MAST CPD Programme – Level 1 Training in Precision Teaching: Sharing the practice and impact of instructional psychology to promote achievement in schools.

MAST CPD Programme – Level 1 Training in Precision Teaching: Sharing the practice and impact of instructional psychology to promote achievement in schools.

Will Roberts
by Will Roberts
Published on Jan 22, 2024
0 min read

This week saw another CPD training session from our annual programme sharing effective, evidence-based strategies to support the development of pupil’s literacy skills.

This event, part one of a two session course ,introduced delegates to the fundamentals of Precision Teaching (PT) and its’ application to early reading skills. This course emphasised the key theoretical and practical components of PT, reviewed relevant research findings and explored implementation considerations for schools.

In summary, we discussed the following themes during this introductory session:

Foundational Principles:

Precision Teaching is rooted in a set of base principles that emphasise the importance of objective measurement, frequent assessment and responsive, targeted intervention. School staff were introduced to these core tenets of PT, emphasising the methodology's applicability across diverse subjects and age groups. Emphasis was given to our construal of pupil progress with reference to the instructional hierarchy (Haring et al., 1978) in addition to more ‘affective’-pupil responses.

Data-Driven Decision-Making:

At the heart of Precision Teaching is the concept of data-driven decision-making. School staff were shown how to collect and analyse data systematically, using precise metrics to evaluate teaching impact. The emphasis on measurable outcomes empowers staff to tailor instruction to individual needs, ensuring a more personalised and effective learning experience.

Application to Diverse Educational Contexts:

This training also highlighted the versatility of Precision Teaching across various subjects and educational levels. Whether applied to mathematics, MFL, or spelling skills Precision Teaching can be adapted to meet the unique challenges and objectives of different classroom contexts. Delegates were introduced to some of these examples covered in our PT Level 2 advanced training.

Charting and Graphing:

School staff also received practical training on creating and interpreting ratio or ‘celeration’ charts. These visual representations of student progress are integral to the Precision Teaching methodology, providing clear insights into learning trends and areas requiring co-reflection. Participants learnt to use these tools to identify patterns, set goals, and make informed teaching adjustments (i.e. changes to ‘how’ and ‘what’ concepts are taught).

Individualised Instructional Strategies:

Precision Teaching largely advocates for individualised tuition based on student needs, although group-based derivations are noted in the literature (e.g. Solity et al., 2000). The training explored strategies for tailoring teaching approaches to address specific challenges identified through data analysis, pupil feedback and build on the solid evidence base drawn from Direct Instruction teaching approaches (e.g. Solity,2020). By understanding each student's responses to intervention, staff can create targeted support that maximises outcomes for each pupil.

Promoting Positive Feedback:

The training emphasised the role of positive feedback within a Precision Teaching framework. Staff learnt how to implement motivational strategies that encourage desired outcomes and foster a positive learning environment. Recognising and reinforcing small achievements can contribute significantly to sustained progress and student engagement (i.e. academic self-concept: Roberts and Norwich, 2010).

Implementation Considerations:

Lastly, participants were introduced to practical considerations for implementing Precision Teaching in their school. This includes strategies for time management, planning for access to appropriate physical spaces and fostering collaboration among all staff members to ensure prioritisation is given to the daily delivery model (Roberts &Hampton, 2008).

 Final remarks

In conclusion, this introductory Level 1course in Precision Teaching for school staff provides a comprehensive overview of the methodology, the foundational principles, practical applications and considerations for effective implementation. By empowering staff with the tools and knowledge to implement Precision Teaching, this training sought to create a learning environment where data-driven decision-making accelerates progress for pupils in schools.


Haring, N.G., Lovitt, T.C., Eaton, M.D., & Hansen, C.L.(1978). The fourth R: Research in the classroom. Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill Publishing Co. Solity, J. (2020). Instructional psychology and teaching reading: Ending the reading wars. Educational and Developmental Psychologist, 37, 123-132. Solity,J., Deavers, R., Kerfoot, S., Crane, G. & Cannon, K. (2000) The Early Reading Research: the impact of instructional psychology. Educational Psychology in Practice, 16, 2, 109-128. Roberts, W. G. & Hampton, E. (2008). Evaluating and sustaining Precision Teaching in schools. Division of Educational and Child Psychology (The British Psychological Society): Debate, 127, 23-34. Roberts ,W. G. & Norwich, B. (2010).  Using precision teaching to enhance the word reading skills and academic self-concept of secondary school students: A role for professional educational psychologists. Educational Psychology in Practice, 26, 3, 279-298.