The method of Direct Behavior Rating (DBR) emerged in the literature as a hybrid of both rating scale and systematic direct observation (SDO) procedures (Chafouleas, Christ, & Riley-Tillman, 2009; Chafouleas, Riley-Tillman, & McDougal, 2002; Riley-Tillman, Chafouleas, Briesch, 2007). The researchers who conceptualized DBR as a method of assessment provide the following definition.
“DBR is an evaluative rating that is generated at the time and place that behavior occurs by those persons who are naturally occurring in the context of interest…DBR instrumentation and procedures combine the benefits of both behavior rating scales (e.g., efficient data recording) and SDO (e.g., data recording that occurs at the time and place of behavior)…the defining characteristics of DBR include the directness of observation, observation of specific behaviors, and the evaluative component of ratings” (Christ et al., 2009, p. 205).
The defining features of DBR are specified in the tool’s name.
- Direct – ratings are recorded immediately at the end of an observation.
- Behavior – specific behaviors are rated, such as Academic Engagement and Disruptive Behavior.
- Rating – ratings are conducted repeatedly in a systematic and standardized manner similar to behavior rating scales.
How is a DBR completed (see DBR-SIS at the end of this brief)?
- Complete the top of the DBR form, specifying the student, date, and day of the week under consideration.
- Define the rating period (e.g., 9:00 – 9:45am) and activity (e.g. independent work) during which the observation will be conducted. The rater will evaluate behaviors observed within this time and context immediately following the rating period.
- Determine which behaviors are to be rated and review operational definitions. The “Standard DBR-SIS Form” includes Academic Engagement, Disruptive Behavior, and Respectful Behavior. Additional behaviors (e.g., tantrums) can be rated, but must be operationally defined and reviewed prior to observation.
- Rate the student’s behavior immediately following the observation period.