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.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

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Symposium #305
CE Offered: BACB
Identifying and Closing Skill Gaps: Assessment, Goal Setting, and Performance Feedback Strategies to Promote Learner Outcomes
Sunday, May 30, 2021
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Area: EDC/DDA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Janice Frederick (The ABRITE Organization)
CE Instructor: Janice Frederick, Ph.D.
Abstract: The behavior analytic literature that establishes assessment and instructional strategies to promote learner acquisition is expansive and far-reaching. Empirical investigation in the context of ongoing clinical work continues to evolve our methodologies. We continue to ask questions about how we can we help learners ‘learn’ and meet their goals. These questions multiply under changing and novel conditions such as those associated with the corona virus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. For example, how can we identify deficits that may impact learner performance and apply well-documented strategies such as goal setting and performance feedback to support learners under these conditions? The current symposium examines the utilization of assessment, goal setting, and performance feedback across varied populations, target behaviors, and settings. The first paper describes outcomes related to an assessment tool and instructional program utilized with special education students to address deficits in prerequisite skills required for distance learning. The second paper involves an examination of the effectiveness of setting daily session-improvement goals across individual programs for learners diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The final paper reviews outcomes obtained for nonpublic school students exposed to a treatment package involving goal setting and daily feedback designed to improve academic task completion.
Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience: Visual inspection of data, familiarity with standard celeration charts, and understanding of behavioral skills training
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe a tool and methodology for assessing and treating deficits in technology-based prerequisite skills for students enrolled in distance learning instruction, (2) describe the differential effects of general and specific goal setting on learner performance, and (3) describe components of a behavioral intervention package designed to improve students’ academic performance.

Assessment and Acquisition of Technology-Based Prerequisite Skills to Support Access to Distance Learning Instruction for Special Education Students

(Applied Research)
JESSICA KAREN PIZZICA (Santa Cruz City School District ), Matthew Christopher Peterson (The ABRITE Organization), Janice Frederick (The ABRITE Organization)

In response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, schools across the world have been closed intermittently over the course of several months as an emergency measure to prevent spreading of the infection. During school closures, many students received instruction remotely either in entirety or under a hybrid model involving a mixture of on-campus and distance learning models. For some students, skill deficits may serve as a barrier to accessing instruction under these conditions. In the current study, special education teachers were surveyed to learn more about their methods for assessing and establishing preparedness for distance learning instruction with their students. A tool for assessment of technology-based prerequisite skills for distance learning was developed and administrated to special education students ranging from 1-12 grades. These data were utilized to create acquisition programs for specific skills hypothesized to impact student independence and engagement during distance learning sessions. These acquisition programs were then introduced with secondary level special education students. Results related to student assessment, acquisition of prerequisite skills, as well as social validity measures for teachers and students will be shared.


Gooooooaaaaaal!!! How Session-Improvement Goals Affect Learner Outcomes

(Applied Research)
MEGAN D. SZETO (The Learning Consultants (tLC)), Jeffrey Gesick (The Learning Consultants), Megan Han (The Learning Consultants ), Ariel Bray (The Learning Consultants )

Goal setting is a well-established strategy for improving educational performance. Further, it is well documented that specific goals produce higher performance than goals that encourage a learner to “do your best.” This study examined the effectiveness of setting daily session-improvement goals across individual programs for learners diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). During the initial intervention phase, participants were provided a loose set of criteria to set goals for the learners they work with in order to compare the number of goals met to the number of programs run. Each of the participants collected daily data indicating each of these frequencies. Data were evaluated during staff meetings, where feedback was delivered and more specific criteria established for setting goals that resulted in an optimal percentage of goals met. Finally, these data were compared to the frequency of data-based decisions made that resulted in forward progress for learners in our clinic in order to evaluate optimal frequencies of data-based decisions for our staff.

The Present, Positive, Participant (P3) Project: A Component Analysis of a Behavior Analytic Intervention Package for Nonpublic School Students
(Applied Research)
MATTHEW CHRISTOPHER PETERSON (The ABRITE Organization), Janice Frederick (The ABRITE Organization)
Abstract: This study examined the effectiveness of goal setting, behavioral contracting, performance feedback, and a reinforcement contingency on goal mastery for secondary level students attending a nonpublic school. Specifically, students committed to a mutually agreed upon goal of meeting individualized academic expectations every school day. Baseline data from each of 5 participants suggested failure to meet their academic expectations on the majority of school days. Three participants in the initial intervention phase worked with a ‘coach’ to set a goal related to meeting work completion criteria for each school day. Participants received daily feedback related to their goal via a text message to their caregiver and each attended a brief weekly meeting with a ‘coach’ during which they received feedback via a graph of their performance relate to their goals. Goal specific measures included the percentage of class periods where individualized academic criteria were met. A component analysis was initiated for 2 additional participants to examine the effects of each component of the intervention package. Overall results indicate that this relatively low-cost and minimally invasive intervention was effective in increasing student performance on goal related tasks.



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