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1177/1088357612451121Tab
er-Doughty and JasperFocus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities
© 2012 Hammill Institute on Disabilities

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Focus on Autism and Other

Does Latency in Recording Data Make a


Developmental Disabilities
27(3) 168­–176
© 2012 Hammill Institute on Disabilities

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DOI: 10.1177/1088357612451121
Teachers’ Data http://foa.sagepub.com

Teresa Taber-Doughty, PhD1 and Andrea D. Jasper, PhD2

Abstract
The effects of latency on the accuracy of data recorded by three special education teachers were examined in this study.
Teachers recorded data on the target behaviors of three students with varying disabilities. The accuracy of data recorded
was assessed during three time periods: immediately after the target behavior occurred, at the end of the school day, and
the following school day. A multielement design was used to evaluate data accuracy. Results were interpreted to confirm
that data recorded immediately after a behavior occurred were more accurate and reliable than data documented at the
end of the school day or the start of the following school day. In addition, data recorded by each teacher had a mean
agreement of 97% or above for the time period immediately after a student’s behavior occurred. Furthermore, each teacher
reported that it was beneficial to record data immediately after the target behavior occurred. Implications and future
research directions are provided.

Keywords
data collection, latency, accuracy, reliability, direct measurement

The Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement such, special education teachers must become knowledge-
Act (2004) requires special education teachers to develop able about their role in the research process and become
Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) containing active and accurate data collectors (Simonsen et al., 2010).
measurable annual goals and short-term objectives, and to Making appropriate instructional decisions to enhance
include a statement of how progress toward meeting goals student progress in achieving IEP goals and objectives
and objectives is being met, 34 C.F.R. § 300.347(a)(7). requires teachers to regularly document student performance
Concomitantly, the No Child Left Behind Act emphasizes (Brown, Snell, & Lehr, 2006; Horner, Sugai, & Todd, 2001).
that teachers implement scientifically based practices and Inaccurate data recording may lead to incorrect conclusions
procedures supported by research (Burns & Ysseldyke, about student progress and intervention effectiveness
2009). Although educators are under tremendous pressure (Parson & Baer, 1986) and affect student achievement
to engage in evidence-based practices, it is often ignored (Wolery, Bailey, & Sugai, 1988). Although data are neces-
(Boardman, Arguelles, Vaughn, Hughes, & Klingner, 2005; sary to provide evidence for decision making, special edu-
Simonsen et al., 2010). Evidence-based practices are those cation teachers frequently report difficulties with this
that include scientifically based activities or those with data process (Sandall, Schwartz, & Lacroix, 2004). Researchers
that support their work (U.S. Department of Education, of several studies cited special education teachers’ belief
2002). The “evidence” in evidence-based practice is of par- that data collection is valuable (Cooke, Heward, Test,
ticular importance to special education teachers as the data- Spooner, & Courson, 1991; Ysseldyke, Nania, & Thurlow,
collection methods used in classrooms have the potential to 1985). Yet, teachers report infrequently or rarely engaging
sustain the effective instructional practices currently used in data collection or using data to change their instruction
or immediately identify ineffective practices. Specifically,
data play a role in the development, implementation, and 1
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA
2
promotion of evidence-based practices (McDuffie & Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, USA
Scruggs, 2008). Teachers gather assessment data to increase
Corresponding Author:
student success and document the effectiveness of an Teresa Taber-Doughty, Department of Educational Studies, Purdue
instructional practice over time, lending support to a par- University, 100 N University Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2098, USA
ticular method (e.g., evidence; Babkie & Provost, 2004). As Email: tabert@purdue.edu

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Taber-Doughty and Jasper 169

