Office referrals are not best way to screen students for behavior interventions

After the examVisits to the principal’s office often are the blunt instrument used to identify students who need additional behavioral interventions in many schools implementing 3-tiered Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS).

While educators use curriculum-based measures such as Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) to identify students who need additional interventions in reading, similar tools have yet to be developed for monitoring behavioral performance, says a recent study in Remedial and Special Education.

In their absence, screening instruments such as the Systematic Screening for Behavior Disorders (SSBD), the Student Risk Screening Scale (SRSS), the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and the Behavioral and Emotional Rating Scale (BERS) can be used to identify students who need tier 2 and tier 3 interventions, say the researchers of the study.

Data from use of these measures can also be used to monitor a school’s progress in implementing SWPBS, the study says.

The use of Office Discipline Referrals (ODRs) to identify students who need more support may have poor reliability and validity if teachers are not consistent in how they use them and do not follow the school’s guidelines.

Because learning and behavioral challenges often occur together, educators should analyze behavior screening data in conjunction with academic measures to effectively shape intervention efforts.

“Using Systematic Screening Data to Assess Risk and Identify Students for Targeted Supports: Illustrations Across the K-12 Continuum,” by Kathleen Lynne Lane et al., Remedial and Special Education, Volume 32, Number 1, pps. 39-54.

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