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.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

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Symposium #189
CE Offered: BACB
Aggregated Data in the Development and Evaluation of Programs of Instruction for Students With Autism
Sunday, May 30, 2010
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
Texas Ballroom Salon B (Grand Hyatt)
Area: EDC/AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Renee Mansfield (New England Center for Children)
Discussant: Daniel E. Hursh (West Virginia University)
CE Instructor: Jessica Franco, Ph.D.
Abstract: Typically, the data of interest to behavior analysts are compared within individuals. In some cases, however, data aggregated across individuals can be useful; for example, in the development and evaluation of programs of instruction. The designers of behavioral instruction may use aggregated data to assess the validity of measurement tools, effects of a program on a particular population, and data-based targets for persons with suboptimal performance. Analyses of aggregated student-performance data may serve as a fruitful heuristic, spotlighting areas of need for a particular population, or skill areas in need of improved instruction. The analysis of data aggregated across individuals can be an important component of a program of research that to lead to maximally effective and socially valid programs of intervention. The papers collected for this symposium discuss and exemplify the merits of aggregate data analysis in the evaluation and development of programs of instruction for children with autism.
Aggregate Data in the Developmental Evaluation of a Core Skills Assessment
CHATA A. DICKSON (New England Center for Children), Renee Mansfield (New England Center for Children), Maria Andrade (The New England Center for Children), Nikki Campbell (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Data-based decision making is a hallmark of behavior-analytic service delivery; but when it comes to selecting targets for instruction, this standard can be difficult to attain. The Core Skills Assessment (CSA) is used to assess the performance of individual students on skills considered foundational for students with developmental disabilities. For each student at a school for children with autism, results of this assessment aid in the selection of educational targets. Aggregate data have been invaluable in the development this assessment tool: (a) stakeholders in the Applied Behavior Analysis and autism community were surveyed to assess the social validity of the skills targeted as Core, (b) correlational data between performance on the CSA and other measures of progress were analyzed, and (c) historical CSA data across many students were used to develop a suggested sequence of Core Skills to be targeted in each student’s education plan. The use of aggregate data continues to allow for data-based development, validation, and use of the CSA.
Iterative Evaluation of the Autism Curriculum Encyclopedia: Focusing Research, Improving Skills
MARIA ANDRADE (The New England Center for Children), Renee Mansfield (New England Center for Children), Chata A. Dickson (New England Center for Children), Utah W. Nickel (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Although the behavior of individuals is the primary interest of behavior analysts, aggregated data have proven invaluable in the evaluation and development of a data-based curriculum for children with autism. Core Skills Assessment® data for students at the New England Center for Children (NECC) are stored in a central location on a web-based application. These data have been aggregated and used in a variety of ways for program evaluation and curriculum development. For example, data were aggregated for each skill across students, and areas of relative weakness across the program were identified. Average student performance of two domestic skills, showering and brushing teeth, lagged behind performance of other skills. This finding led to increased experimental research into methods for teaching these skills, and the results of this research fed back into curriculum design. Student performance of these skills has improved, and this cycle of evaluation, experimental research, implementation, and further evaluation has served as a model for the continued development of the curriculum at NECC.
Using a Direct Observation Assessment Battery to Assess Outcome of EIBI for Children With Autism
DIANA PARRY-CRUWYS (New England Center for Children), Amanda Karsten (Western New England College), Meghan E. Robinson (New England Center for Children), Rebecca P. F. MacDonald (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) for young children diagnosed with autism can produce large gains in social, cognitive, and language development. Some researchers have used the instructional targets of joint attention skills and academic skills (e.g., imitation skills, instruction following) as criteria for determining outcome, although often in the form of indirect testing and questionnaires. The current study examined the performance of children with autism aged 1-5 and their typically developing peers using a direct observation assessment battery. These data are from a 10-year longitudinal sample of performance of young children with autism. We examined performance on joint attention and academic skills to determine outcomes for children with autism enrolled in an EIBI program. Performance was compared to direct measures taken for typically developing same-age peers, and within-group variables that may influence outcome such as age at intake, length of intervention and initial performance on the direct assessment battery are also examined.



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