Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


32nd Annual Convention; Atlanta, GA; 2006

Event Details

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Symposium #417
CE Offered: BACB
A Behavioral Analytic Approach to Special Educator Assessment
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Donald M. Stenhoff (University of Kentucky)
Discussant: Charles L. Salzberg (Utah State University)
CE Instructor: Bryan J. Davey, Ph.D.

Behaviorists seek to measure specific observable educators behaviors (e.g., opportunities for students to respond, praise delivered to students, and error correction procedures) rather than overall quality of classroom activities. To empirically assess the quality of teachers behaviors during instruction, it is imperative that measures are precise and reliable. When observable behaviors are recorded within a systematic framework and collected in an empirical manner, we can directly assess the extent to which teachers engage in research-based effective teaching behaviors. This is crucial in understanding and designing interventions to increase special educators effectiveness in the classroom and ultimately impact student outcomes. Often, personnel preparation programs and state offices of education rely on measures lacking direct behavioral observation methods and provide no evidence of validity. An instrument has been developed that captures the degree to which teachers engage in critical observable behaviors. The instruments reliability, and the relationship between the identified behaviors and student academic performance are being assessed. The purpose of this symposium is to: (a) discuss observable effective teaching behaviors, (b) describe a behavior analytic approach to teacher assessment, (c) present reliability data, (d) present longitudinal teacher data study, and (e) present a methodology to link teacher behavior to student outcomes.

Directly Observed Teacher Behaviors and Their Link to Student Performance.
BENJAMIN LIGNUGARIS/KRAFT (Utah State University), Donald M. Stenhoff (University of Kentucky)
Abstract: Over 30 years of research has provided information that identifies important pedagogical skills. Some of those skills include providing frequent opportunities to respond, providing feedback to students, and monitoring student work. Researchers, assert that having a teaching certificate or completing college methods courses may not be indicative of these skills. This points clearly to the need to directly assess pedagogical skills rather than rely upon indirect measures such as certification status or courses completed. However, directly measuring effective teaching behaviors is a complicated task. It is important to identify critical behaviors based on prior studies that examined teacher behaviors and the relationship to student performance in the classroom. The purpose of this presentation is to provide an overview of the critical teaching behaviors that have been identified in the literature. Additionally, the presenter will discuss the current available instruments and the extent to which they incorporate these behaviors.
The Characteristics and Reliability of a Behavioral Teacher Performance Measure.
DONALD M. STENHOFF (University of Kentucky), Benjamin Lignugaris/Kraft (Utah State University), Bryan J. Davey (Southern Behavioral Group, Inc.)
Abstract: Often in educational settings observers assess educators with instruments that depend on a high level of inference. While these instruments are frequently used, they do not provide observers or personnel preparation programs with an empirical behavioral measure of teacher performance. Thus, any instrument used to evaluate teacher performance should include defined objective measures with items that reflect a composite of research based effective teaching behaviors. A behavioral based instrument should have high interobserver reliability, and identify clear instructional strengths and needs. Such a measure provides personnel preparation programs with reliable information regarding the extent to which teachers engage in specific behavior. Precise behavior measurement allows observers to target specific behaviors with interventions (e.g., targeted training, specific feedback), which can be designed and implemented to improve teachers’ performance. The purpose of this presentation is to describe the characteristics of a distinct teacher observation instrument that relies on direct observation of observable and measurable educator behaviors. The instrument is used to assess the degree to which teachers engage in specific behaviors shown to produce higher student achievement. In addition, results from a reliability study will be presented.
Observable Teacher Behaviors: Effective Measurement and a Methodology to Link Teacher Behavior and Student Outcomes.
BRYAN J. DAVEY (Southern Behavioral Group, Inc.), Timothy A. Slocum (Utah State University), Charles L. Salzberg (Utah State University), Donald M. Stenhoff (University of Kentucky)
Abstract: The presentation examines special education teacher development from student teaching through the end of the induction year using a behaviorally based teacher performance measure (TPM). The measure is grounded in observable effective teaching behaviors and comprised of three general categories: (a) instruction; (b) classroom management; and (c) assessment and data collection. Longitudinal data were collected on observable teacher behaviors such as active monitoring, error correction procedures, opportunities to respond and praise rate. Data pertaining to classroom management and assessment and data collection techniques were also obtained through direct interview. Results are presented and discussed in terms of development across general categories and specific teaching behaviors. Further results are discussed in terms of implications for personnel preparation programs. The presentation will conclude with an introduction to a “value-added” methodology, which purports to assess beginning teachers’ effectiveness in relation to student achievement.



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