School Psychology Review
Ecological Theory and Method for Behavioral Assessment
Cindy I. Carlson, Myrtle Scott, Susan J. Eklund
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ABSTRACT: In order to increase the ecological validity of their behavioral assessments and interventions,school psychologists need to acquire both a broad diagnostic perspective and scientifically sound procedures which will focus on the critical interaction of individual behavior with its surrounding environment. The theoretical perspective and naturalistic methods of ecological psychology developed by Roger Barker examine the behavioral/environment interface. Ecological theory and procedures are described; their applicability to the behavioral assessment of children by school psychologists is discussed. An ecological assessment of behavior implies examining (1) the individual’s naturally occurring behavior, (2) the environment immediately surrounding the behavior, and (3) the individual-environment link. Methods discussed as applicable to an ecological behavior assessment are the specimen record, chronology,and behavior setting survey.