Responsive Behaviour Supports: Collecting and Analyzing Data

Collecting and Analyzing Data is the eighth of the 10 Key Components to Responsive Behaviour Support.

Although there may be strong universal supports in the classroom for students, there are some students who will need more targeted behaviour supports. Effective data collection allows teachers and intervention team members to pinpoint and respond to student’s needs and make decisions about interventions and support based upon that data. There are many ways to collect data and it is important to check with your administration for the documents that your school uses. Below are 3 of the most commonly used data collection tools:


ABC Tracking - is a direct observation tool that is used to collect information about the events that are occurring within a student’s environment.

Frequency Chart - is a chart used in the classroom when observing student behaviour to find baseline data.

Anecdotal Notes - are a detailed narrative description used for observing incidents and events in the classroom.

Most schools have a process for responding to challenging behaviours and part of that process includes documentation. It is critical to make sure to document the behaviours and the interventions used so that teams have the ability to organize information about behaviour, interpret and analyze the data and then develop a hypothesis as to the function of the behaviour. Finally, they are able to use that data to then develop supports and programming for the student.

Analyzing behaviour data requires an examination of the relationships, patterns, trends, etc. to help draw conclusions in order to better understand a student's behaviour and its effects on the student and the others in the classroom environment.

While analyzing data can be a complex topic, teams can draw conclusions from comprehensive data collected by educators and implement supports based upon the information. There are 2 types of data the educators may collect on student behaviour. The first is quantitative data which is information about the numerical frequency or duration of behaviours (ie. Frequency/Duration Chart). This information can be graphed and analyzed when specific interventions are put in place to monitor changes in behaviour over time and the effectiveness of specific interventions. The second is qualitative data which is collected as anecdotal descriptive observations of behaviour (ie. anecdotal notes, ABC Chart). Qualitative data gives a valuable narrative of observed behaviours and is utilized to help determine the function of behaviour and the hypothesis statement to help start planning for effective interventions. Invaluable information will arise from the data collection and analysis which lays the foundation for planning and programming of interventions and supports for students. The following questions may arise when completing data analysis:

  • Is the approach we are using with the student appropriate?
  • Is it an appropriate approach but poorly implemented? How else could we support?
  • Have we missed the mark completely and need to try a different approach? What is the data telling us?
  • Are there particular contributors such as social, emotional, biological or cognitive factors in the student's life that we must take into account?
  • What are the barriers to success for the student that we need to consider?
  • Are there particular components or elements we can adapt to make the supports more effective or do we need to start over with the data collection piece?, or should you start again from scratch?

The collection and analysis of data is part of an ongoing cycle to evaluate the function of behaviour, plan for interventions and make changes to support students. It requires specialized training to be truly effective within schools to support changing the most challenging behaviours. Please access the following template to assist with your process for analyzing data.

My next blog post will discuss using the data to create the Behaviour Support Plan.




Author: Barb Pears