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Naturalistic Study of Secondary Students with At-Risk Behaviors

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Jennifer Eckler

on 24 March 2011

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Transcript of Naturalistic Study of Secondary Students with At-Risk Behaviors

Students are often dropping out of school, getting expelled or suspended due to their behavior. These students however, are not receiving special education services. Criteria?
The criteria for selection included
students ranging in age of 15-18
ODR’s had more than 4 level 2 infractions
attendance records were normal range (less than 10 absences in school year)
placed in the general classroom environment with no special education services. What are we looking for?
historical perspective on each child including their current family structure, the number of schools they have attended, GPA for the past three years and quiz/tests scores of each student during the observational time period. In the classroom:
Recording for each teacher student interaction consisted of the following:
(PR) = Non specific praise,
(OTR) = Opportunity to respond
(RE)= reprimand the classroom
(OT)= on task/off task Results:
Opportunity to Respond
Extremely low for both groups of students.
Research says that we should expect a higher rate of OTR for norm groups.
We saw less than 1% for both groups of students
In most 20-30 minute classroom observations we saw 0 opportunities to respond.
Low OTR directly effects non-productive behavior and academics. Naturalistic Study of Students with Emotional/Behavioral Problems At the Secondary Level Why Else? Why Else?
Wehby(2009) suggested that students with emotional/behavioral problems performed poorly academically due to an inability of a teacher to implement high level instruction.
Evidence says that teachers provide less academic instruction to students who exhibit problem behavior? So what do we do?
Get Angry?
At first....YES! Then, we realized the answer was to:
figure out who these kids were that were most significantly effected.
Collect data that would give us perspective on their history, both behaviorally as well as academically.
Watch them in the classroom and observe their behavior.
Observe the classroom and watch the relationship between the students and their educators. Opportunity to Respond:
•During instruction of new material, teachers should elicit four to six responses per minute from students, who should in turn respond with 80% accuracy.
•During independent practice, students should make 8 to 12 responses per minute, with 90% accuracy (CEC, 1987). Results:

Results for praise were very low. Less than.5% for both sub groups.

Results for reprimand were non-existent. In all observations, there were zero instances of reprimand within the OTR conversation. Surprising Statement
During an observation, I had a conversation with a teacher that tried to explain their lack of instruction..
The teacher explained to me that when they began teaching at this particular school they tried to do lessons and interact, but that's when the behaviors started. They decided it was better not to interact so they would behave. REALLY? What do we do with the information?

Implications for further practice

Studying the threads and finding similarities to identify students who could benefit from intervention.
Working with a school district on OTR/Praise/Reprimand statements in the classroom could have academic as well as behavioral impact.
Encourage replication study with other inner-city schools to see if problem is wide spread. Questions 1
The first question regarding whether or not the percentages of intervals of on-task behaviors exhibited by students who are exhibiting behavior problems different than those of their classroom peers was affirmed.
We did discover that in line with current research, those students who are exhibiting at-risk behavior are on task less than those of their peer norms.
What was surprising in the study was that the difference between them, although statistically significant was much less than anticipated. Question 2
The second question concerning whether the rates of opportunities to respond/praise statements given to students exhibiting behavior problems compared to those of their peers was also answered.