(Farlow & Snell, 1989; Rathgen, 2006; Walton, 1985). Special 30-min instructional sessions. When teachers waited until
education teachers identified numerous data-collection barri- the end of the day to record student performance levels,
ers, including a lack of knowledge and skills for how and accuracy decreased. Logan concluded that teachers did not
when to collect data, time management for collecting data, need to engage in simultaneous data collection while teach-
analyzing data, and appropriately using the data for instruc- ing. Rather, data were most accurate when the latency
tional decision making (Sandall et al., 2004; Ysseldyke et al., between behavioral occurrence and recording was brief.
1985). In fact, rather than relying on data, teachers reported Logan noted that although the performance levels of stu-
making educational decisions based on their own judg- dents with profound intellectual disabilities may not fluctu-
ments, memories, individual observations, and the influ- ate much across sessions or days, future investigators should
ence of conversations and collaborations with fellow examine the data-collection accuracy of teachers who serve
teachers (Boardman et al., 2005). Although individual judg- students with moderate and severe disabilities, whose behav-
ments and observations are important factors in the data- iors may change more frequently.
collection process, accurate recording increases the We sought to replicate Logan’s examination of latency
likelihood that instructional decisions will ultimately result effects on the accuracy of data recorded by special education
in improved instruction and student progress. teachers. However, unlike the Logan study where teachers
One recommended practice for accurately measuring stu- worked individually with students who experienced pro-
dent learning requires direct observation of student perfor- found intellectual disabilities, we focused on students with
mance (Cooke et al., 1991; Farlow & Snell 1989). To make mild and moderate intellectual and behavioral disabilities
accurate judgments about instructional effectiveness and who were engaged in individual and group classroom activi-
improve student performance, teachers should frequently ties throughout the school day. In the current study, three
record and regularly analyze those data (Cooke et al., 1991; special education teachers recorded data on target students
Farlow & Snell 1989; Horner et al., 2001). Unfortunately, in each of their classes. For each student, three target behav-
many teachers find direct observation and data collection to iors were recorded at different times (e.g., immediately after
be too time-consuming and a task that interferes with their the behavior occurred, at the end of the school day, at the
teaching responsibilities (Jones, 2009; Munger, Snell, & start of the following school day) to confirm the impact of
Loyd, 1988). Measuring student behaviors only once pro- latency on data accuracy. Students were engaged in typical
vides limited information, whereas measuring performance classroom activities, including individual, small group, and
repeatedly and over time allows teachers to more accurately one-on-one learning sessions with peers and adults.
determine the effectiveness of instruction and student learn-
ing (Gable, Arllen, Evans, & Whinnery, 1997; Horner et al.,
2001). Thus, data reliability can be directly influenced by Method
measurement frequency, suggesting that it may be necessary Participants
to record student behaviors more often (Fuchs, 1986; White
& Haring, 1980). In addition, teacher’s judgments about stu- Three special education teachers, Suzie, Neelu, and Karol
dent performance may be less accurate than those based on (pseudonyms), participated in this study. Each was selected
direct observation (Lewis-Palmer, Sugai, & Larson, 1999; to participate based on their (a) holding a current teaching
White & Liberty, 1976). Data might be inaccurate if they are license, (b) employment as a special education teacher, and
recorded at some point after a student completes the target (c) willingness to participate. Each held at least a bachelor’s
behavior when there is no permanent product (Lewis-Palmer degree in special education and taught secondary students
et al, 1999; Logan, 1991). However, when permanent prod- (ages 12–19 years) with varying disabilities. All reported
ucts are unavailable, not only do the frequencies with which that they were actively engaged in regularly recording data
data are recorded become noteworthy but so does the latency based on student instructional and behavioral objectives.
between student behavior and data collection. Table 1 presents a demographic summary for each teacher
Only one study could be found in which latency as a fac- participant.
tor in data accuracy was examined when recording data. Suzie. Suzie taught students identified with communica-
Logan (1991) examined whether data recorded by four spe- tion and intense learning needs (e.g., students who experi-
cial education teachers at three different time periods (e.g., enced moderate/severe autism, students who were nonverbal,
immediately after a 10-min instructional sequence, after a students who were considered legally blind). Her students
30-min instructional session involving two additional stu- ranged in age from 12 to 19 years. She taught at the school
dents, and at the end of the day) after their students with for approximately 2 years. Her previous experience included
profound disabilities completed targeted behaviors would teaching first and fourth grades. Prior to her current posi-
be accurate. Results were interpreted to conclude that data tion, she served as a media specialist in several public
were most accurate when recorded following the 10- and schools for 10 years.

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170 Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities 27(3)

Table 1. Teacher and Student Demographic Information.

