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Project VIABLE: Impact of Observation Period Duration on Direct Behavior Rating DBR


disruptive behavior were overestimated (e.g., ratings of 20-min observations were more highly. overestimated than ratings of 10-min observations) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Project VIABLE: Impact of Observation Period Duration on Direct Behavior Rating DBR

Project VIABLE Impact of Observation Period
Duration on Direct Behavior Rating (DBR)

Rose Jaffery1, Christina Boice2, Amy L. Ivey3,
Selena Waite3, T. Chris Riley-Tillman3, Theodore
J. Christ2, Sandra M. Chafouleas1
University of Connecticut1, University of
Minnesota2, East Carolina University3
The overall purpose of this study was to add to
the growing base of literature regarding the
technical adequacy of Direct Behavior Rating
(DBR). DBR is a method of social behavior
assessment that integrates components of
systematic direct observation and behavior rating
scales (Chafouleas, Riley-Tillman, Sugai,
2007), allowing educators to efficiently and
flexibly gather formative data on student
behavior across a variety of contexts. In this
study, specific research questions were focused
around three areas of evaluation important to
understanding technical adequacy of DBR,
including accuracy of ratings with varied
instrumentation (anchoring) and procedures
(observation length), and test-retest
consistency. First, when using DBR to rate
pre-specified behaviors (academic engagement,
disruptive behavior), (a) is the accuracy of
obtained data impacted by the duration of the
observation period (i.e., 5 minutes v. 20
minutes) and (b) how does an average rating
across shorter observation periods (e.g., 5
minutes) compare to a single rating across a
longer observation period (e.g., 20 minutes)?
Second, when using DBR to rate those same
pre-specified behaviors (academic engagement,
disruptive behavior), is obtained data impacted
by the anchoring of the DBR scale (i.e.,
proportion/ percentage of time v. absolute
magnitude/ actual number of minutes)? Lastly,
what is the one week test-retest consistency of
DBR outcome data when rating the same behavior
using a similar DBR form? (This research question
was conditional on whether or not the results of
the second research question indicated that DBR
data is not impacted by the anchoring of the DBR
  • Figure 1. Estimated marginal means across
    durations and observations for 20-minute
    observations Duration 1 average of four
    5-minute observations Duration 2 average of
    two 10-minute observations Duration 3 one
    20-minute observation. Anchor 1 percent of
    time Anchor 2 absolute of minutes.
  • Academic engagement was fairly consistent
    across the three durations and two 20-min
  • This is expected as the target students
    academic engagement did not vary greatly across
    video clips.

  Table 2. Descriptive Statistics
Tests of repeated measures multivariate analysis
of variances (MANOVA) examined the multivariate
combination for ratings of academic engagement
and disruptive behavior within each of two
studies (10-min observations v. 20-min
observations). Each of the two studies tested
random effects for within-subject factors across
duration, anchors, and observation periods.
Corrected omnibus MANOVA values were used to
counter any potential violations of the
homogeneity of variance assumption. Follow-up
univariate analyses were used to examine and
interpret results for all levels of statistically
significant multivariate effects. The process of
analysis supported interpretation of main effects
despite statistically significant
interactions.   Analyses suggested that ratings
of academic engagement were not impacted by
duration, however duration seemed to have an
influence on ratings of disruptive behavior. For
disruptive behavior, there were statistically
significant differences between durations for
both 10-min observations (univariate partial ?2
was .48) and 20-min observations (univariate
partial ?2 was .36 see Figure 1). The results
further revealed that anchoring the DBR scale as
percentages v. actual number of minutes had no
significant effect. Because these ratings had no
effect and they were administered one week apart,
we were able to analyze the ratings for
test-retest reliability. Test-retest analyses
revealed low to moderate consistency across time
points for 10-min or 20-min observations.
However, the means and standard deviations for
the groups were quite consistent (see Table 3)
furthermore, as the number of raters or number of
ratings (e.g. four 5-min v. one 20-min)
increased, higher levels of consistency were
achieved. Table 3. Bivariate correlation table
of engaged behavior during 20-minute
Overall, participants ratings tended to
overestimate the occurrence of both academic
engagement and disruptive behavior. A significant
overestimation effect for academic engagement was
observed in 100 of the observation periods (30
of 30), and in 93 (28 of 30) for disruptive
behavior. The Mean DBR was 1-2 points above the
actual SDO DBR score.  
Participants included 81 undergraduate students
enrolled in an introductory psychology course at
a large university located in the Southeast 21
reported current enrollment in a teacher
education program. Participants were randomly
divided into two DBR instrumentation conditions
(proportional or absolute DBR scales).
Participants then viewed eight 5-minute video
clips of a child in a typical 3rd grade
classroom. Subsequent to viewing each of the
eight 5-minute clips, participants were asked to
rate the target students behavior using the
assigned DBR scale. Directions also required
participants to make a general rating over the
past 10 minutes or over the past 20 minutes in
addition to rating only the past 5 minutes (Table
1). Table 1. Instructions given to participants
after viewing each 5-minute clip Participa
nts then returned one week later to rate the same
eight clips using the alternate type of DBR
scale. For example, if at session 1, a
participant was given a DBR form with a
proportional scale, then that participant used a
DBR form with an absolute scale at session 2.
Ultimately, every participant rated each of the
eight 5-min video clips using both types of
scales, thereby resulting in a fully crossed
design. The outcome variable of interest was the
rating assigned by the participant to the target
students behavior. To assess accuracy,
participant ratings were compared to researcher
ratings of the same clips using systematic direct
observation procedures and data were then
converted into DBR scores (SDO DBR).
Summary and Conclusions

  • Overall results suggest that the overestimation
    effect for DBR of academic engagement and
    disruptive behavior are not highly reliable in
    isolation. However, as findings regarding
    test-retest suggest, DBR can produce reliable
    results given a sufficient number of ratings.
    This information is positive because in practice,
    a number of DBR data points are collected given
    intended use in formative assessment. Also, given
    that anchoring of the DBR scale had no effect on
    accuracy, support for the flexibility of DBR is
    provided in that instrumentation can be created
    in alternate formats without impacting
    reliability of resulting data.
  • In conclusion, findings from this study provide
    preliminary information regarding the influence
    of the duration of an observation period on DBR,
    and contribute to the general psychometric
    evaluation of DBR. Although additional research
    certainly is needed in order to fully evaluate
    DBR as an assessment method, the current study
    adds significantly toward developing guidelines
    regarding recommended instrumentation and

Preparation of this poster was supported by a
grant from the Institute for Education Sciences
(IES), U.S. Department of Education
(R324B060014). For additional information, please
direct all correspondence to Sandra Chafouleas at