Measuring Behaviors: Event Recording/Frequency Counting
Event recording is a process for documenting the number of times a behavior occurs. An observer using event recording makes a tally mark or documents in some way each time a student engages in a target behavior. For instance, a teacher may be interested in the number of times a student asks for help, leaves the desk, or interacts positively with peers.
Event recording takes place during a specific time period. For example, it may be necessary to observe a student during math class from 9:00-9:30 over several days to see a pattern of behavior. When the length of time varies, the data gathered during event recording is documented as a rate. For instance, the rate may reflect the number of behaviors per minute or per hour.
- Easy to implement and can be used while teaching class (see tips below)
- Can be translated into a rate (ex: 5 times per minute)
- Difficult when behaviors are at a really high rate or occurs over extended periods of time (examples may include tantrums, staring into space, talking to peers…)
When should event recording be used?
- When the objective is to increase or decrease the number of times a behavior occurs
- The behavior has a clear beginning and end so that you can easily tell when the behavior starts and when it ends
- When the behavior does not happen at such a high rate that it is hard to document
Adapted from Univeristy of Kansas
Tips and Tricks for Event Recording
There are many tricks for event recording without interrupting teaching or making students aware of your data collection. Here are a few examples:
- Clipboard with form
- Use a golf counter
- Move a bean from the left pocket to the right pocket each time the behavior occurs
- Wear rubber bands on one wrist and move one over to the other wrist. (advanced- color code to count multiple behaviors)
- Wear a bead necklace with a knot in the middle. Slip one bead over the knot each time the behavior occurs
- Put a piece of masking tape on your sleeve and use a writing utensil to draw a tick mark
- Open a book to a designated page (ex 100) and flip one page each time the behavior occurs
Event Recording Form