Teacher/ Number of Number of Type of data


student Degree years teaching Classroom type students collection Disability Age (years)
Teacher
 Suzie BA/Ed minor: 12 Communication/  8 Individual student  
reading moderate and severe (1×–2×/week)
 Neelu BA/K-12 SE, LD,  8 Academic instruction 13 Individual student  
Mild/Mod (1×–2×/week)
 Karol MS/K-12 SE  2 Functional life skills 12 Individual student  
(1×–2×/week)
Student
 Jaxon DS, MoID 19
 Pete ODD, ADHD 14
 Daniel BPD, MID 13
Note: BA/Ed = Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education; BA/SE = Bachelor of Arts in Special Education; MS/SE = Master of Science in Special Education;
LD = emphasis in learning disabilities; Mild/Mod = emphasis in mild/moderate disabilities; DS = Down’s syndrome; MoID = moderate intellectual disabil-
ity; ODD = oppositional defiant disorder; ADHD = attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; BPD = bipolar disorder; MID = mild intellectual disability.

Neelu. Neelu taught academic skills (e.g., language arts/ more than 15 students and contained a desk or table for each
English, math, science) to students, ages 12 to 15 years, student. Each classroom contained two windows, a closet,
identified with oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disor- and a computer. In addition, Suzie’s classroom had a water
der, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and mild intel- table allowing students to play with water toys or other
lectual disabilities. She had worked in the present school for materials (e.g., rice, beans, sand) for tactile stimulation. Two
more than 4 years prior to the study. Her previous teaching paraeducators were present in each classroom setting.
experience included working as a substitute teacher, para-
professional, and elementary schoolteacher in a self-
contained classroom for students with emotional disorders Dependent and Independent Variables
for more than 3 years. The dependent variable in this investigation was the accu-
Karol. Karol taught functional life skills to students, ages racy at which each teacher recorded student performance
13 to 19 years, identified with mild and moderate intellec- data. The independent variables addressed latency.
tual disabilities. She had worked in the present school for Specifically, three independent variables were randomly
2 years prior to the study. Preceding her current position, alternated that determined the time at which each teacher
Karol had no prior teaching experience. recorded student learning and behavioral data: immediately
Three students who attended each teacher’s class also after the behavior was performed, at the end of the school
participated in this study. Jaxon, Pete, and Daniel (pseud- day, or the morning of the following day. Teachers identified
onyms) were selected as target students from whom teachers three specific behaviors for their students and randomly
would collect learning and behavioral data during this inves- assigned the time period in which a particular behavior
tigation based on (a) being a student in one of the participat- would be targeted for data collection. Information regarding
ing teacher’s classrooms, (b) parental consent, and (c) their when data were collected for each target behavior per stu-
willingness to participate based on informed verbal assent. dent is presented in Table 2.
Jaxon was a student in Suzie’s class, Pete attended Neelu’s
class, and Daniel was a student in Karol’s class. Table 1 pro-
vides demographic information on each of these students. Experimental Design
A multielement design was used to illustrate the accuracy of
teacher data for each student’s target behaviors. This design
Settings was selected as it allowed for an immediate comparison
Baseline and intervention sessions took place within each between the three data-collection time periods to determine
teacher’s classroom in a residential school located in a sub- if one resulted in greater accuracy than another (Barlow &
urban midwestern community. The residential school spe- Hersen, 1984; Kazdin, 1982). Independent variables were
cialized in providing year-round treatment, and educational alternated and counterbalanced to control for carryover
and vocational services to school-age students (6–21 years) effects. Each teacher was asked to collect data during each
who were dually diagnosed with developmental and emo- of the three designated time periods (e.g., immediately after
tional disabilities. Each teacher’s classroom consisted of no a behavior occurred, at the end of the school day, or the

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Taber-Doughty and Jasper 171

Table 2. Target Behaviors and Data Recording Time Periods.

