Application of Behavioral Skills Training in Teaching Data Collection

students_studyA limited body of research exists exploring the effectiveness of different training packages on teaching accurate data collection. Behavioral Skills Training (BST) has had success in preventing gunplay (Kelso et. al, 2007), teaching anti-abduction techniques (Johnson et. al, 2005), and training teachers to implement discrete-trial teaching (Sarokoff & Sturmey, 2004). Application of BST to training data collection procedures could fill an important gap in the literature and shed light on an otherwise unanalyzed, yet crucial component in the field of behavior analysis. The present study explored the use of BST in training three graduate students of behavior analysis in collecting behavioral data from video recorded assessments using data collection software (Observer XT).

Observers were exposed to BST to train data collection skills across a series of response classes. Videos from a 20-25 minute standardized language sample of a child between the ages of 2-5 were obtained from a larger treatment outcome study of early behavior analytic interventions for autism spectrum disorder.

Participant performance was evaluated by calculating inter-observer agreement with observation of the same language sample videos with established accuracy. Results support the use of Behavioral Skills Training and emphasize the importance of data-based decision-making while training.

Authors: Victor Chin & Emily Connovich

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