Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


33rd Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2007

Event Details

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Symposium #224
International Symposium - On the Development of Higher-Order Thinking: Shaping More Complex Behavioral Repertoires
Sunday, May 27, 2007
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
Betsy A
Area: DEV/TBA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Darlene E. Crone-Todd (Salem State University)
Discussant: Margaret E. Vaughan (Salem State College)
Abstract: This symposium involves three talks related to the development of more complex behavioral repertoires – higher order thinking. Commons’ Model of Hierarchical Complexity will be discussed in relation to the development of learning processes for undergraduate students. Pear’s talk will focus on the use of a modified Bloom’s taxonomy for evaluating course-related questions and student’s answers; and Crone-Todd’s talk will analyze both approaches, and attempt to relate them to a verbal behavior analysis and to shaping. This talk is expected to be useful for those interested in development, teaching, and learning.
Implications of the Model of Hierarchical Complexity for Learning and Teaching of College Students.
PATRICE MARIE MILLER (Salem State College), Michael Lamport Commons (Harvard Medical School)
Abstract: In 1998, Commons and colleagues (e.g., Commons & Miller, 1998) presented a behavioral-developmental model for stages of development. In this Model of Hierarchical Complexity three characteristics are identified: 1) stage of development is accounted for by differences in the hierarchical complexity of tasks that people can do correctly; 2) development within a task sequence in one domain (e.g. mathematics) can and often proceeds relatively independently from development in other domains (e.g. writing or interpersonal understanding); and 3) an additional theory proposes specific transition steps in transition between stage, from rejecting or abandoning a strategy that worked at a previous order of complexity, to trying out new strategies in non-systematic ways, and finally to acquiring and using a new strategy. This process is related to shaping, as it involves successive approximations during transitions. These three characteristics of the theory will be illustrated with examples from undergraduate and graduate students solving tasks in different domains.
Using Computer-Aided Personalized System of Instruction to Increase Students' Higher-Order Thinking.
JOSEPH J. PEAR (University of Manitoba)
Abstract: Most educators agree on the necessity of teaching higher-order or critical thinking in their courses. However, there appears to be little agreement on how best to do this. One approach is a to use a question-and-answer method in which both the questions and the answers are scored according to the levels of Bloom's taxonomy and the instructor attempts to move the students from the lower to the higher levels. A method called Computer-Aided Personalized System of Instruction (CAPSI) incorporates this approach along with a peer-review mastery system of learning. A quantitative analysis of the levels of students' answers on Bloom's taxonomy will be conducted to determine whether higher-order thinking increases throughout CAPSI-taught courses. A descriptive analysis will also be conducted on the answers to specific questions and the feedback students give and receive on answers to higher-level questions. The data, which are to be collected, are expected to indicate that CAPSI is a highly effective method for increasing higher-order thinking by students.
The Development of Higher-Order, Complex Thinking Behavior.
DARLENE E. CRONE-TODD (Delta State University)
Abstract: The development of higher-order thinking involves various degrees of complexity in verbal behavior terms. Recent work in this area has focused on the use of Bloom’s taxonomy to specify the levels of thinking in CAPSI-taught courses, and to specifically target and reinforce more complex behavioral repertoires on the part of undergraduates. A quantitative analysis of course-related questions and student answers, which compares both a modified Bloom’s taxonomy and Commons’ Model of Hierarchical Complexity, will be provided. Discussion will focus on the relationship between the taxonomy and the model, and on the relationship to Skinner’s verbal behavior. Further, the application of shaping procedures will be discussed.



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