Data recording time period

Student Immediately End of day Following day


Jaxon Refusing to follow directions after Not following directions during calendar Number of requests (asking for food,
an initial directive activities people, books, etc.)
Pete Out of bounds (leaving classroom Instigating peers (talk to or touch in ways Not following directions
without permission) that irritated them)
Daniel Not following directions Inappropriate boundaries (touched peers or Negative behaviors (e.g., yelling at peers/
staff without their permission) staff, hitting walls or desk, pushing over
or kicking chairs)

start of the following school day after behavior occurred). individual group work, or small-group activities) that
To determine the order of data collection, each time period included recording data on their student’s behaviors. The
was represented by a number. For example, the time period teachers chose the instructional (e.g., observational) period
“immediately after a behavior occurred” was assigned the because, it was assumed, they would have insight regarding
numbers 0, 3, and 6. Likewise, the time period “at the end when the student would exhibit possible target behaviors.
of a school day” was assigned the numbers 1, 4, and 7, and Specifically, the teachers had knowledge of what periods of
the time period “at the start of the following day” was the day a student exhibited a behavior in an excessive man-
assigned the numbers 2, 5, and 8. ner (e.g., after lunch because the student was tired, during
Each teacher was asked to select a number between 0 and transitions). Each teacher’s observational period was
8. If they chose 0, 3, or 6, they would begin collecting data approximately 45 min in length (range = 35–45 min; µ =
immediately after the behavior occurred. If they chose 1, 4, or 41.87 min). Teachers identified three specific target behav-
7, they would begin collecting data at the end of the day. iors per student, operationally defined, and recorded data on
Furthermore, if they chose 2, 5, or 8, they would begin collect- those behaviors.
ing data at the start of the following day. Suzie chose the num- Intervention. This phase lasted 15 to 25 days for each
ber 0 and started data collection immediately after the behavior teacher. Each teacher collected data on three regularly
occurred. Neelu chose the number 7 and started data collec- occurring target behaviors for their student (see Table 2).
tion at the end of the school day. Karol chose the number 8 Teachers collected data on behaviors of target students
and started data collection at the start of the following day. while other students were in the classroom. Teachers were
engaged in one-on-one activities, such as spelling, with tar-
get students, which allowed target students to work alone
Data Collection with the teacher. In addition, teachers engaged in individual
Event recording was used to document the number of times group work or small-group activities, such as math, Eng-
students exhibited target behaviors. Teachers recorded data lish, and physical education, with other classmates. Thus,
at a designated time period (e.g., immediately after a target students were required to interact with their class-
behavior occurred, at the end of the school day, or the start mates during data recording.
of the following school day after behavior occurred). Due to the nature of special education classrooms, the
Investigators collected data only during the instructional conditions varied under which teachers recorded data in
periods. During analysis, the numbers recorded by teachers their classrooms. For example, Suzie observed her students
and investigators were compared. Event recording was during the early morning (9:00–9:35 a.m.) and often began
selected as it was the most direct and accurate way to the instructional period with small-group instruction,
reflect the number of times student’s target behaviors whereas paraeducators worked individually with two stu-
occurred (Alberto & Troutman, 2012). dents. After 15 min, the entire class came back together and
Suzie engaged students in direct instruction. Neelu observed
her students in the early afternoon (12:45–1:15 p.m.) and
Procedures frequently engaged them in direct instruction for a majority
Preintervention. During this phase, investigators reviewed of the period, reserving the last 15 min for individual work.
data-collection procedures with teachers. Teachers were Paraeducators were available as students needed them (i.e.,
video recorded as they taught their target students during when they raised their hand for help). Karol observed her
the same instructional period each day for a minimum of students during the latter part of the morning (10:00–10:45
5 days. They were asked to engage in activities as they nor- a.m.) and engaged them in small-group activities for the
mally would within their classroom (e.g., one-on-one, duration of the instructional period, whereas paraeducators

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172 Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities 27(3)

Table 3. Description of Classroom Conditions During Teachers’ Instructional Periods.

Condition Suzie Neelu Karol


Instructional period 9:00–9:35 a.m. 12:45–1:15 p.m. 10:00–10:45 a.m.
Type of instruction Small group Direct instruction Small group
Number of students 6 13 6–8a
Activity Calendar time Spelling Mathematics
a
The number of students in her small group varied daily due to the group assignment students received.

led some small groups. Thus, each teacher used varying


classroom formats and conditions while recording data. A
summary of the conditions each teacher used in her class-
room while recording data is presented in Table 3.

