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 #109
CE Offered: BACB
University-School Partnerships in Behavior Analysis: Supporting Economically Disadvantaged Public Schools
Saturday, May 25, 2019
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Fairmont, Second Level, Gold
Area: EDC/CSS; Domain: Translational
Chair: Katherine Mahaffy (Western Michigan University)
Discussant: Denise Ross (Western Michigan University )
CE Instructor: Denise Ross, Ph.D.
Abstract: Public schools may serve a diverse group of students including students with differing ethnic and racial backgrounds, disability statuses, locales, and socioeconomic classes. As such, behavior analysts who work in public schools may need a variety of tools to support teachers, parents, school administrators, and communities. The current symposium addresses the application of behavior analysis to public schools serving large numbers of students with low socioeconomic status (SES). Specifically, this symposium will present four papers that describe the needs of economically disadvantaged PK-12 students, review the representation of economically disadvantaged students in behavior analysis research, describe interventions to support teachers and improve student academic performance, and discuss the utility of university-school partnerships in economically disadvantaged schools. Implications and recommendations for practitioners and researchers will be discussed.
Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience: Teachers, school administrators, practitioners, university personnel
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this symposium, learners will be able to: 1) Describe the academic status and needs of economically disadvantaged learners in public schools 2) Discuss the inclusion of economically disadvantaged learners in behavior analysis research 3) Describe two academic and social interventions that can be used for economically disadvantaged schools

The Status and Needs of Economically Disadvantaged Schools and Learners

MYA HERNANDEZ (Western Michigan University), Katherine Mahaffy (Western Michigan University)

According to the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP, 2018), 44% percent of children under age 18 in the United States are considered economically disadvantaged. Research suggests that these children are more likely to experience academic challenges than children who are not economically disadvantaged. This presentation will describe the academic needs of economically disadvantaged learners, historical contributions of behavior analysis to improving educational outcomes, and the current needs that behavior analysis can address. Implications and recommendations for practitioners and researchers will be discussed.


The Effects of Peer Observation on Teacher Intervention Integrity

(Applied Research)
Garrett Warrilow (Pfizer Pharmaceuticals), Sarah Ann Pichler (Western Michigan University), MYA HERNANDEZ (Western Michigan University)

This study used the observer effect as part of a teacher training package by evaluating the effects of peer observations on an observing teacher's implementation integrity of components of a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) system for four middle school teachers. The primary dependent variables were the number of praise and corrective statements made by the teachers to their students, and how closely the teacher approximated a ratio of three praise statements to every one corrective statement. Secondary dependent variables included the number of behavioral expectations set by the teacher for the students, and the number of office referrals written by the teacher. Results suggest that peer observations increased intervention integrity of target classroom management behaviors for three of four participants and that participants were highly satisfied with the procedure. Implications for teacher training in schools, and how the findings relate to the observer effect, are discussed.


The Effects of Decoding Instruction on Oral Reading Fluency for Older Students With Reading Delays

(Applied Research)
GAIGE JOHNSON (May Institute)

Struggling older readers often have difficulty with early decoding skills (Tolman, 2005; Toste, Williams, & Capin, 2017). If they are unable to master decoding, they may have difficulty with more complex skills, such as passage reading fluency. The current study extends research on reading fluency for older students by evaluating the combined effects of a phonics procedure and a fluency-building strategy on their reading fluency. Participants were older students with below grade level reading performance who had deficits in oral reading fluency and decoding. Dependent variables were the number of correctly sorted word patterns and the number of correct words per minute read in a passage and on a word list. During the intervention, a modified word sort procedure was used to train students to sort and read words containing the target word patterns. Following the initial word sort procedure, fluency building was employed by training word reading to a fluency criterion. Connected text passages were used to assess participants’ fluency when reading passages that contained the word pattern. A multiple-probe design across responses was utilized to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention on the decoding skills and oral reading fluency of participants. Results showed that participants’ decoding and oral reading fluency increased following the intervention.

Representation of Economically Disadvantaged Learners in Applied Behavior Analysis Research: A Review of the Literature
BRANDI FONTENOT (Western Michigan University ), Margaret Uwayo (Western Michigan University), Sarah Byrne (Michigan State University)
Abstract: In the United States, 24% of school-age children attend high-poverty schools. Research suggests that these children are at a greater risk for academic underperformance and dropping out of school than their peers who are not from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. As such, some economically disadvantaged children may need educational interventions to improve their academic outcomes. This presentation reviews the representation of children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds as research participants in behavioral journals. Ninety-one articles from behavioral journals were reviewed to determine the publication trends between 1968 and 2017. Results suggested that economically disadvantaged children are increasingly included in behavior analytic research. However, there are opportunities to conduct research with economically disadvantaged children who have disabilities or who are English Language Learners.



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