Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

Direct Behavior Rating: A Review of the Issues and Research in Its Development

Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

Direct Behavior Rating: A Review of the Issues and Research in Its Development

Article excerpt

Abstract

The conceptual foundation for Direct Behavior Rating as a behavior assessment method is reviewed. A contemporary definition of Direct Behavior Rating is framed as combining strengths of systematic direct observation and behavior rating scales, which may result in a usable and defensible assessment tool for educators engaged in formative purposes. The rationale behind development of Direct Behavior Rating Single Item Scales as general outcome measures for school-based behavioral risk is provided. Research related to development of instrumentation and procedures for Direct Behavior Rating Single Item Scales is discussed, along with implications for future research and practice.

Typical purposes for assessment within a problem-solving model include a) problem identification, b) problem definition, c) design interventions, d) monitor intervention effects, and e) evaluate outcomes and solutions (Deno, 2005). Across these purposes, it is evident that the assessment tools utilized have substantial prominence, and that both defensibility and usability of selected tools becomes crucial to successful implementation of the model. Defensibility refers to psychometric strengths of data in relation to intended purpose, but this is not the only important consideration. For example, a highly resource intensive assessment battery may possess tremendous psychometric strengths in problem identification of behavior problems yet the costs outweigh the benefits of utilization. Thus, usability is dually important in problem-solving assessments, which refers to considerations surrounding acceptability, understanding, feasibility, and systems support (Chafouleas, Briesch, Riley-Tillman, & McCoach, 2009). Together, defensibility and usability are critical pieces to the utility of an assessment. The purpose of this manuscript is to provide a review of work related to a behavior assessment method, Direct Behavior Rating (DBR), which was specifically developed and evaluated in consideration of both desirable characteristics and with intended use in assessment within problem-solving models. In this review, conceptual foundations of DBR will be provided along with summary of research to date related to the development and evaluation of specific versions of DBR scales.

Review of Desirable Characteristics of Problem-Solving Assessments

Over 25 years ago, researchers identified general outcome measures (GOMs) for key academic domains in order to enable defensible and usable problem solving (Hosp, Hosp, & Howell, 2007; Shinn, 1989). GOMs provide scientifically-established benchmarks for typical and atypical performance. GOMs are widely used in medicine to direct intervention decisions regarding physical health (blood pressure, temperature), and have also emerged within education and psychology. For example, Curriculum-Based Measurement of Reading (CBM-R) is often administered three times per year to evaluate student performance against benchmark standards (initial screening assessment). Students with deficit performances are targeted for additional support. As a GOM, CBM-R does not provide detailed diagnosis of the academic deficit; however, it does function as a key marker of essential skill and is a good indicator of risk. Once students are identified for additional services, CBM-R is administered more frequently (e.g., weekly) to monitor and evaluate intervention effects (progress monitoring assessment). Thus, GOMs are useful for dual purposes involving establishing (screening) and evaluating progress (progress monitoring) toward key outcomes, both of which serve as foundations to problem-solving assessment. Although more work is needed to establish appropriate GOMs across all key academic domains, far more work must be done in domains of social behavior.

As noted by Severson and colleagues (2007), multiple additional challenges exist in establishing measures of behavior that have utility within a problem-solving model. …

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