Interval Recording
This week you are going to learn about interval recording as a different way to observe and count students' behaviors. Be sure to go back and read what I wrote about data collection and writing behavioral descriptions of behavior as it will apply to this lesson too.
Interval recording is a shortcut
procedure for estimating the duration or length of a
behavior. In this method, the teacher periodically looks at the student
at predetermined (NOT spontaneously selected) intervals and records
whether the behavior is occurring. It is more suited for behaviors that
are higher frequency/lower duration (i.e. tapping their pencil), or lower
frequency/longer duration (staring out the window).
In order to carry out your interval recording
assignment, you again need to:
The best way to set up your observation sheet is to make a graph that has the number of intervals that you will be observing before you begin to observe.

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Across the top are the seconds and down the left side are the minutes. In this graph each minute is divided into 10 second intervals, so for your purposes you would actually have 30 rows for 30 minutes. You can make your intervals anywhere from 5 seconds to 1 minute, depending upon the behavior you choose to observe. (The shorter the intervals, the more accurate the estimate of the duration of the behavior. If you could do onesecond intervals, the data would be very accurate, but we couldn't physically collect that data, so we make our intervals longer.) On the right side of the graph would be where you would note activities, antecedents and consequences.
Example:
Observer  Linda
Student  Joe  8 year old  3rd Grade
Activity  Math Assignment and Independent Seatwork
Time Observed  15 minutes
/ = off task (defined as playing with toys, talking to others, looking out
window)
O=on task (defined as attending (watching, working on paper, working on
computer) to teacher or task assigned)

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Observations 
1 
/ 
O 
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/ 
/ 
/ 
Teacher
is giving math assignment 
2 
/ 
/ 
O 
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/ 

3 
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O 
O 
O 
O 
Students start math seatwork 
4 
O 
O 
O 
O 
O 
O 

5 
O 
O 
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O 

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O 
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Student talks to JoeJoe responds 
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O 
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O 
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O 
Teacher stands by Joe's seat 
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O 

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O 
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O 
O 
O 
Joe looks out window 
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O 
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O 

11 
O 
O 
O 
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Joe finishes seat work 
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Joe plays with toy from desk 
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O 
O 
O 
O 
Teacher sends Joe to computer 
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O 
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To summarize your data, you:
Identify intervals in which you recorded that the behavior had occurred.
Then divide the number of intervals of occurrences by the total number of
intervals and you will get the approximate percentage of time the person
produced the behavior you were observing.
Example:
Joe was off task as defined 31 intervals. Divide 31 intervals by 90 (total # of intervals) and you can report that Joe was off task as defined approximately 37% of the time you observed.
After you have collected the data, write your report up using the same format that you used for the frequency data report.