Data Collection in Discrete Trials Teaching - A Comparison

Together, these findings suggest that data collected on a subset of trials (i.e., 3 out of 8 or 9 trials) would have adequate correspondence with continuous data and reveal similar changes in performance over time. Recording data on just the first trial would give a rough estimate of overall performance in the session, but this approach may lead to premature determinations of skill mastery. First-trial data also would be relatively insensitive to initial changes in performance.
In terms of implications for best practice, we recommend the use of continuous, highly specific recording if ease and efficiency are not a top concern. Continuous recording provides greater sensitivity and may lead to more stringent mastery criteria. Furthermore, information about prompt level is useful for other reasons (e.g., to track fading steps). If ease and efficiency are a top concern, we recommend recording performance on a small subset of trials (rather than the first trial only), including the prompt level needed on these trials, and basing the mastery criterion on performance across more extended sessions (e.g., 4+ consecutive sessions).

By Lerman and colleagues @ Inside Behavior Analysis

For more information on discrete-trials teaching.