Interobserver Agreement and Treatment


Fidelity
To ensure reliability, interobserver agreement (IOA) data
were collected across all of the intervention sessions by two
trained independent observers. Agreement was calculated
using a total percentage agreement method by dividing the
smaller number of events observed by the larger number
and then multiplying this number by 100%. IOA averaged
95% and ranged from 90% to 100% for Suzie (Teacher 1).
Agreement was 100% during each IOA session for Neelu
(Teacher 2). Finally, IOA averaged 90% for Karol (Teacher Figure 1. Percentage of agreement per session per time period
3), with a range of 85% to 95%. in which Suzie gathered data on student’s target behaviors.
Treatment fidelity measures confirmed the teachers’ cor-
rect use of the data collection across each time period. To
ensure the validity of intervention, a task analysis was used Figure 1 illustrates the percentage of agreement per session
to record the percentage of steps (e.g., observe the behavior per time period on the target behaviors of her student. The
and mark the instance on the data-collection sheet) each mean agreement on the number of target behaviors exhib-
teacher correctly followed when collecting data on the tar- ited by the student was 98% during the time period immedi-
get behaviors for each student (see the appendix for task ately after a behavior occurred. The mean agreement for the
analysis). Treatment fidelity measures were conducted dur- time period at the end of the school day was 74%, whereas
ing 30% of intervention sessions. For Suzie (Teacher 1), it was 75% for the time period at the start of the following
treatment fidelity was 97% (range = 94%–100%), and day. The mean difference between immediately after the
100% for Neelu (Teacher 2) and Karol (Teacher 3). behavior occurred and at the end of the day was 24%,
whereas the mean difference was 23% between immedi-
ately after the behavior and the next day. The mean differ-
Results ence between end of the day and data recorded the next day
Figures 1 to 3 illustrate the accuracy of each teacher’s data was 1%. These differences along with visual analysis sug-
when recorded immediately after a behavior occurred, at gest that the time period immediately after a student’s
the end of the school day, and at the beginning of the fol- behavior occurred proved to be more accurate and reliable
lowing school day. Visual analysis revealed that data when compared with the other time periods.
recorded immediately after a student behavior occurred Neelu. Neelu’s data were more accurate and reliable
were more accurate than those recorded at the end of the when collected immediately after the target behavior
day or the following day for all three teachers. In addition, occurred. Figure 2 illustrates the percentage of agreement
all teachers had more agreement per session with the per session per time period on the target behaviors of her
researchers during the time period immediately after the student. The mean agreement for the number of target
target behavior occurred than any other time period. behaviors exhibited by the student was 100% during the
Suzie. Suzie’s data were more accurate and reliable when time period immediately after a behavior occurred. The
collected immediately after the target behavior occurred. mean agreement for the time period at the end of the school

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Taber-Doughty and Jasper 173

Figure 2. Percentage of agreement per session per time period Figure 3. Percentage of agreement per session per time period in
in which Neelu gathered data on student’s target behaviors. which Karol gathered data on student’s target behaviors.

day was 71%, whereas it was 14% at the start of the follow- than waiting until the end of the day. They stated it was
ing day. The difference between the means between imme- more beneficial to them to record data immediately after
diately after the behavior occurred and the end of the school the behavior occurred because it was “fresh” in their minds
day was 29%, whereas the mean difference was 86% and more accurate. However, one teacher stated that
between immediately after the behavior occurred and the recording data immediately after a behavior occurred was
following day. The mean difference between the end of the not always the most feasible method. She stated she would
day and data recorded the next day was 57%. These differ- “often have to stop in the middle of her lesson to write
ences along with visual analysis suggest that data recorded down the data she was recording.”
immediately after a student’s behavior occurred proved to All three teachers expressed experiencing difficulties
be more accurate and reliable when compared with the remembering what data to record while dealing with other
other time periods. issues in their classrooms (e.g., dealing with student behav-
Karol. Karol’s data were more accurate and reliable when iors, teaching lessons). They reported it was difficult to
collected immediately after the target behavior occurred. remember the data they were supposed to record at the end
Figure 3 illustrates the percentage of agreement per session of the day and from the previous day. They found it less
per time period on the target behaviors of her student. The beneficial to record data at the start of the following day
mean agreement for the number of target behaviors exhib- because they forgot what data to record and often guessed at
ited was 97% immediately after a behavior occurred. The the number of times they thought their student exhibited a
mean agreement at the end of the school day was 37%, target behavior the previous day.
whereas it was 43% the following day. The difference Each teacher reported that she would attempt to record
between the means between immediately after the behavior data immediately after students’ behavior occurred in the
occurred and the end of the school day was 60%, whereas future. All three noted that collecting data immediately
the mean difference was 54% between immediately after after a behavior occurred made it easier for them to docu-
the behavior occurred and the following day. The mean dif- ment students’ progress on their IEP goals and objectives.
ference between the end of the day and data recorded the However, one teacher reported that recording data every
next day was 6%. These differences suggest that the time time she observed an instance of a student’s target behavior
period immediately after a student’s behavior occurred pro- was “time-consuming.” Furthermore, she noted that it was
vided more accurate and reliable data when compared with “somewhat overwhelming.” However, all teachers reported
the other time periods. that their participation was a valuable experience.

