Rating for On Task Awareness

  • Situation

    I have been a one on one aide for a student with high functioning autism for  3 years and now that he is in 6th grade, I am really trying to back off with my support because he may not have an aide in middle school.  He still needs a lot of reminders from me to stay on task or get back on task.  Is there anything I can do to help him become more aware of how off task he can be other than constant prompts from me or the teacher?

  • Summary

    Good for you for thinking about fading your support!  While some kids do require one on one support from an aide, it can potentially lead to prompt dependency.  Also, as kids enter middle school, they may face feeling somewhat left out as peers may not want to hang around a student who has an adult at their hip all day!


    One thing you may want to try along with the teacher is a simple rating of on task behavior that is tied to a small reward.  After a class or other period of time, both
    the student and teacher rate how they think the student did staying on task. The scores are then compared and if they match, the student gets his reward.  Comparing the scores can help increase self awareness and give the student a realistic picture of how he is doing.  While an aide can also do the scoring,  the classroom teacher should  be the first choice as the goal is to also decrease reliance on the aide support and shift more attention to the classroom teacher.  This is more typical of a middle school situation.

  • Definition

    A Dual Rating for On Task Awareness is the use of simple rating scale for both teacher and student to complete independently regarding a specific student behavior.  The goal is for the rating scores to match which demonstrates that a student is becoming more aware and realistic about their in class behavior.  The rating is scored and when a match is perfect the student gets a reward.  There is also the option for the student to still get a reward if a certain criterion is met rather than a perfect match.  This is recommended and as the student gains skills, the criteria can be tightened.


  • Quick Facts

    • Child's Age: 11-13, 14-17
    • Planning Effort: Moderate
    • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Pre-requisites

    A student who is at the point in which self-monitoring could be effective.

    A teacher who is willing to participate in the strategy.

    A teacher who is willing to provide a reinforcer (reward) based upon self awareness ratings.

  • Process

    1. Develop a simple rating sheet that allows both teacher and student ratings of behavior.  Some commercially available tools include sample ratings that can be reproduced for example in Practical Ideas that Really Work for Students with ADHD (McConnell, Ryser, Higgins) Pro-Ed, Inc. 2000.

    2. Explain the use of the strategy to the student.

    3. Talk with the student about possible rewards he can earn for meeting the goal (e.g. within 2 points of teacher rating, perfect score match).

    4. Choose a period of time when to try the rating.  Start small, possibly after a 30 minute period or just one class.  Eventually, the comparison of scores may not have to occur until mid-day but to start, keep rating periods fairly short and increase over time.

    5. Choose a convenient time for the teacher and student to rate the on task behavior, compare scores and deliver the reward if goal met.  If student does not meet the goal, encourage them to keep trying!

    Adapted from: Practical Ideas that Really Work for Students with ADHD (McConnell, Ryser, Higgins) Pro-Ed, Inc. 2000


  • Documents and Related Resources

    Practical Ideas That Really Work for Students with ADHD link to sample retail site for purchase


    Self-Monitoring (Watson Institute Classroom Tools)


    If you have questions or concerns about the Watson Institute’s use of this information, please contact us.