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Selecting, Defining, and Measuring Behavior. Week 2: Seeing is Believing. Behavioral Assessment. Comprehensive multi-method of data collection to identify and define behavioral targets for change. Purposes of Behavioral Assessment. Screening

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Selecting defining and measuring behavior

Selecting, Defining, and Measuring Behavior

Week 2: Seeing is Believing

Behavioral assessment
Behavioral Assessment

  • Comprehensive multi-method of data collection to identify and define behavioral targets for change

Purposes of behavioral assessment
Purposes of Behavioral Assessment

  • Screening

  • Defining problems and/or desired achievement criteria

  • Pinpointing target behavior to be treated

  • Monitoring Progress

  • Follow up

Consider social significance of the behavior
Consider Social Significance of the Behavior

  • Habilitation?

    • Maximize Reinforcement & minimize Punishment

  • Prerequisite to learning New behavior?

  • Increase Access to learning new behavior?

  • Facilitate Social Interaction?

    • Getting rid of aggression, increasing compliments

Social significance considerations
Social Significance Considerations

  • Behavioral Cusp?

    • Reading

  • Pivotal Behavior?

    • Response Class

  • Age appropriate

    • Playing with a doll

  • Is this a real behavior of interest?

    • On Task, Losing Weight?

  • Replacement behavior needed?

Prioritizing behaviors
Prioritizing Behaviors

  • Danger to self or other

  • How “severe”?

  • How long has the problem been occurring?

  • Increase higher rates of R+?

  • Relative Importance?

  • Reduce Negative Social Interaction?

  • Behavior Produce R+ for others?

  • Likelihood of change?

    • Lit., experience, environment, resources?

  • How much will it cost?

  • SEE Figure 3.5 on prioritizing potential target behaviors

Methods of assessment
Methods of Assessment

  • RIOT

    • Record Review

    • Interviews/Checklists

    • Observations

    • Tests

Record review
Record Review

  • School Record

  • Permanent Products

    • Work Samples

  • Report Cards

Determining whether permanent product is appropriate
Determining Whether Permanent Product Is Appropriate

  • Is real time measurement needed?

  • Can the Behavior Be measured by Permanent Product?

  • Will obtaining contrived (if planned; e.g. tape recording) permanent product affect behavior?

  • How much will it cost?


  • Reliability is a concern

  • Can be used to generate hypotheses

  • Get direct data (i.e. independent observation) to corroborate

Interviews continued
Interviews Continued

  • What, When, where and How questions? No WHY?

    • What does the behavior look like?

    • When does it occur?

    • What happens before the behavior?

    • What happens after the behavior?

    • Where does the behavior occur?

    • Who is around?

    • What gets the behavior to stop?

    • When is the behavior likely NOT to occur?

    • How long does the behavior occur?

    • How frequently does the behavior occur?

Rating scales checklists
Rating Scales & Checklists

  • More reliable than verbal report

  • Used only as a “screener”


    • E.g. Behavioral Assessment System for Children

    • E.g. Diagnostic Inventory System for Children

    • E.g. RCMAS, CDI,


  • This is not an anecdotalreport of what someoneobserved for a class period

General guidelines for observations
General guidelines for observations:

  • Don’t be intrusive.

  • Agree upon a clearly defined and observable behavior first.

  • Observe across days/times/settings to increase reliability.

  • Use with other forms of assessment to increase validity.

  • Carefully consider the goal of the observation before selecting an observation tool.

  • Always note the environmental context of the behavior.

  • Observe students in their natural environments.

  • Always observe peers for a comparison.


Observation systems
Observation “Systems”

  • Save your money

  • Very limited

  • Use direct behavioral systematic observation methods

Direct behavioral observations
Direct Behavioral Observations

  • ABC Log’s

  • Frequency Tabulation Log’s

  • Systematic Interval Recording

Examples of direct observations
Examples of Direct Observations

ABC Recording

  • Antecedents - what occurs right before the behavior.

  • Behavior - problem behavior (observable and defined)

  • Consequences - what happens right after the behavior

Advantages of abc log
Advantages of ABC Log

  • Frees up Practitioner

  • Allows for measurement that is inconvenient or inaccessible

  • May be more accurate/complete

Examples of direct observations1
Examples of Direct Observations

Frequency Count (RATE MEASURE!)

  • A measure of how often a clearly defined behavior occurs within a given period of time.

  • Examine the frequency of the behavior by tallying or counting the behavior as it occurs.

  • Use this when the behavior is discrete (has an obvious beginning and ending) and does not occur at very high rates.

  • This information is helpful at ALL steps of the problem solving process


Examples of direct observations2
Examples of Direct Observations

Systematic Data Recording

  • Examine percentage of target behavior by:

    • Recording when the selected student is engaging in target behavior during 10-second intervals for 15 minutes.

    • Peers are observed in the same way as a comparison.

  • Requires more training than the other observation tools.

  • This information is helpful at all steps of the problem solving process

Systematic direct behavioral observations interval recording
Systematic Direct Behavioral Observations: Interval Recording

  • Partial Interval Recording: Occurs anytime within interval

  • Whole Interval Recording: Occurs majority of Interval

  • Momentary Time Sampling: Within 3 seconds

    • Planned Activity Check: Frequency count of students at moment

  • Duration Recording: How long behavior occurs

Target Child Recording

Composite Child

Measurement issues
Measurement Issues Recording

  • Frequency

    • Rate when possible

    • If acquisition both accuracy and error rates

  • Duration

    • Total

    • Per Occurrence

  • Latency: S to R

    • Interresponse Time: R to R

  • Intensity

Derived definitional measures
Derived & Definitional Measures Recording

  • Percentages

    • 40% of intervals observed

  • Trials to Criterion

    • 10 consecutive correct trials

  • Topography: Form/Shape

  • Magnitude: Force/Intensity

Psychometrics of behavioral measurement
Psychometrics of Behavioral Measurement Recording

  • Validity

  • Reliability

  • Accuracy

How to maximize valid and accurate data collection
How to maximize valid and accurate data collection Recording

  • Measure behavior continuously

  • Measure behavior the same time/place across observations

  • Measure with solid “system”

  • Train observers then train them again later

  • Minimize reactivity

  • Assess Accuracy of Measurement: Answer Key

  • Assess Reliability: IOA on 25-33% of sessions

    • 80-90%

Ioa event recording
IOA: Event Recording Recording

  • Total Count:

    • (Smaller/Larger ) x 100

  • Mean Count Per interval

    • ( N IOA)/ n intervals

  • Exact Count Per Interval

    • (# Intervals of 100% IOA)/(n intervals)

  • Trial by Trial

    • (# Trials with Agreements/ Total number of Trials) x 100%

Ioa timing
IOA: Timing Recording

  • Total Duration

    • (Shorter Duration/Longer Duration) x 10

  • Mean Duration

    • (IOA Rn/ N responses )* 100

Ioa interval recording
IOA: Interval Recording Recording

  • Interval by Interval

    • (Agreements/Agreements + Disagreements) *100%

  • Scored Interval

    • Calculate only when one of the two scorers scored something

  • Unscored Interval

    • Calculate only when one of the two scorers scored something Did not occur