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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bright Idea: How to quantify minimum/moderate/maximum cues

So if you've been practicing in the field for a awhile (and even if you haven't) I'm sure you've come across the ambiguous "minimal/moderate/maximum" cues. What exactly is minimal cues? moderate cues? How does one define these words? I decided to create my own guideline that I use for writing goals and data collection. Here is what I have used for the past 3.5 years:

Minimal Cues = no more than 2 per 5 trials
Moderate Cues =no more than 4 per 5 trials
Maximum Cues= more than 4 per 5 trials.

By 1/22/15, when given a randomly selected target word, Sammy Student will correctly produce the /s/ in the initial position of words with 80% accuracy and minimal verbal, visual and tactile cues (1-2 per 5 trials), across 3 consecutive data collection periods.

I put + for correct, - for incorrect and I circle the +/- if the student required a cue. 

Does this make sense? Am I complicating things? I felt better operationally defining the cues. PLUS this makes things easier to describe to parents :)

Hopefully you can use this bright idea!


  1. Whitney - Thank you for sharing that! I like it better than what I have been doing.

  2. I guess 2 prompts for every 5 trials still seems like a lot more than minimal cues to me. If you did 100 trials of initial /s/ words in a 30min session and the student needed 2 prompts for each group of 5 trials, that's 40 prompts in the session. That seems like a lot. What if you worked on "wh" questions one session and the student did 10 trials. Say he needed 2 prompts, so then that's also considered minimal cues? I usually write the percentage the student got independently and then the percentage he got with prompts. It's interesting to see how others are doing it though!

  3. I think you're right! I have actually switched to 1 cue per 5 trials = minimal, 2 = moderate and 3+ = maximum. I just wanted to somehow describe the importance of being explicit (especially in IEPs) instead of just saying min/mod/max.

  4. What is your definition of a "trial?" Thanks for posting this, this is helpful!