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 #320
CE Offered: BACB
Recent Research on Teacher and Practitioner Training and Treatment Integrity
Monday, May 30, 2016
4:00 PM–5:50 PM
Regency Ballroom A, Hyatt Regency, Gold West
Area: EDC/TBA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Nancy A. Neef (The Ohio State University)
Discussant: Stephanie M. Peterson (Western Michigan University)
CE Instructor: Mary Sawyer, Ph.D.

In order for children to derive the benefits of evidence-based practices, intervention agents must be taught how to implement them accurately and to monitor progress. The extent to which those treatments are subsequently applied with integrity influences their effectiveness when used with students. This symposium will present research on training procedures for teachers and practitioners and the influence that varying levels of treatment integrity may have on student outcomes. The first study consisted of two experiments that compared the effects of training conducted by experimenters to training conducted by peers on teachers' performance of discrete trial training procedures. In the second study, the effects of behavioral skills training were compared to the effects of training delivered via a traditional lecture format on pre-service teachers' performance of eight evidence-based practices. The third study evaluated the effects of using behavioral skills training to teach graduate students to create single-subject graphs. In the fourth study, the effects of errors in treatment integrity on students' acquisition and durability of self-care skills were examined. Together these empirical investigations offer important implications for training of intervention agents and regarding the impact of teaching errors on student outcomes.

Keyword(s): college teaching, evidence-based practices, teacher training, treatment integrity

A Comparison of Experimenter- Versus Pyramidal- Peer Training of Teachers

Wai-Ling Wu (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Dorothea C. Lerman (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Kally M Luck (University of Houston - Clear Lake), DANIELLE DUPUIS (University of Houston--Clear Lake), Shimin Bao (University of Houston-Clear Lake)

Previous studies have examined pyramidal training and consultant-led training in clinical settings (Haberlin, et. al, 2012). This study compared the effects of one-on-one pyramidal-peer training and experimenter training in the context of weeklong summer trainings for teachers of children with developmental disabilities. In Experiment 1, experimenters taught four teachers to implement one form of discrete trial training (DTT), and then peers taught the four teachers to implement a different form of DTT. In Experiment 2, half of the teachers received experimenter training first and the other half received peer training first. All teachers in Experiment 1 successfully trained their peers. However, in Experiment 2, teachers performed more accurately after being trained by the experimenter than after being trained by their peers. Results showed that more experienced teachers preferred experimenter training whereas less experienced teachers preferred peer training. Results have important implications for the use of peer- versus consultant-led trainings for teachers.


Behavioral Skills Training to Improve Pre-Service Teachers' Performance of Evidence-Based Practices

MARY SAWYER (Aubrey Daniels Institute), Natalie Andzik (The Ohio State University ), Michael Kranak (The Ohio State University), Carolyn Page Willke (The Ohio State University), Emily Curiel (Summit Pointe), Lauren Hensley (The Ohio State University), Nancy A. Neef (The Ohio State University)

In light of high-stakes teacher accountability and the achievement gap between students with disabilities and their typically developing peers, there is a pressing need to identify effective training methods to equip pre-service special education teachers with evidence-based practices. Research has demonstrated the efficacy of behavioral skills training (BST) as an instructional method with adult learners; however, few studies have examined its use in college teaching environments. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the comparative effects of lectures followed by BST sessions versus lectures followed by study sessions on seven undergraduate pre-service special education teachers' performance of eight evidence-based practices. An alternating treatments design was used to evaluate participants' performance during role-play assessments. Evidence-based practice performance was assessed via role-plays with experimenters acting as students. Results demonstrated that, on average, lectures followed by BST sessions produced substantially higher levels of percentage correct performance than lectures followed by study sessions. These results suggest that it may be valuable for pre-service teacher educators to integrate BST into their college teaching practices. Further research is needed to determine the extent to which skills taught through BST are used in the classroom with actual students.


Using Behavioral Skills Training to Improve Graduate Students' Graphing Skills

MARNIE NICOLE SHAPIRO (The Ohio State University), Michael Kranak (The Ohio State University), Mary Sawyer (Aubrey Daniels Institute), Nancy A. Neef (The Ohio State University)

The ability to create single-subject graphs is a crucial skill for behavior analysts and students in the field of behavior analysis or related disciplines. Microsoft Excel is often the chosen medium by which single-subject design graphs are created. Many studies have used task analyses to teach graduate students how to create single-subject design graphs (Deochand, Costello, & Fuqua, 2015; Dixon et al., 2009; Lo & Starling, 2009); however, this type of passive training may result in prompt-dependent performance. That is, students may come to rely on using task analyses to create graphs, and these task analyses are likely to become outdated as new versions of Excel are developed. Active training procedures may circumvent reliance on such prompts. Behavioral skills training (BST) is an evidenced-based, interactive, competency- and performance-based approach (Parsons, Rollyson, & Reid, 2012) that has been used to teach a wide variety of skills (Himle & Wright, 2014; Homlitas, Rosales, & Candel, 2014; Iwata et al., 2000). In the present study, a multiple probe across behaviors design was used to evaluate the effects of BST on three graduate students graphing skills. Results and implications will be discussed, as well as recommendations to improve the behavior analytic training of graduate students.

Effects of Treatment Integrity Errors on Acquisition and Durability of Behavior Chains
MAEVE G. DONNELLY (New England Center for Children), Amanda Karsten (Western New England University)
Abstract: Ecologically-valid treatment integrity errors have been shown to prevent or delay skill mastery in the context of discrete trial teaching (e.g., Carroll, Kodak, & Fisher, 2013); however, the effects of assessment-informed teaching errors on acquisition and durability of behavior chains are unknown. We evaluated the effects of teaching errors on behavior chains related to self-care skills with adolescent boys diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Study 1 identified the types of errors that occurred during self-care instruction. In Study 2, the relative effects of three errors (related to sequencing chain steps, reinforcement, and completion of the chain) from Study 1 were evaluated across two behavior chains for three participants. The effects of individual errors were then studied with a third behavior chain per participant. Reliability (Study 1 and Study 2) and procedural integrity (Study 2) measures averaged over 90% across studies. All errors included in the evaluation interfered with skill acquisition and disrupted performance of mastered skills. Teaching without errors resulted in skill mastery. The present results indicate that three types of assessment-informed teaching errors affect learning; further research is needed to determine whether a minimum level of integrity is necessary to produce skill acquisition and durability.



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