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Initial Development of Multi-item Direct Behavior Rating Measures of Academic Enablers


Although there is a growing body of evidence to support the use of direct behavior rating (DBR) as a formative behavioral assessment method in school-based problem-solving models, this work has centered largely on the assessment of attending and problem behaviors and on the use of single-item DBR scales. The primary purpose of the current study was to report on the development and initial validation of teacher-completed multi-item DBR scales (DBR-MIS) designed to expand upon prior DBR research to assess three constructs representing behaviors that are widely considered to support student academic achievement (academic engagement, interpersonal skills, and study skills), only one of which (academic engagement) has been the target of DBR assessment methods. Development of the scales involved a content validity study utilizing feedback from a panel of consumers (teachers, parents, and school administrators) and a panel of researchers with expertise in school-based behavioral assessment. Results of an exploratory factor analysis of ratings of students completed by teachers in Grades K through 3 (N = 307) supported a one-factor solution for each of the aforementioned constructs. Favorable internal consistency was found for each scale.

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Preparation of this article was supported by funding provided by the Institute of Education Sciences, US Department of Education (R324A150071). Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the position of the US Department of Education, and such endorsements should not be inferred.

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Correspondence to Robert J. Volpe.

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All procedures performed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The study was deemed exempt from obtaining signed written consent from participants in accordance with HHS regulations at 45 CFR 46.117(c).

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Volpe, R.J., Chaffee, R.K., Yeung, T.S. et al. Initial Development of Multi-item Direct Behavior Rating Measures of Academic Enablers. School Mental Health 12, 77–87 (2020).

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  • Behavioral assessment
  • Direct behavior rating
  • Academic enablers
  • Progress monitoring
  • Factor analysis
  • Scale development
  • Formative assessment
  • Classroom behavior
  • Student behavior