Defining Behavior Case Studies: SPD 614

Defining Behavior Case Studies: SPD 614


  1. Download the file on the main direction page: Iris-Defining Behavior Case Studies

Read the introduction = Page ii = Defining Behavior Introduction

  1. Scroll past the case studies until you reach Page #7.

Read pages #7-8  = Overview

Read pages #9     = Observable Terms

Read pages #11   = Measurable Terms

Read pages #13   = Positive Terms

Read pages #15   = Clear, Concise, and Complete

  1. Return to the beginning of the document to read the Case Studies and complete the 5 activities in the template below:




CASE  STUDY ACTIVITIES: Page #2 –  Level A ~ Case 2 

Student = Raul

  1. Identify Mrs. Banks’ definition of Raul’s target behavior.


Mrs. Banks only describes Raul’s behavior as disrespectful. In this case, she does not add anything to her description.

  1. Is the definition stated in positive terms? Is it measurable, observable, and clear, concise, and complete? If not explain WHY.


Mrs. Banks explanation of Raul’s target behavior has not been stated in a positive term. Also, it is not measurable, clear, concise, observable or complete. She only suggests that Raul is disrespectful. Though, he does not give topography of what is doing that requires redirection.

  1. What additional information should the Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support Team seek from Mrs. Banks when trying to create a behavioral definition?


Banks should record the number of times Raul is disrespectful and the duration of the behavior. The extent of each activity should be documented to report to the School-wide Behavior Support Team.


CASE STUDY ACTIVITIES: Page #3 –  Level B ~ Case 1 

Student = Tiffany

  1. What is operational behavior? Is it possible to write an operational definition for Tiffany? Explain why or why not?


Operational behavior refers to observable events that an investigator can measure independently. It is not possible to write a functional behavior because it is difficult to state precisely what Tiffany does. If screaming or shouting is used, one can write an operational definition. Though, this may not be correct because the description must be specific.

  1. What elements of an operational definition are not included in Ms. Leigh’s description? List each element and explain why you feel it was or was not included.


Leigh did not include elements of an operational definition that causes the temper tantrum (Logan,2011). She did not also state the duration that the temper tantrum lasts for. Lastly, she only explains that the behavior happened twice a day but did not say how long in between the conduct occurred.




CASE STUDY ACTIVITIES: Page #4 –  Level B ~ Case 2 

Student = Felicia

  1. List the three target behaviors that Mr. Brown identified for Felicia. Explain why you think each of these definitions is sufficient or insufficient.


Target behavior #1 = She would not be quite during the lesson- Insufficient because talking obstructs the learning process (Ivanova,2015).


Target behavior #2 = should be independent- Insufficient because she looks out of the window.


Target behavior #3 = She cannot read on grade level- Not-sufficient because she is not learning.



  1. List the two desired behaviors that Mr. Brown identified for Felicia. Explain why you think each of these definitions is sufficient or insufficient.


Desired behavior #1 = Outbursts during the lesson- She cannot stay quite during instruction. This is adequate (Wong,2007).


Desired behavior #2 = To perform on grade level- This is not a target behavior as it deals with reading proficiency.




  1. Choose one of the target behaviors Mr. Brown refers to and rewrite its definition to make it an operational definition. (Be sure to include all of the elements of an operational definition: observable, measurable, stated in positive terms, and is clear, concise and complete.)


To perform at grade level is observable because it is something that the teacher can see in a learner. It is also measurable and can be stated in positive terms.  It is also clear, short and complete.




Wong, S. (2007). Scientific Discovery, Social Change, and Individual Behavior Change. Behavior And Social Issues, 16(2), 190. doi: 10.5210/bsi.v16i2.1951

Logan, H. (2011). A new paradigm for behavior change. Journal Of Public Health Dentistry, 71, S34-S34. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-7325.2011.00220.x

Ivanova, D. (2015). Platform for Multimedia Interactive Learning Mythware Classroom Management. Педагогически Форум, 3(1). doi: 10.15547/pf.2015.005