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.


11th International Conference; Dublin, Ireland; 2022

Event Details

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Symposium #9
CE Offered: BACB
Analyzing Instructional Progress in Terms of Verbal Behavior Development
Friday, September 2, 2022
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Meeting Level 1; Liffey A
Area: DEV; Domain: Translational
Chair: Jennifer Longano (Fred S. Keller School)
CE Instructor: Jennifer Longano, Ph.D.

The Early Learner Curriculum Achievement Record (ELCAR; Greer, Speckman, Dudek, Cahill, Weber, Du, & Longano, 2020) is a comprehensive criterion-referenced assessment and curriculum used to determine the presence or absence of repertoires and response classes across self-management, verbal foundations, listener, speaker, academic, and physical (fine/gross motor) domains, allowing for development of an individualized curriculum. The ELCAR also includes screenings for preferences/reinforcers, observing responses, verbal operants, and instructional readiness. Screenings can be used to guide instructional practices, determine when and if protocols to induce early learner cusps and capabilities are needed, whether cusps/capabilities have been acquired, and to measure progress and learning. Early foundational protocols have been found to condition: three-dimensional and/or two-dimensional stimuli, faces, and voices, resulting in increases in observing responses, instructional readiness repertoires, and newly learned operants. The ELCAR provides a means for an ongoing assessment of all repertoires, cusps, and capabilities. As the child continues to learn and acquire new reinforcers, teachers may also need to adjust and analyze the curricular objectives, method of instructional delivery, and graphic displays to provide the most effective and efficient instruction for each student. A curriculum analysis, which consists of a series of questions, can be conducted if the instructional programs being presented are aligned with what the child needs and are appropriate for that child.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): Behavioral Cusps, Conditioned Reinforcement, Curricular Assessment, Verbal Development
Target Audience:


Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1. Describe the functions of the ELCAR as both a criterion-referenced assessment and a curriculum 2. Describe the protocols for establishing two foundational verbal behavior developmental cusps 3. Describe three different instructional modalities dependent upon the learner’s verbal behavior development 4. Describe procedures for conducting a curriculum analysis through a verbal behavior developmental lens
Identifying Crucial Developmental Cusps: Early Learner Curriculum and Achievement Record Screenings
JESSICA SINGER-DUDEK (Teachers College, Columbia University)
Abstract: Paper 1 will provide an overview of the Early Learner Curriculum and Achievement Record (ELCAR), focusing particularly on how the ELCAR assessment can identify potential missing verbal behavior developmental cusps, the absence of which may impede or slow curricular progress. In particular, this paper will provide an overview of the reinforcer, observing response, verbal operant, and instructional readiness screenings in the ELCAR and explain how they can be used to predict curricular progress.
Two Protocols for Establishing Conditioned Reinforcement for Adult Faces and Voices
(Applied Research)
JENNIFER LONGANO (Fred S. Keller School)
Abstract: Paper 2 will provide a detailed account of two protocols that have been demonstrated to be successful in establishing two of the most important foundational cusps: conditioned reinforcement for observing adult faces and voices.
Analyzing Curricular Progress through a Developmental Lens
(Applied Research)
JEANNEMARIE SPECKMAN (Fred S. Keller School Teachers College Columbia University)
Abstract: Paper 3 will provide an overview of the curricular domains included in the ELCAR as well as how instruction (pedagogy) should be informed by verbal behavior developmental cusps identified in the ELCAR. This paper will also present data related to the effectiveness of a decision-making protocol, the Curriculum Analysis, that can be used to identify the source of learning problems related to inappropriate curricular objectives.



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