Practical Behavioral Assessment

By Farrell, Paul | National Association of School Psychologists. Communique, November 2008 | Go to article overview

Practical Behavioral Assessment


Farrell, Paul, National Association of School Psychologists. Communique


Practical Behavioral Assessment REVIEW BY PAUL FARRELL SCHOOL-BASED BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENT: Informing Intervention and Instruction By S. Chafouleas, T. C. Riley-Tillman, & G. Sugai The Guilford Press, 2007

A book providing comprehensive coverage of a subject typically runs hundreds of pages and gets into a level of detail most school psycholo- gists will never have time for. Hence the beauty of School- Based Behavioral Assessment: Informing Intervention and In- struction, by Chafouleas, Riley- Tillman, and Sugai (2007). Like the other volumes in The Guilford Practical Inter- vention in the Schools Series, it covers its subject matter as concisely as possible while addressing the key concepts and issues the clinician needs to be familiar with.

The introductory chapter discusses the many ways behavioral assessment can be used to inform decisions about instruction and intervention, recommending that assessment be tailored to the specific question that needs to be answered. Different questions call for different assessment tools but assessment is always approached from a multimethod, multisource, and multisetting perspective. Without wasting time, one needs to collect enough information to fully understand the problem situation and develop an effective intervention.

The next five chapters explore the different types of assessment tools: whole-school data, extant data, systematic direct observation, direct behavior ratings, and behavior rating scales. The strengths and limitations of each type are made clear.

One would look for wholeschool data to make decisions for improving the social climate and teaching environment of classroom and nonclassroom settings for all students. For example, patterns of disciplinary referrals might be useful information in developing positive behavioral supports at the schoolwide level. …

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