Circling back to our look at the RBT™ Task List, let's continue to look at A-02 Continuous Measurement procedures which is probably the most used method in school if you’re taking any direct observation data. These include ABC data collection, frequency or count, rate, latency, and a few more. Let’s look at PERCENTAGE and RATING SCALE recording. These are probably the most used in a school setting. Here we go!
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Probably the most commonly used measurement in a school setting, in particular, but maybe even in a clinical setting.
A percentage measurement expresses a proportional quantity, correct-to-incorrect responses. For example, Joe follows routine one-step directions 80% of the time.
Percentage recording, while useful for measuring progress, has some considerations because if not done thoughtfully, it can be used incorrectly:
- Can be misleading. Think about it. If the goal is set for 80%, and the student was given 1 opportunity and got it right, that's 100%, and if they got it wrong, that's 0%. So the best way to use it is with the most opportunities possible to really see an accurate measurement.
- Has limited use because it has no time dimension. Doing 5 things in 5 minutes is quick different than doing 5 things in a month. Yet, the percentage would be the same if the numbers of correct was the same.
With that said, there's an easy way to make percentage fairly practical: provide a minimum opportunity standard and a time frame.
For example, “will follow routine one-step directions 80% of the time of at least 5 consecutive opportunities within a 2-hour interval” or “will complete toileting routine independently in 8 out of 10 opportunities across three consecutive data days.”
How do you take Percentage Recordings
- Have a clearly defined behavior. Can someone who doesn't know the student identify the start and stop of the behavior if they read the description and see it in action?
- Make sure staff are trained and a good way to measure it (e.g., clipboard with behavior definition and data sheet).
- Mark whether the student's response (the defined behavior) was Correct (+) or Incorrect (-) at the bare minimum. Additional insight may be useful with prompt levels required for correct responses.
- At the end of each identified set of opportunities, calculate the percentage by dividing the correct responses by the total number of opportunities. Express that in a percentage format.
Raw data (10 new words, materials in student's binder): Day 1: + + – – – + + – – = 4 / 10 = 40%
Day 2: + + + – – – + – + – = 5 / 10 = 50%
And so on
Example of Percentage Recording
Rating Scale Recording
Rating Scales are probably one of less objective and systematic ways to gather data, however, they have their place. I like to use this with staff who can't attend to a student's behavior at every moment, or for a behavior that's a little “looser” in definition (more difficult to define a start and stop), or maybe just to gather some preliminary data before we develop a more robust data system.
Rating scales are almost always subjective, depending on the recall of the rater. I mean, unless you get VERY specific in the definition, it'll be pretty hard to make the analysis objective.
However, I have found this system is good to supplement another recording measure. Like maybe I'm taking Whole Interval Recording during circle time but I also want a sort of temperature gauge on how the student did in general during the whole observation. Something like that.
How do you take Rating Scales
For a rating scale, a behavior is defined and then described in terms of a number scale. For example, maybe the behavior is “completing an assigned task,” and we decide the scale will be 1-5. We might define it like this:
1=Unable to proceed with assignment at all, completely stuck
2=Needs almost complete prompting, para sitting real close, many errors
3=Needs lots of prompting and directions, some answers independent, para sitting near by
4=Once the task is understood, begins and does most of task independently, no more than 20% incorrect
5=Able to read the directions and complete work independently, asking for help no more than one time, para not sitting at table
The rating is then given at the end of a pre-determined time (e.g., the first 5 assignments during the day).
You could then average those 5 ratings and get an overall rating for each day.
So if the ratings were 2, 3, 4, 4, 3 then the daily average would be 3.2.
It would also be smart to look deeper at the raw data to find trends. Are most of the 2's occurring during Writing? Are the 4's during a preferred activity or with a certain teacher?
Example of Rating Scales
What do you do with the information for Percentage or Rating Scales?
- Gather baseline data
- Implement a strategy and measure change
- Re-evaluate success of strategy and make a change if needed
- Go back to #2 and repeat until you hit your goal
- Gather reporting or final evaluation data
- Choose a new goal and keep going!
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