Over 1,500 schools, confirmed incidents occur within the classroom, with defiance and disruption as two of the most frequent types of behaviors that result in office discipline referrals. The first step in crafting an intervention for any behavior is to operationally define the behavior in measurable, observable, and objective terms.
Dealing with the multitude of student behaviors that arrive at the classroom doorstep each day can be challenging and frustrating. In a recent descriptive study involving the review of school-wide discipline data in over 1,500 schools, Spaulding et al. (2010) confirmed the logical assumption that the majority of behavioral incidents occur within the classroom, with defiance and disruption as two of the most fre quent types of behaviors that result in office discipline referrals. However, these two terms, “defiance” and “disruption” do not really provide very useful information about the behaviors. Depending on the teacher, student, and situation, these two words could carry very different meanings. For that reason, the first step in crafting an intervention for any behavior is to operationally define the behavior in mea surable, observable, and objective terms. Only then, can the behavior be accurately measured, data systematically collected, and an intervention plan developed, implemented, and evaluated (Van Acker, Boreson, Gable, & Potterton, 2005).
A new resource is available through The Iris Center that provides professional learning through explicit instruction and case studies. The module titled, Measuring Behavior, includes a brief introduction to defining behaviors in measurable, observable, and objective terms. The second part of the learning module focuses on selecting data collection systems (e.g. event recording, interval recording, duration recording, latency recording) that will provide the most useful information for designing supports to in- crease student learning. This resource provides guided learning through case studies applicable to K-12 classrooms and is ideal for independent, teacher team, or whole staff professional development. Find this resource, Measuring Behavior, online at http://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/case_studies/ICS-014.pdf.
Spaulding, S.A., Irvin, L.K., Horner, R.H., May, S.L., Emeldi, M., Tobin, T.J., & Sugai, G. (2010). Schoolwide social- behavioral climate, student problem behavior, and related administrative decisions. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 12(2), 69-85.
Van Acker, R., Boreson, L., Gable, R.A., Potterton, T. (2005). Are we on the right course? Lessons learned about cur- rent FBA/BIP practices in schools. Journal of Behavioral Education, 14(1), 35-56.