B. F. Skinner’s teaching machines are often described as revolutionary, yet controversial, contributions to education in the archives of education and psychology literature. Less credit has been given to Dr. Skinner’s substantial impact on contemporary and emerging accountability practices in education today. Namely, the significant impact on the development of modern assessment models employing interrupted time series analysis techniques to measure students’ acquisition, mastery and generalization of instructional content. Various iterations of single-case experimental designs have been used in the design and implementation of behavioral treatments for children with low-incidence handicapping conditions for many years. Only recently has this approach begun to gain widespread acceptance in the general education setting. This presentation will highlight the origins of the response-to-intervention (RtI) model in the United States in the context of the identification of children with disabilities. Discussion will also focus on more recent developments in the education arena involving the use of interrupted time series data to frequently monitor progress, rapidly modify instruction, and maximize teacher and learner effectiveness in the classroom. The foundation for these remarkable developments in accountability in American education today was made possible through Dr. Skinner’s seminal and enormously creative approach to measuring the behavior of organisms.
Review J. Steven Welsh’s biographical statement.