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.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #485
CE Offered: BACB
Improving Undergraduate Assessment Scores and Assignment Accuracy via Grade Contingencies and Written Prompts
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
Regency Ballroom B, Hyatt Regency, Gold West
Area: EDC/TBA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Kathryn Glodowski (Western New England University)
CE Instructor: Kathryn Glodowski, M.S.
Abstract: Improving student performance at the undergraduate level continues to be an area of productive research due to the broad array of variables involved. This symposium will address how grade contingencies and written prompts influence assessment scores and assignment accuracy. One paper demonstrates the necessity of a grade contingency on completion of web-based quizzes, which may contribute to higher exam scores. In a second paper, researchers show guided notes for a reading assignment may improve scores on quizzes covering the reading material, in addition to the accuracy of reading notes. A third paper shows the benefit of including information about antecedents and consequences in a task analysis for a graphing assignment. The researchers found the students who received the supplemental information performed the task more accurately than the students who did not receive the additional information. Taken together these papers help identify variables an undergraduate instructor can manipulate to enhance the performance of their undergraduate students.
Keyword(s): college teaching, graphing, quizzes, task analyses

The Effects of a Point Contingency for Web-Based Quiz Completion on Exam Scores

SAMANTHA DALFEN (Queens College of the City University of New York), Daniel Mark Fienup (Queens College, City University of New York), Peter Sturmey (The Graduate Center and Queens College, City University of New York)

Past studies have found that consistent quizzes can improve exam scores; however, there is a lack of studies evaluating the effects of contingencies on quiz accuracy and completion. The present study evaluated the effects of instituting a contingency on quiz accuracy and completion on exam scores. Eighty-one students enrolled in an introductory learning course participated and were given online quizzes based on the assigned reading material that was due prior to each class. The experiment employed an ABAB design where during each A phase quizzes were available but did not count towards the students final grade and during each B phase quiz scores counted towards the students final grades. A one way within subjects ANOVA revealed a statistically significant differences in exam scores between conditions, F(3,240)=7.566, p<.0001 with students scoring on average 5% higher on exams in the contingency condition. Future research should develop ways to increase exam scores in the lowest performing students.

The Effects of Guided Notes for Reading Assignments on Quiz Performance
KATHRYN GLODOWSKI (Western New England University), Rachel H. Thompson (Western New England University)
Abstract: Due to the growing cost and demand for higher education, variables that influence quality of college teaching should be thoroughly studied. One way to assess efficacy of teaching is to evaluate student performance. Researchers have already demonstrated quizzes (i.e., smaller, less frequent tests) lead to higher scores (Daniel & Broida, 2004; Fulkerson & Martin, 1981; Narloch et al., 2006), and response cards and lecture notes during lecture increase performance on quizzes following lecture (Kellum et al., 2001; Marmolejo et al., 2004; Neef et al., 2006). Less is known regarding variables that influence student performance on quizzes prior to lecture, which was the purpose of the current study. We used a multi-element design to evaluate the use of guided notes for assigned readings on performance of quizzes administered at the beginning of each class of an introductory psychology course. Eighty students participated across three semesters, and the guided notes increased quiz performance for 46 students. In addition, a paired-samples t-test revealed a statistically significant difference for two of the three semesters. Overall, guided notes for reading assignments may be beneficial for some undergraduate students, but more research should be conducted to determine the boundary of generality for these results.
A Comparison of Task Analyses With and Without Descriptions of Relevant Antecedent Stimuli and Performance Criteria for Graphing in Microsoft Excel
BRYAN TYNER (CUNY Graduate Center), Daniel Mark Fienup (Queens College, City University of New York)
Abstract: Task analysis (TA) instruction is commonly used to teach behavior chains to a wide range of populations including both recipients of behavioral services and their caretakers. Despite its prevalence and utility, little is known about the variables that make TA effective. To investigate ways to enhance TA instruction, the graphing behavior of 16 college students enrolled in an introductory psychology course was compared between two groups. These groups received either a TA describing only the responses to construct a reversal design graph in Microsoft® Excel®, or the same TA supplemented with descriptions of relevant antecedent stimuli and consequences of correctly performing each step. Graphing behavior was evaluated in this study because it is a relevant skill to students in psychology and behavior analysis. Participants using the supplemented TA demonstrated more accurate graphing behavior compared to those using the TA without these descriptions. Observed differences may be analogous to a graph receiving a passing or failing grade or being publishable or not. Differences in accuracy were found to be statistically significant using a t¬-test, p = .028; however, differences in graphing duration were not. Implications of linking TA instructions to the three-term contingency are discussed.



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