Social Validity Discussion


When asked whether they were surprised at the results of The purpose of this investigation was to examine latency
the study, each teacher stated that they were not. Teachers effects on the accuracy of data recorded by three teachers
reported that it was beneficial and made more sense to on the target behaviors of the three students. Data on each
record data immediately after a behavior occurred, rather student’s target behaviors were recorded at three different

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174 Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities 27(3)

time periods: immediately after the target behavior occurred, time period at the end of the day than the time period at the
at the end of the school day, and at the start of the following start of the following day. This may be explained by the time
school day. Results are interpreted to indicate that the data of day at which she observed her student’s behavior (12:45–
recorded immediately after a student’s target behavior 1:15 p.m.). Thus, she experienced the shortest time lapse
occurred were more accurate than any other time period for between behavior observation and the documentation of
all teachers. Likewise, each teacher had a higher percentage observed behavior at the end of the day. It is unknown why
of agreement with the researcher for data recorded during Suzie and Karol obtained a higher percentage of agreement
the time period immediately after the student’s target for the time period at the start of the following day. One would
behavior occurred than at any other time period. expect data collected at the end of the day to be more accurate
In addition, data recorded by each teacher had a mean than data recorded at the start of the following day. However,
agreement of 97% or more for the time period immediately this investigation did not produce such results. In the future,
after a student’s behavior occurred. However, each teacher researchers should consider further examining the cause of
had a mean agreement between 37% and 74% for the time the variability between those two time periods.
period at the end of the school day after a student’s behavior Our results can be used to support the assumption that data
occurred and between 14% and 75% for the time period at the recorded immediately after a student’s behavior occurs will
start of the following day after a student’s behavior occurred. be more accurate than data collected later in the school day or
There are several factors possibly influencing the accuracy of the following school day. Furthermore, it supports research-
the data recorded by teachers during the time periods at the ers suggesting direct measurement as an effective means of
end of the school day and at the start of the following day. evaluating instructional effectiveness and increasing student
First, we focused on a population of students with mild dis- performance (Cooke et al., 1991; Gable et al., 1997; Horner
abilities in this study as opposed to Logan (1991) who et al., 2001; Munger et al., 1988). Replications of the present
included students with profound disabilities. Students with investigation are needed to confirm these results.
mild disabilities engage in more behaviors making accuracy
more challenging if teachers wait to record data. This may be
because teachers are being attentive to the various behaviors Limitations, Implications,
that their students are displaying, affecting the accuracy of and Future Research
the data recorded on the specific behavior being targeted. Teachers in the present study engaged in classroom activities
Second, teachers in this study were required to teach in their and recorded data on their students as they typically would
classrooms as they normally would. This included working on a given day. However, they also focused data recording on
on activities with small groups of students, engaging students their target student’s predetermined behavior that occurred
in individual group work, or working individually with stu- during the specific instructional period. For example, Suzie
dents. Teachers’ participation in these activities may have taught and recorded performance data for various students on
affected the accuracy of the data they recorded, particularly calendar-related activities during the morning instruction
because their attention was shared between the activities with period. Concomitantly, she also observed her target student’s
students and the behavior being targeted. In addition, the behaviors (e.g., his number of requests, not following direc-
length and number of activities teachers were engaged in tions during calendar, not following instructions after initial
prior to data recording may have affected data accuracy. directive). Depending on the intervention schedule, Suzie
Clearly, immediacy in data recording was unmatched. would record data on one of these behaviors immediately, at
The findings indicated that each teacher experienced more the end of the day or at the beginning of the next day. Although
success when they recorded data immediately after stu- paraeducators were available to assist with data recording on
dents’ target behavior occurred. These data were more accu- calendar-related skills, Suzie also recorded these data while
rate and reliable during this time period because teachers leading the instruction. Thus, one limitation possibly affecting
did not have to retain the information for an extended period results may be attributed to the teacher’s roles. The number
and were required to record the information immediately and type of instructional activities in which the teacher was
after it was observed. Furthermore, this allowed teachers to engaged may have contributed to the accuracy or inaccuracy
provide an accurate representation of the number of times of data recorded on each student’s target behavior. As such,
each student exhibited a target behavior. This same strategy future investigators might examine how variations of these
could also be used when collecting data on a student’s aca- variables may influence the accuracy of teacher data.
demic progress, a student’s IEP goals and objectives, or the One limitation affecting generalizability may be attrib-
effectiveness of instructional practices. uted to the number and diversity of participants included in
Although results are interpreted to support the need for the current investigation. We involved only three special
educators to record data immediately after the behavior education teachers who taught in the same school, and
occurs, there was some variability in the teacher’s IOA results. taught students with mild and moderate exceptional learn-
Neelu demonstrated a higher percentage of agreement for the ing needs. To increase generalizability, future investigators

