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 #199
CE Offered: BACB
Behavioral Applications in Educational Settings for Students of All Ages
Monday, May 30, 2016
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Regency Ballroom A, Hyatt Regency, Gold West
Area: EDC; Domain: Translational
Chair: Michele R. Traub (University of Florida)
CE Instructor: Michele R. Traub, M.S.
Abstract: A strong literature base exists for behavioral interventions in elementary and special-education classrooms, but fewer studies have examined the role of behavior analysis in teaching skills and managing behavior in general education settings, with older students, or with preschool-aged children. This symposium will detail recent applications of behavioral programs with these less common populations. The first paper addresses a common prerequisite behavior needed for children to succeed in school: appropriate sitting. This paper details a treatment package used to teach preschool-aged children to sit appropriately for short periods of academic task presentation. The second paper focuses on the use of group contingencies in middle-school classrooms to increase duration of on-task behavior and rate of worksheet completion. Finally, the third paper will address interventions used in college classrooms to increase student attendance and engagement in class. Overall, this symposium aims to educate the listener on applications of behavioral principles, at both individual and group levels, within educational contexts in which behavior analysis is not currently a common approach to classroom management.
Keyword(s): Classroom Engagement, General Education, University Teaching
Teaching Pre-Academic Skills: Evaluating a Treatment Package to Teach Preschoolers to Sit Appropriately
Catherine B Simms (Florida Children's Institute), MICHELE R. TRAUB (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida), Kara L. Wunderlich (University of Georgia)
Abstract: For individuals who are early in their learning career (e.g., preschool, kindergarten) one of the first skills they need to learn is to sit at a table and tolerate a therapist or teacher presenting learning tasks. However, little research has focused on how to teach these prerequisite skills efficiently and effectively to young learners with developmental disabilities and learning delays. The current study first evaluated a multi-component treatment package (consisting of three-step prompting, continuous access to toys, and contingent edible delivery) to teach children to sit appropriately in a chair when instructed and to remain seated without engaging in problem behavior. The treatment package was effective for two subjects but problem behavior emerged when we faded toy access. We then applied each component of the intervention in an additive manner to determine which components were necessary for efficient learning of the skill, and we incorporated demand fading to ensure that appropriate sitting would be maintained during an instructional session. Results for two subjects to date showed that this treatment was effective at teaching sitting for up to five minutes.
An Investigation of the Effects of Group Contingencies on Worksheet Completion
MEGHAN DESHAIS (University of Florida), Alyssa Fisher (Kennedy Krieger Institute), SungWoo Kahng (University of Missouri), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida)
Abstract: We conducted two experiments investigating the effects of group contingency arrangements on worksheet completion in two classrooms. In the first study, we compared two different types of group contingencies, an independent group contingency and a randomized dependent group contingency, during a literacy period in a first-grade classroom. In the second experiment we evaluated the effects of a randomized group contingency with individualized criteria in a middle-school classroom for pre-delinquent students. Our results with respect to the effectiveness of the group contingencies at increasing students’ worksheet completion were mixed. Results from the first study indicate that both group contingency arrangements effectively increased students’ worksheet completion relative to baseline. For the target (low-performing) students in the first-grade classroom, the two arrangements were either equally effective or the independent group contingency was superior. Results from the second study suggest that the randomized dependent group contingency with individualized criteria did not produce clear effects on levels of student worksheet completion. Potential explanations for these results and implications for future research will be discussed.
Modifying Contingencies in College Courses to Improve Student Attendance and Engagement
CLAIRE C. ST. PETER (West Virginia University), Regina A. Carroll (West Virginia University), Jessica Cheatham (West Virginia University), Jenny Ozga (West Virginia University)
Abstract: Although attendance and participation at collegiate class meetings is a strong predictor of course success, less is known about how instructors can structure courses to improve attendance and engagement. One established intervention is to provide points for desirable student behavior. We recently conducted two studies evaluating the influence of points and games on student attendance and engagement, respectively. In the first study, we assessed the relation between the percentage of points available on class days and student attendance across three psychology courses at a large, public university. Students were more likely to attend when the most course points were available (4% to 8%) than when fewer (1% to 3%) or no course points were available. In the second study, we implemented a classwide game modeled after the Good Behavior Game to increase student participation. Students were more likely to raise their hands when playing the game for extra credit than when playing for no points or when no game was played. Additionally, a large majority of students (85%) preferred playing the game for points over playing with no points or not playing. Our results suggest that college instructors can influence attendance and participation through relatively easy and cost effective manipulations of course contingencies.



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