Academic journal article School Psychology Review

Direct Behavior Rating: An Evaluation of Alternate Definitions to Assess Classroom Behaviors

Academic journal article School Psychology Review

Direct Behavior Rating: An Evaluation of Alternate Definitions to Assess Classroom Behaviors

Article excerpt

School psychologists function as problem-solving consultants for both academic (Deno, 2005) and classroom behavior problems (Kratochwill & Bergan, 1984). School-based problem solving has been conceptualized by Deno (2005) and others to include the following steps: (a) identify a problem, (b) define the problem so it is meaningful, (c) explore and identify solutions, (d) engage in action to solve the problem while monitoring effects, and (e) learn from the results. Problem solving for academic achievement is often facilitated by the well-established set of procedures that comprise curriculum-based measurement. Curriculum-based measurement functions as a general outcome measurement procedure (GOM; Fuchs & Deno, 1991), which provides a standardized methodology for assessment that is defensible yet efficient and repeatable (Fuchs & Deno, 1991; Deno, 2005).

A GOM assesses behaviors that correspond with outcomes, which have been described as cultural imperatives used by functional members of society (Deno, 2005). For example, academic behaviors include reading, writing, and arithmetic whereas social behaviors

might include the ability to comply with laws and situation-specific rules (e.g., workplace, school). GOMs are generally useful to identify, define, and monitor the status of a problem that has consequences for the individual's potential to function and contribute meaningfully in society. Repeated measurement with GOM across time can provide estimates of student growth within and across alternate instructional conditions. Problem solving for reading is enabled through the use of cirriculum-based measurement of oral reading. Problem solving within other domains, such as school-based behavior, is often more challenging because there is no well-established GOM (Chafouleas, Volpe, Gresham, & Cook, 2010).

Published research based on surveys of school psychologists suggest that interviews, rating scales, and systematic direct observations (SDOs) are the most frequently used methods of assessment for classroom-based behavior problems (Shapiro & Heick, 2004). However, those methods each lack characteristics that facilitate problem solving. For example, interviews do not provide precise estimates of either the level of behavior problems or the rate of behavior change associated with interventions. Rating scales can yield reasonably precise estimates for the level of behavior problems, but often lack the efficiency and repeatability that is necessary to monitor intervention effects. Rating scales are often comprised of an extensive list of items (30+), which can be inefficient to administer. Moreover, rating scales characterize behavior as it occurred over extended periods of time (e.g., last 6 weeks or 6 months), which does not lend to repeatable assessments over short periods of time. Finally, although SDO methods are repeatable, they can be highly inefficient and resource intensive. Some estimates suggest the need for 10- to 20-min observations by highly trained observers to establish stable estimates of classroom behavior problems (Hintze & Matthews, 2004). In summary, although each of the currently most popular methods of behavior assessment has some utility for problem solving, each lacks GOM characteristics.

Direct Behavior Rating

Direct Behavior Rating (DBR) is a hybrid method of assessment that combines characteristics of both SDO and behavior rating scales (Chafouleas, Riley-Tillman, & Christ, 2009). DBR data are collected at the time and place that behavior occurs, which is consistent with SDO, but data are generated using a rating scale format by those persons naturally occurring in the context of interest (Chafou leas, Riley-Tillman et al., 2009; Christ, Riley Tillman, & Chafouleas, 2009). For example, classroom teachers are ideal raters when using DBR because teachers naturally exist in the classroom setting and have ample opportunity to observe and evaluate behavior. …

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