In order for a recording system to have integrity progress must be compared to a baseline level.  We can use the seven levels of engagement introduced in the last post to assess our partner’s baseline level of communication ability and then use this to ascertain any future progress.

My requirements for a baseline system were as follows:

  • Involves enough data so as to avoid inaccuracies
  • Practical enough for classroom use i.e. not too staff intensive
  • Simple to learn
  • Accurate

After a few months of experimentation we eventually settled on the following method at Woolley Wood using this Baseline Assessment form.

(Download and open or print the file so that you can make sense of the next set of instructions).

Baseline Method

  1. Find another member of staff (or family member) to film the interactions.
  2. Film a three minute interaction.
  3. Find a time to watch the video together with the person who did the filming.
  4. Begin watching the video and after 30 seconds stop the video and use the engagement profile to assess the level of the interaction.
  5. Record this level using a tally mark on the Baseline Form.
  6. Continue watching the video stopping every 30 seconds to make an assessment and mark the form.
  7. At the end of three minutes you should have 6 marks on the Baseline Form.
  8. Over a period of 7-14 days film some more interactions and repeat steps 1-6.

Having completed the above steps you can ascertain the overall baseline level.  Count the tallys in each box to find:

a) The level that was recorded the most times (AVERAGE)

b) The highest level recorded on  the sheet (MOST INTERACTIVE EPISODE)

Write down the levels in the appropriate areas in the top right hand area of the form and the Baseline assessment is complete.

Things to consider

  • In the school we use iPads to film the interaction because it we can watch the video straight away on the iPad screen rather than having to download the film onto a computer.
  • At the school we do five 3 minute videos over a period of 7-14 days.  The purpose of this is so that we have record the interactions when the child is in different moods, on different days and different times and the baseline will therefore be more accurate.
  • Working on a baseline is a good way to familiarise yourself with the levels.

Please contact me with any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them.