Accuracy of Teacher-Collected Descriptive Analysis Data: A Comparison of Narrative and Structured Recording Formats

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Abstract

Recording the antecedents and consequences of problem behavior for the purposes of conducting descriptive analyses (called “A-B-C recording”) can be particularly challenging, given the multiple variables that are commonly present in the natural environment. Nonetheless, psychologists and behavioral consultants often must rely on parents and teachers to collect descriptive data in community settings. Few studies have examined the accuracy of data collected by caregivers or the best way to train people to collect these data. The purpose of this study was to examine the accuracy of teacher-collected data with two commonly used recording formats after the teachers received the type of training typically provided to public school teachers. Thirteen of the sixteen participants reported that they had previously collected A-B-C data in their classrooms as part of the functional assessment process. Participants used narrative and structured A-B-C data forms to collect data while watching videotapes of scripted exchanges between actors. They collected data more accurately when using the structured format compared to the narrative format and indicated a preference for this method of assessment. These findings have important implications for training educators to collect descriptive data.

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