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 #432
CE Offered: BACB
Recent Advances in Teaching Behavior Analysis in Higher Education Settings
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
9:00 AM–10:50 AM
Regency Ballroom D, Hyatt Regency, Gold West
Area: TBA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Sarah J. Pastrana (University of British Columbia)
Discussant: Christine Hoffner Barthold (George Mason University)
CE Instructor: Sarah J. Pastrana, M.S.
Abstract: The number of students and programs in behavior analysis has steadily increased over time (M. Nosik, personal communication October 12, 2015). Previous studies have applied the principles of behavior analysis to inform the instructional strategies used in higher education settings (Saville & Zinn, 2006, 2009). This symposium will include four presentations related to teaching behavior analysis in higher education settings. The first study examined the effect of active student responding (clickers) on exam performance. The second study investigated the effect of supplemental instructional materials from Autism Training Solutions on quiz scores. The third study evaluated the use of readiness assessment tests on attendance, class participation, and exam performance. The final study is a content analysis of the syllabi of course sequences approved by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board for the fourth edition task list. We will discuss the implications of the studies in terms of teaching behaviour analysis and other content in higher education settings.
Keyword(s): behavior analysis, higher education, online learning, teaching
Electronic Response Systems (Clickers): Educational Panacea or Snake Oil?
James Morrison (Western Michigan University), HEATHER M. MCGEE (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: One of the most technologically advanced methods of implementing active student responding is the electronic response system (Judson & Sawada, 2002). This technology is known under several names including audience response system, classroom response system, and colloquially as clickers (Smith, Shon, & Santiago, 2011). To accurately assess the impact of clickers on learning performance and classroom achievement, more quantitative analysis and systematic replication of studies was needed (Kay & LeSage, 2009). This study examined the effects of ASR questions on exam performance in two sections of an undergraduate organizational psychology class for majors and non-majors. This study used a multiple reversal design, which due to randomization mimicked an alternating treatment design. A social validity questionnaire was also administered to assess student perceptions of using clickers and whether the ASR questions helped them prepare for exams. The results of the study showed no significant difference in performance between the two conditions. The questionnaire found that most students did not feel that the ASR questions helped them perform better on exams but that most students felt more engaged when in the ASR condition.

Evaluation of an Online Textbook as a Supplement in a Graduate Level Applied Behavior Analysis Course

GABRIELLE LEE (Michigan State University), Josh Plavnick (Michigan State University)

University programs in applied behavior analysis (ABA) have increased at a rapid rate in the past 5 years, with minimal empirical information about optimal practices used to teach ABA content to college students. This study will examine whether using an online textbook (Autism Training Solution, ATS) improves student quiz scores when compared to a standard textbook only condition (i.e., students read Cooper, Heward, & Heron, 2007) in a fully online graduate course in applied behavior analysis. A total of 22 first year graduate students in special education and behaviour analysis participated in this study. This was the participants first graduate course in ABA. An alternating treatments design was used to compare a condition consisting of assigned readings and guided notes only with a second condition consisting of assigned readings, guided notes, and ATS. The outcomes provide information about the effects of a comprehensive online learning resource, ATS, on student demonstration of knowledge via weekly quizzes.

An Evaluation of Readiness Assessment Tests in a College Classroom: Exam Performance, Attendance, and Participation
MEGAN R. HEINICKE (California State University, Sacramento), Carrie K. Zuckerman (Auburn University), Danielle Cravalho (California State University, Sacramento)
Abstract: This study evaluated the use of frequent, online assessments due prior to lecture, known as readiness assessment tests (RATs), in two sections of a psychology course. The study compared the efficacy of RATs on students’ exam performance, in-class participation, and attendance using a nonequivalent control group design. Students’ self-report of study behavior and preference for RATs using a satisfaction survey were also measured. Results indicated significantly higher average unit exam grades, a higher level of attendance, and more reports of active study behavior for students exposed to RATs compared to the control group, but no significant differences in student participation were found. Students also reported a preference for RATs over frequent, in-class quizzes. Overall, the results support that RATs may be an effective and preferred assessment strategy to improve students’ overall exam grades and promote active study behavior. Recommendations for assessment in higher education and future research are discussed.

Essential Readings in Behavior Analysis: A Content Analysis From Universities With Approved BACB Course Sequences

SARAH J. PASTRANA (University of British Columbia), Tyla M. Frewing (University of British Columbia), Laura L. Grow (University of British Columbia), Melissa R. Nosik (Behavior Analyst Certification Board), Maria Turner (University of British Columbia), James E. Carr (Behavior Analyst Certification Board)

The number of universities offering course sequences approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) has grown steadily over the years (M. Nosik, personal communication October 12, 2015). With the development of new programs, it may be helpful for schools developing new training programs if the readings assigned by successful programs are disseminated. Saville, Beal, and Buskist (2002) surveyed former and current board members of journals in behavior analysis to develop a list of essential readings for graduate students. The goal of the present study was to extend the work of Saville et al. by performing a content analysis of the readings included in the syllabi of BACB-approved course sequences for the fourth edition task list. Inclusion in the study required that schools had a BACB-approved course sequence, at least six students that completed the 2014 certification examination, and an average pass rate of 80% or higher. Readings listed on each syllabus were categorized by topic (e.g., ethics, concepts and principles, single subject research), and reading type (e.g., empirical studies, discussion papers, books). We analyzed the data to generate a list of the most commonly assigned readings in each topic area. We identified the top 10 readings for each of the 12 different topics. Interobserver agreement was calculated for 100% of the coded data. Disagreements about reading type and category were resolved through a consensus process. The results will be discussed in terms of teaching behavior analytic content in higher education settings.




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