Notes on notes home

Ever wondered whether it was worthwhile to send notes home about children’s behavior? This note will not provide comprehensive coverage of home-school communication, but there has been a bit of research about using home-school notes as a means of supporting behavior management. There is a system based on "Daily Behavior Report Cards," (DBRC) which is a broad term used to refer to a cluster of similar techniques. Essentially, teachers develop a fairly simple system for describing behavior and use it to communicate with parents; parents use the data to provide previously arranged consequences at home. 

photo of BD folks 2014
M. Tankersley, T. Landrum,
K. Vannest, & S. Forness
TECBD, Tempe, AZ, 2014

Of course, you can see many of the potential issues. Yes, please sing that song about the positives. Right, you'd need to plan the system so that the student wouldn't encounter terrible sanctions for a low report. You'll think of lots of other issues. More help on that in a few secs. 

Kimber Vannest and her colleagues (2010) reviewed the results of 17 studies that used DBRCs. They found that, overall, on average children's behavior was improved by about 50%-66% over baseline levels when the DBRCs were in place. The improvements were greater when (a) there had been a higher level of collaboration between teachers and parents in developing the DBRC system (e.g., planning the consequences), (b) the DBRC covered a time period of more than one hour of the school day, and (c) the DBRC was designed so that the teacher described the behavior rather than estimating how often the behavior occurred.

For those who want to learn more about how to use DBRCs, take a tour of Jim Wright's Intervention Central. Jim has, for example, a description about DBRCs (by Seth Aldrich) as well as not one but at least two of templates for creating them. 

Reference

Vannest, K. J., Davis, J. L., Davis, C. R., Mason, B. A., & Burke, M. D. (2010). Effective Intervention for Behavior With a Daily Behavior Report Card: A Meta-Analysis. School Psychology Review, 39, 654-672.

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