Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

Teacher Judgment in Assessing Students' Social Behavior within a Response-to-Intervention Framework: Using What Teachers Know

Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

Teacher Judgment in Assessing Students' Social Behavior within a Response-to-Intervention Framework: Using What Teachers Know

Article excerpt

Abstract

This article is focused on the initial development and trial testing of a brief teacher rating tool that can be used for universal screening and tracking of instructionally relevant forms of student social behavior over time. A 12-item scale is described in which teachers make judgments about student performance on a skills-based rather than a frequency-based rating dimension. We believe teachers are expert judges of student skill levels in social behaviors and academic enablers that are of critical importance to school success (i.e., enhanced social-behavioral adjustment and academic performance) as opposed to frequency- or rate-based estimates that are less essential to a teacher's instruction and management of the classroom. The Elementary Social Behavior Assessment (ESBA) asks teachers to judge each student's performance regarding evaluative criteria based on their teaching and management of the classroom. Case-study illustrations of the universal screening and tracking functions of the ESBA are provided.

Keywords: ratings, teacher judgment, social behavior, screening, monitoring

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More and more schools are adopting a response-to-intervention (RtI) framework to allocate scarce student-support resources in the most efficient manner. Successfully implementing an RtI framework in a classroom hinges on the teacher's ability to screen all students efficiently to identify those who--in comparison to the entire class--display elevated support needs, to deliver needed support to the students identified, and then to continuously monitor their progress (Brown-Chidsey & Steege, 2005). Given that teacher time is becoming more and more limited as a result of ever-increasing internal and external demands, teachers' ability to successfully implement the RtI framework depends partially on the availability of assessment tools that efficiently measure exactly what teachers need to know to identify those students having elevated support needs. Tools are also needed that allow teachers to compare students to each other on a minimum number of items representing skills critical to academic success and satisfactory school adjustment.

This article focuses on the initial development and trial testing of a brief teacher rating tool that can be used for universal screening and tracking of instructionally relevant forms of student social behavior over time. The Elementary Social Behavior Assessment (ESBA; Marquez, Yeaton, & Vincent, 2013; Pennefather & Smolkowski, 2015) is a 12-item skills-based rating scale reflecting teacher judgments of students' social behavior and academic enablers. The ESBA asks teachers to comparatively judge students' performance on skills-based dimensions, informed by the teachers' daily interactions with and appraisal of students.

Assessing Student Social Behavior Within an RtI Framework: Challenges and Opportunities

In their recent review of systematic student assessments, Lane, Menzies, Oakes, and Kalberg (2012) noted that RtI has stimulated a strong surge in progress-monitoring assessment practices for student performance. For example, RtI has led to the development of such widely used tools as the DIBELS (Sopris West, Inc.) and AIMSweb (Pearson, Inc.) assessment systems and a search for brief, change-sensitive item pools, as exemplified by the work of Gresham and colleagues (Gresham et al., 2010). However, as Chafouleas, Volpe, Gresham, and Cook (2010) have noted, no widely accepted method for how best to behaviorally assess and monitor students' social behavior has yet emerged. This is especially true within an RtI context. Adoption of the Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) system and increased implementation of the RtI logic together have created a huge demand for cost-efficient screening and progress-monitoring tools for classroom application (Horner & Sugai, 2000).

In this context, Gresham et al. …

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