What we found was that there was not a significant difference between the opportunities to respond and the praise/reprimand statements.
The surprising evidence conflicted with current research that says that students with behaviors will receive fewer opportunities to respond than their norm peers. The evidence produced in this study tells us that neither is receiving significant opportunities to respond in the classroom.
The number of praise statements was actually slightly higher in those students with behaviors, but in both cases neither was higher than .1%, which is considered extremely low.
Reprimands were also measured; there was evidence of 0% of reprimands available to either the at-risk student or their peer norms. Question 3
The third question as to how typically behaving students compared within their learning histories (grades, ODR, Counseling records, suspensions, attendance) of at risk students.
We were able to affirm that there was a significant difference in the ODR reports and suspensions, attendance.
There was not a significant difference in their grades and counseling reports.
What we learned is that the students with at-risk behaviors did have a much higher number of office referral reports (ODR).
The office referral reports of the at-risk students themselves were much more significant in severity than those of the peer norm group.
The ODR’s that were reported for the norm group were typically written for infractions such as attendance or tardiness.
The infractions reported for the at-risk students were categorized by school personnel as defiance/interference, profanity and vulgarity, or failure to follow staff directions.
The numbers of days missed due to the infractions were significantly higher for the at-risk students versus those of the peer norms. Question 4
The final question of how do at-risk students view themselves within their learning community was interesting.
Questions 1-8 showed a disparity between the two groups of students. For the students considered at-risk.
Question #5 proved that their belief was that teachers in their opinion thought they were trouble. This speaks to the pre-conceived notions of the student in regards to how they believe their environment views them.
Question #3 of whether they thought that teachers liked them, showed that the students considered at-risk did not believe, as much as their peer norms that they were liked by their teachers.
The investigator was surprised however that the disparity wasn’t stronger in their differences.
Questions 10-13 the at-risk students and their peer norms were almost identical in their response. Of the two groups, both felt equal in their belief that they will finish school, their family is supportive, they are good students and that they have something to add to society. At first glance this is surprising, but upon further reflection it makes a lot of sense in regards to the culture at this particular high school. Do we see the whole picture? Administrator Counselors Counseling Report
4 school counselors agreed to be interviewed.
Investigator was looking for impressions counselors had about students, family dynamics, and school wide impressions. After discussion with commitee, we saw several themes emerge.
We coded in the following way:
negative/derogatory comments about students from the counselors.
positive statements about students from counselors
statements about how the students make negative/derogatory comments about others. Administrator Report
3 building supervisors
results were very scattered, exhibiting different opinions between 3 administrators
administrators tend to spend 10-20 hours per week on behavior of non-special education students. Student Survey Thank-you..Jen Examples of Counselor Interview:
#3 I’ve never had a problem with her. She knows how it works.
#4 She knows that she can intimidate someone she will. She has a teacher that she can manipulate. She doesn’t make connections with why it’s not ok. She’s highly intelligent. Someone is going to have to hold her hand. She received a bad grade; she has valid points because she fine picks what you say and keeps things literally. She disrupts her class because she’s so loud. Her mom is in jail now but will defend her.
#1 she’s obnoxious. She rants and raves. She says that she is very smart and this school needs her grades.
#2 she can be demanding to adults. She asks questions like she is an adult. She doesn’t understand that the teacher is the adult. She talks so much that she can. The other kids don’t like her because she’s a distraction to them because she complains all the time and she makes fun of them. She interrupts their learning because she is arguing. She will go and get information about the campus/adult/student. 4 questions we asked ourselves:
Are the percentages of intervals of on-task, avoidant, and inappropriate behaviors exhibited by students who are exhibiting behavior problems different than those of their classroom peers?
Are the rates of opportunities to respond/praise statements given to students exhibiting behavior problems in comparison to those of their peers?
In comparison to the typical behaving students, what are the learning histories (grades, ODR, Counseling records, suspensions, attendance) of at risk students?
How do at-risk students view themselves within their learning community? Suzanne
ODR description samples:
Number of infractions, days missed for consequence, GPA, attendance

Infraction #Description
#1 It is stated that Suzanne was arguing with another student, would not calm down saying that the student was, “fucking crazy” and that he “doesn’t have the balls to hit her”. Suzanne would not quiet down, using a lot of inappropriate language.

#4 Suzanne was reportedly talking constantly in class, disrupting surrounding learning environment, constantly being corrected to be quiet, has a bad attitude about change in behavior and does not comply with correction.

#10 Suzanne was play fighting with a student, would not sit down, would not quiet down and was saying words such as “fucking boy” and “nigger” and “bitch”. Suzanne reportedly would not follow directions.

#13 Suzanne was caught stealing a paper out of the teachers tray so she could copy answers. After the teacher told her to give it back, she hid it and gave it to another student. The teacher reports that Suzanne lied, cheated, yelled and threatened reporting teacher.
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