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BM-K3: Understanding of the need for utilizing formal and informal assessment strategies in obtaining information necessary for educational and behavioral programming for individual students.
BM-K4 Understanding of the rationale, components, operation and evaluation of the program models in which they are working.
BM-S1 Ability to document change in learner behavior in both academic and social areas.
BM-S2 Ability to observe and record pupil behavior utilizing different social rating systems.

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Related ConceptStrategy: Collecting Data Using Time Sampling Observation

Apicture of an educator who is writing on a clipboard

Time sampling is a technique used to gather and record data about student behavior. This information can be used to provide baseline dataglossary icon about student behavior as well as to show any increases or decreases in the frequency of certain behaviors.

Time sampling can be used with almost any student in almost any situation. What you need to keep in mind, however, is that different types of time sampling procedures should be used to observe different behaviors. Whole interval time samplingglossary icon is used for behaviors that continue for longer periods of time without interruption. Whole interval time sampling should generally be used to observe behaviors such as time on task, time off task, or time in seat. Partial interval time samplingglossary icon should be used for fleeting behaviors such as eye contact, smiling, or skin picking. Momentary time samplingglossary icon can generally be used to observe almost any behavior.

The whole interval, partial interval, and momentary time sampling techniques have been shown to be effective. They are especially useful because data about student behavior are collected in a uniform and systematic way. This data can then be shared with other professionals within the school and should help to create and/or alter interventions for the student.

A picture of a section of a Time Sampling Record Sheet

Summary of Strategy

After deciding upon which time sampling technique to use (whole interval, partial interval, or momentary), an observer watches a student for a set time and records whether or not certain behaviors occurred by placing tally marks on a record sheet.

The Strategy: Step-By-Step

  1. Talk to your teacher or supervisor, and make sure that you know exactly what behavior to observe.
  2. Also discuss with your teacher or supervisor which type of time sampling observation you should do (whole, partial, or momentary).
  3. Decide how long you want to observe (i.e., 30 minutes, a class period, a school day, etc).
  4. Fill out the top part of your Time Sampling Record Sheet, including the student's name, the date, and the behavior you will be observing.
  5. Position yourself so that you can easily see the clock (if you don't have a watch) and the student. However, try not to make it obvious that you are observing the student, because if he knows you are doing an observation, he may act differently simply because he knows he is being watched.
  6. On your Time Sampling Record Sheet find the 10-minute interval that corresponds to the time of your observation. For instance, if you begin your observation at 8 a.m., then start in the first box (8:00-8:09). If you begin your observation at 1:20 p.m., then start in the 1:20-1:29 box.
  7. Every 10 minutes place a plus (+) mark in the box if the behavior occurred. Make sure to pay attention to your watch (or the clock) and the type of time sampling that you've decided to do.
  • If you've decided to do a whole interval sampling, then you'll place a + mark in the box only if the behavior occurs continuously throughout the 10-minute interval.
  • If you've decided to do a partial interval sampling, then you'll place a + mark in the box if at least one instance of the behavior occurs during the 10-minute interval.
  • If you've decided to do a momentary time sampling, then you'll place a + mark in the box only if the behavior is present at the end of the interval. So as your watch (or the clock) hits the 10-minute mark, look at the student. If she is engaging in the behavior, place a + mark in the box. If she is not engaging in the behavior at that moment, leave it blank. Note: For momentary time sampling it may be important to shorten the 10-minute time span to increase the number of observations.

Applying the Strategy

  1. Talk to your teacher or supervisor, and make sure that you know exactly what behavior to observe, how long to observe, and which type of time sampling procedure to use (whole, partial, or momentary).
  2. Fill out the top part of your Time Sampling Record Sheet, including the student's name, the date, and the behavior you will be observing.
  3. Position yourself so that you can easily see the clock (if you don't have a watch) and the student.
  4. On your Time Sampling Record Sheet find the 10-minute interval that corresponds to the time of your observation.
  5. Every 10 minutes place a plus (+) mark in the box if the behavior occurred. Make sure to pay attention to your watch (or the clock) and the type of time sampling that you've decided to do.

References

Salvia, J. & Ysseldyke, J. (2000). Assessment (8th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

Sattler, J. M. (2001). Assessment of children: Behavioral and clinical applications (4th ed.). San Diego: Jerome Sattler.

 

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