Download Daily Report Card
The Daily Report Card (DRC) can be a helpful tool to address the classroom behavior problems of children with ADHD. The DRC helps parents and educators collaborate to identify, watch, and improve a student’s classroom behavior.
The following steps offer a guide for establishing a successful Daily Report Card.
Select the Areas for Improvement
It is important to involve the student’s parents and all of his or her educators in a discussion of his or her behavior.
First, find the greatest areas of impairment – areas that, if changed, would improve the student’s major struggles in daily life functioning and, if left unchanged, would have long-term negative consequences.
Define goals toward which the child is working in terms of these areas of impairment.
- Peer relations (particularly decreasing aggression and other negative interactions)
- Academic work (task completion and accuracy)
- Classroom rule-following and relationships with adults (compliance with adult commands/requests)
Determine How the Goals will be Defined
Identify specific target behaviors that can be changed to help make progress towards the improvement goals.
When establishing target behaviors, remember:
- Target behaviors must be meaningful behaviors that will help the child reach goals for improvement.
- Target behaviors must be very clearly defined in a way that the child, teacher, and parents all understand.
- Target behaviors must be able to be observed and counted by the teacher and child.
- A good DRC will contain between 3 and 8 target behaviors, depending on the child’s age and ability.
Examples of target behaviors include:
- Billy does not interrupt other students during seat work time
- Joey does not touch others without permission
- Sally plays without fighting at recess
- Jimmy has materials necessary to complete tasks
- Jimmie completes assigned tasks without getting out of her seat
- Betty Lou completes and returns homework on time
Classroom rule-following and relationships with adults:
- Sam immediately obeys the teacher when directions are given
- Megan does not talk back to the teacher
- Melody waits to be called on or given permission by the teacher before talking
Set Criteria for the Daily Report Card
Estimate about how often a student is doing the behaviors you want to stop.
Use existing records if available or observe the student for a few days and make notes about how often she struggles with the chosen target behavior during the day.
Target behaviors need to be evaluated at several intervals throughout the day to give the child frequent behavioral feedback and several chances to earn yeses throughout the day.
Only include targets that are significant to the child’s improvement. For example, if records show that the child does not interrupt as often as you thought, do not include interruption of other children as a target behavior.
Set a reasonable goal for each target behavior. Establish a reachable target level the child will have to meet to receive a positive mark for that behavior.
- A good goal is one that the student can earn between 75% to 90% of the time.
- Set the first goal at a rate slightly better than what the student is doing now to encourage improvement (e.g., 20% improvement).
- Goals need to be possible and within reach as perceived by both the student and the teacher.
Set criteria to be met for each part of the day, not the overall day (e.g., “interrupts fewer than 2 times in each class period” rather than “interrupts fewer than 12 times per day”).
Explain the Daily Report Card to the Student
The teachers, parents and student should meet together to discuss all aspects of the DRC in a positive way.
Explain that the DRC will help him learn how to overcome those problems that are causing him and his teachers the most difficulty.
Explain that he will be earning rewards for his behavior and performance at school to help him learn, and that he will be working with his parents to choose rewards.
Explain the procedure for using the report card.
Establish a Home-Based Reward System
The rewards are the motivation for the student to work towards a good DRC, and they are thus a necessary part of the program.
Use an effective reward system established at home to reinforce the student for positive performance reflected in the DRC. (See Economics 101).
- Rewards must be selected by the student (with the parents).
- Rewards should include things the child already does. For example, a child’s access to television, which was previously “free” can be made conditional on receiving a positive DRC.
Monitor and Modify the Program
Keep daily records of how often the student is receiving Yeses on each target.
If the student regularly fails to meet criteria, make his criteria easier to avoid making the process ineffective.
Gradually lead the student to more appropriate behavior by making the criteria harder once he has begun to meet the goal regularly (e.g., if he is able to meet a target of “3 or fewer rule violations per period” 90% of the time, over a period of days, cut the number to 2 or fewer rule violations per period).
Remember to combine the report with the right social reinforcement:
- If replacing an undesirable action with a more desirable one (raising his hand instead of calling out), it is important to respond to the proper action quickly to reinforce it.
- Sincerely praise the student for good days and good efforts.
- Respond matter-of-factly (not negatively) to missed targets with an encouraging statement about the next day. (You can try again tomorrow.)
Once the goal for a target is at an acceptable level and the student is consistently reaching it, drop that target behavior from the report. Praise the student for doing so well that she doesn’t need to have the target any longer. Replace it with another target if necessary.
If the point is reached where the student is doing so well that daily reports are unnecessary, move to a weekly report/reward system.
If and when the student is functioning within an appropriate range in the classroom, the report card can be stopped and reinstated if problems reoccur.
Trouble-shooting a Daily Report Card
If the system is not working to change the student’s behavior, look at the program and make changes where appropriate. If you need help with this, call us to make an appointment.
Consider Other Treatments
If, even after trouble-shooting and modification, the DRC is not enough to result in desired improvement, consider all possible aspects of a comprehensive treatment plan as described by the National Resource Center on ADHD (http://www.help4adhd.org/en/about/what/WWK1).
(c) 2009- 2012, Monte W. Davenport, Ph.D.