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Taber-Doughty and Jasper 175

may consider the data-collection accuracy of teachers serv- Appendix


ing students who represent different disability populations
as well as general education teachers who teach students Task Analysis Data Sheet
with and without disabilities in inclusive settings.
Student Code:
Another limitation affecting the generalizability of results
was the use of event recording as a means to document stu-
Teacher Name:
dents’ behavior. The findings from this study are generalizable
only to the event recording method of collecting data. To Time Period (Circle one):
increase generalizability, researchers may want to consider
conducting this investigation using alternative data recording   A.  Immediately after the behavior occurred
methods such as duration or latency recording. In the future,
investigators may seek to examine the use of the event record-   B.  At the end of the school day
ing method to increase or accelerate students’ target behaviors.
A final limitation was the use of the video camera to record   C.  At the start of the following school day
student behavior. Although the video camera was placed in
each student’s classroom 2 weeks prior to data collection to Please observe each teacher during the time period circled
reduce novelty effects, the presence of the video camera above. Place a check next to each step the teacher completes
potentially could have affected the students’ performance correctly. Then, circle the number of steps the teacher
causing an increase or decrease in their behavior. For instance, completed correctly below.
Neelu’s (Teacher 2) student Pete was observed instigating his
_____ 1.  Choose the correct data recording sheet for targeted
peers excessively on many occasions prior to the implementa-
student
tion of the intervention; however, these behaviors remained
low throughout the study. This result could be attributed to the _____ 2.  O
 bserve students target behavior during the
presence of the video camera in the classroom. instructional period
The evidence provided from our investigation, in addi-
tion to the dissertation investigation conducted by Logan _____ 3.  P
 lace a tally mark on the data recording sheet for each
(1991), suggests that collecting data immediately after a instance of target behavior observed
behavior occurred, or soon after, was more effective because
data were likely to be more accurate and more reliable. 3/3 Steps completed correctly = 100%
These accurate and reliable data will provide educators with
a better understanding of student progress and achievement. 2/3 Steps completed correctly = 67%
For educators, a primary concern should be student aca-
demic progress. To ensure students are gaining the skills and 1/3 Steps completed correctly = 33%
knowledge necessary to help them achieve academically,
accurate documentation of their progress (e.g., data col-
lected immediately after the behavior/performance occurs)
is necessary. This will ensure that educators are able to base Declaration of Conflicting Interests
instructional decision on accurate information. The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with
Researchers should consider examining the use of data respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this
recording with different time periods (e.g., 10 min after a article.
behavior occurs, 30 min after a behavior occurs, and 1 hr
after a behavior occurs) to further indicate, precisely, how Funding
much time can lapse between student performance and The authors received no financial support for the research, author-
teachers data collection before the data are no longer valid. ship, and/or publication of this article.
Researchers also should consider evaluating the strength of
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