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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #64
CE Offered: BACB
Applying Behavior-Analytic Instructional Strategies in Higher Education Settings
Saturday, May 25, 2019
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Fairmont, Third Level, Crystal
Area: EDC/TBA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Megan D. Aclan (Aclan Behavioral Services)
CE Instructor: Megan D. Aclan, Ph.D.

This symposium includes three data-based presentations focused on applying behavior-analytic procedures in higher education settings. All presentations will focus on improving student performance in the classroom through the use of active teaching strategies and creative assignments. In the first presentation, Daniel Wagner will present a comparison of a novel assignment and a traditional assignment to increase undergraduate behavior analysis students’ performance on quizzes and their dissemination skills. Next, Christopher Le will present a comparison of preprinted and write-on response cards in an undergraduate applied behavior analysis course on exam scores, learning gains, and participation. Finally, Kendra Guinness will present an evaluation of the effects of a personalized system of instruction including self-paced tutorials comprised of instructions, video models, practice, and feedback on students’ accuracy in APA formatting. Each presentation will address implications for the behavior analytic teaching strategies in the classroom.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): higher education, instruction, response cards, teaching
Target Audience:

BCBAs, Faculty, Educators


Giving Away Our Science: Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Dissemination Assignment in an Undergraduate Behavior Analysis Course

DANIEL WAGNER (California State University, Northridge), Debra Berry Malmberg (California State University, Northridge), Megan D. Aclan (California State University, Northridge), Ashley Andersen (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute)

Though many have argued that behavior analysts should be trained as behavioral translators, translating our science and technology to others in a way that disseminates what our field has to offer (Foxx, 1985, 1996; Lindsley, 1991; Morris, 1985; Reed, 2014; Schlinger, 2014), little research identifying how to teach such repertoires exists. In this study, we designed the Giving ABA Away assignment to begin to teach this dissemination repertoire to undergraduate students in behavior analysis. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of this dissemination assignment, in which students were asked to describe a behavioral concept to a layperson audience, in comparison to a more traditional assignment. This study utilized a counterbalanced within groups design with pre- and post-assignment evaluations to assess student comprehension of the concepts and dissemination skills. Results showed positive effects of the dissemination assignment on student learning outcomes as compared to the traditional assignment. Implications for educators will be discussed.

A Comparison of Preprinted and Write-On Response Cards in Higher Education
Megan R. Heinicke (California State University, Sacramento), Catherine Copsey (California State University, Sacramento), Sharon Furtak (California State University, Sacramento), CHRISTOPHER LE (California State University, Sacramento)
Abstract: One pedagogical strategy for increasing student engagement is to incorporate active student responses, such as using response cards, within lecture-style teaching. To the authors’ knowledge, only two studies have compared response card types in higher education settings; however, these studies were translational and were conducted in a simulated classroom. This study compared the benefits of preprinted vs. write-on response cards in two undergraduate psychology courses using an alternating treatments design blocked by content unit. We compared both response card types to standard lecture control condition in Experiment 1 and a passive lecture control condition in Experiment 2. We examined the effects of response card type on students’ exam performance, learning gains (i.e., questions answered incorrectly in class then correctly on exams), retention scores, retention gains (i.e., learning gains maintained on a posttest), and in-class participation. Students also reported their preference for response card type using a satisfaction survey. Both response card conditions resulted in higher exam scores over standard and passive control conditions, and we found that write-on response cards produced significantly higher learning and retention gains across experiments. We offer recommendations for using response cards in higher education as well as expanding this line of research.

A Personalized System of Instruction for Teaching APA Formatting to Undergraduate Students

KENDRA GUINNESS (Regis College), Jacquelyn M. MacDonald (Regis College), Diana Parry-Cruwys (Regis College)

Formatting documents according the American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines is an essential but difficult skill for undergraduate psychology students. Undergraduate faculty report that their students make frequent APA formatting errors in a variety of domains including citations, quotations, and headers (Mandernach, Zafonte, & Taylor, 2016). The current study evaluated the effects of a personalized system of instruction (PSI) on the accuracy of APA formatting with undergraduate students using a multiple probe design across four units (title page, abstract, body, and references). Participants completed self-paced tutorials comprised of textual instructions, a video model, multiple practice opportunities, and immediate feedback. Results thus far indicate that after low to moderate levels of accuracy in baseline, accuracy rose to high levels immediately following training. Generalization was also measured by evaluating the APA formatting accuracy of actual lab reports the participants submitted in an introductory psychology class. Interobserver agreement was recorded for 33% of sessions (M = 89%; range, 73%-100%). Social validity with students and faculty will be discussed.




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