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.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Symposium #124
CE Offered: BACB
Teaching Mathematics and Executive Function Skills With Typical and Near-Typical Learners
Saturday, May 26, 2018
4:00 PM–5:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Seaport Ballroom A
Area: EDC; Domain: Translational
Chair: Andrew R. Kieta (Morningside Academy)
Discussant: Richard M. Kubina (Penn State)
CE Instructor: Richard M. Kubina, Ph.D.

The four presentations in this symposium illustrate how evidence-based practices in instructional design and Precision Teaching can be combined in new ways. The first two presentations focus on mathematics instruction for pre-schoolers and middle school students. In the first presentation, James Stocker will describe research demonstrating the effects of computational fluency on middle school students? higher order math skills and quantitative reasoning repertoires in a public charter school. Next, Kerri Milyko will demonstrate how to adapt a commercially available pre-school mathematics ?app? to increase active responding, reinforcement, discrimination training, individual generalization and application to a wider array of students. The second two presentations focus on teaching executive functioning skills and repertoires to elementary and middle school students. In the third presentation, Shiloh Isbell will demonstrate how so-called executive functioning can be broken down into component learning-to-learn behaviors and taught discretely, and how middle school students can be taught to self-assess their executive dysfunction, and apply the component learning behaviors to promote application and adduction. Next, Vivian Mach will show how teaching elementary aged students (a) the behaviors correlated with executive functioning skills, and (b) how to name the behavior required in a given situation, facilitates their academic gains and ability to successfully complete standardized tests to reintegrate in their former school.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

behavior analysts and other education and psychology professionals


Effects of Frequency Building Using a Modified Morningside Academy Math Facts Curriculum on Middle School Students' Mathematics Achievement

(Applied Research)
JAMES STOCKER (University of North Carolina Wilmington)

Computational and procedural fluency are critical elements that support mathematics achievement. Using curricular materials from Morningside Academy, a frequency building intervention was implemented in a public charter middle school (n=84). Students engaged in 12 minutes of daily practice for 50 days that consisted of three thirty-second timings solving for missing numbers in addition fact families followed by a one-minute timing of related math facts. The same procedure was repeated for multiplication fact families. Students completed a two-minute Curriculum Based Measurements (CBM) on Fridays and self-monitored progress using a computer-based standard celeration chart application. The treatment group outperformed the control group yielding a mean gain of 51 digits correct or 38 correct problems per three minutes on the Woodcock-Johnson IV (WJ-IV) fluency sub-test and 21 correct problems or 28 digits correct per two minutes on weekly CBM measures. The treatment group continued to outperform the control on generalization measures that consisted of reducing fractions, long division, and computing fractions with unlike denominators. Effect sizes from the WJ-IV tests of mathematics achievement will be discussed with emphasis on gains in quantitative reasoning. Teachers found the intervention socially valid, easy to implement, and beneficial to pace of instruction impacting overall mathematics performance.


Native Numbers With Precision: Adapting an Educational App for Precision Teaching

(Service Delivery)
KERRI L. MILYKO (Precision Teaching Learning Center)

The growing use of educational apps has helped increase access to fun, yet challenging, learning opportunities for children. Little learners are more inclined to play an educational game filling in the missing letter with a talking robot and shooting stars, rather than studying flash cards. However, these educational apps, while somewhat intuitive, always seem to miss critical features required to fully embrace the educational behavior analytic community's standards. One such app is Native Numbers. Native Numbers is brilliant with respect to the scope and sequence of each "lesson" to conceptually and fluently teach number sense. However, essential barriers make it not conducive to all learners. These barriers include 1) ratio strain, 2) excessive error correction, 3) punitive settings with no balanced reinforcers, and 4) limited modes of responding (e.g. learning channels). The team at Precision TLC adapted Native Numbers into one that was not computer based, required tangibles, vocal responses, motor responses, and flexible discrimination sensitive to the learner. This presentation will describe and demonstrate the app, detail strengths and limitations when working with particular students, and show how Precision TLC's curriculum strengthens the app to help promote individual generalization and application to a wider array of students.

Executive Dysfunction in the Classroom: A Behavioral Interpretation
(Service Delivery)
SHILOH M ISBELL (Morningside Academy), Brien McGuire (Morningside Academy)
Abstract: Many students are unsuccessful in school not because they have a specific learning disability but rather because they lack a strong repertoire of executive functioning skills. To be successful in a classroom, students need crucial behavioral repertoires such as response inhibition, task initiation, and sustained attention, to name a few. Rather than treating the concepts surrounding executive functioning as a cognitive problem, this presentation examines them through a behavior analytic framework. Using diagnostic assessments adapted from Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary "Executive Skills" Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential (Dawson & Guare, 2011), this presentation explores ways to measure and shape executive functioning in the middle school classroom setting. Students self assess using behavior checklists and their personal ratings are cross-referenced with ratings given by the teacher. Behavior repertoires for deficit skills are broken down into component behaviors and taught discretely, and then students are given application opportunities to measure application and adduction.

Enhancing Executive Function Skills by Teaching Retelling With Logic Problems

(Service Delivery)
VIVIAN MACH (Morningside Academy), Joanne K. Robbins (Morningside Academy)

Executive Function refers to both self-regulation and self-direction (Barkley 2011; Delis 2012). Improvement in self-regulatory skills can lead to short and long-term accomplishments in a student's academic career (Dawson and Guare, 2009). Using a behavior analytic approach to acquire skills such as response inhibition, working memory, and goal-directed persistence, students will advance their Language of Instruction. We presented logic problems and retelling activities in small groups of elementary-aged students, while observing and measuring classroom behaviors correlating with the executive skills being enhanced, such as being patient, following one-two step instructions, actively staying with a group member, starting and ending a task. Students conducted the prescribed activities through peer coaching, which involved one partner leading complex see/say directions for the other performer to hear/write directions and hear/do tasks. We measured how many tasks each member of the pair can accurately complete in a fixed amount of time. Improvement in behaviors that correlate with the acquired executive functioning skills enhance students' academic language, which in turn facilitates academic gains and student ability to successfully complete standardized tests to reintegrate in their former school.




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