Whenever I talk about data collection, the questions that I get the most often revolve around behavior data. Typically these questions are some variation of “How can I collect behavior data in a way that is useful, doesn’t take a lot of time, and can actually help me in the classroom?” Taking data on challenging behaviors are hard. These behaviors can happen at any time of day. They often occur in sets of behaviors. Behavior can easily turn subjective. How extreme was that tantrum? How hard was that hit? Our emotions and opinions can make it difficult to be accurate with data collection.
Why do we need to take data on challenging behaviors?
Before you think about what your data collection system should look like, first identify why you need to take data on challenging behaviors. Your reason shouldn’t be “because I should” or “because Sasha told me.” The reason you are taking data is to see if the interventions or supports you are using are actually working. So you want your data to be consistent. I use this analogy in trainings a lot: you wouldn’t compare your time running a mile on a treadmill vs running a mile in a tough mudder because those are different scenarios. So you want to keep your data collection as consistent as possible so you can accurately compare any changes that may be happening.
Behavior Rubrics Lead to Consistency
One way I have found to be consistent with collecting data on problem behaviors, is by using rubrics. I absolutely love rubrics because they help make a seemingly very difficult task to take data on much more approachable. Things like social skills, advanced academics, and life skills are all made data friendly by using rubrics. Rubrics can create a helpful summary of several behaviors that contribute to completion of an activity. With problem behaviors, there are often many layers or many behaviors happening at once. We want to accurately identify all of this without creating a data system that is completely unrealistic to maintain in the classroom.
In my new set of Behavior Rubrics, there are 16 rubrics included to track challenging behaviors. The rubrics focus on common classroom obstacles such as transitions, using technology, and recess. There are also 3 rubrics for general school behavior to track behavior throughout the whole day. I love these for parent communication! Other rubrics include independent work, group work, and playing with friends. Use the rubric throughout the day to get a numerical value for each situation or time period. Transfer data to a data sheet or graph to track progress over time.
This resource includes a data sheet, graphing sheet, and data/graph sheet for you to track progress over time. I love the data/graph sheet because you can easily create a visual graph to visually illustrate the changes in the data. Having data graphed helps make more accurate decisions and share data with admin and parents.