembles a swimmer or a submarine surfacing. Take your pick! The correct frequencies are maintaining along. That's the "surface" of the water. The errors are moving upwards toward the "surface." Pat All reported on the learning pictures and their names (All, 1977). Likewise, that same year Dr. Ogden R. Lindsley (1977) presented learning pictures to the MABA convention.

Description: "Surface" generally represents a very undesired learning picture. It shows worsening of performance. The frequency of correct responding remains the same, and does not head toward the correct aim. The frequency of errors moves away from the error aim. Eventually, the errors and corrects may converge.

A "Suerface" picture shows a decrease in accuracy. It also shows the independence of frequency and accuracy.

Decision: If a "Surface" learning picture emerges, the decision to make is to slice back in the curriculum.

Notes: The Record Floor represents the amount of time spent recording the behavior of interest. We define it as 1/number of minutes spent recording. On the chart we use a dashes to show it. If the Record Floor stays the same every day, then a dashed line (as shown above) can be used. "Zero" per minute is shown by frequencies plotted just below the Record Floor. All standard celeration charts should have a Record Floor.


All, P. (1977). From get truckin' to jaws, students improve their learning picture. Unpublished master's thesis, University of Kansas.

Lindsley, O.R. (1977). What we know that ain't so. Invited Address presented at the Third Annual meeting of the Midwestern Association of Behavior Analysis, Chicago, IL, May.


The chart shown above represents a likeness only of a standard celeration chart. The chart shown above is also a "stylized" chart. That means that I constructed it for teaching and illustrative purposes only. It does not show real data. The celeration lines range through more chart cycles than one typically finds.

Dr. Ogden R. Lindsley invented the Standard Celeration Chart, founded Behavior Research Company, and has been the main proponent and developer of both Precision Teaching and standard celeration charting.

Actual Standard Celeration Charts can be purchased from the Behavior Research Company, Box 3351, Kansas City, KS 66103. FAX: 913 362-5900.

For noncommercial educational and illustrative purposes only.


John W. Eshleman, Ed.D. June 2002



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