Observations Essay

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Observations One of the informal assessments of student behavior will be observation. The informal observations and reports of the behaviors can be the first of the prescreening assessments. Later there will need to be at least one additional observation done in the classroom to include in the formal report. Discipline reports may be collected initially for pre-referral data collection. According to Heward (2003), there are five measurable dimensions of behavior. There is rate, "how often a particular behavior occurs per standard unit of time" (p. 288), and duration, which would measure the length of time the behavior is displayed. Another dimension is latency, which is the amount of time there is to respond without evidence of the behavior. The fourth dimension is magnitude, the intensity of the behavior, which may range from too little or too much, for example, the low volume of voice or slamming of a door. The last dimension is that of topography, the physical form of the behavior or what the behavior looks like when observed. It is best practice that someone who is not with the student all day to do the observation in order to allow for an objective report. There may be more than one observation completed to help ensure reliability. Behavior Assessments and Interviews Methods of gathering information specifically on the student's behaviors may include behavior checklists, standardized self-reports, structured interviews, rating scales, and other appropriate assessment techniques. Analysis of work samples can also be useful. Here, instructors/observers are asked to focus on observable behavior in the school setting and describe what students do in nonbiased, objective, and behaviorally related terms. Some assessments use a triangulation method, so parents and the student may also need to fill out questionnaires and rating scales. Some specific

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