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.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

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Symposium #416
CE Offered: BACB
Arranging Contingencies to Promote University Student Success: Decreasing Procrastination and Increasing Homework Completion
Monday, May 25, 2015
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
206AB (CC)
Area: TBA/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Traci M. Cihon (University of North Texas)
CE Instructor: Traci M. Cihon, Ph.D.

Behavior Analysts have long been interested in the application of basic principles and procedures in the educational setting as evident in teaching technologies such as the Teaching Machine and Personalized System of Instruction. Behavior analysts have successfully employed many strategies to increase student participation within the classroom such as Active Student Responding and Interteaching. Many have even been successful at arranging contingencies to promote completion of course activities outside of the classroom (i.e., homework) and to decrease student procrastination. However, the contingencies arranged by the instructor are often not sufficient to compete with the contingencies associated with other outside of class activities that are available to students. In fact, many students are coming to university increasingly unprepared in core academic areas and/or are lacking the skills necessary to arrange their own contingencies to ensure academic success. This symposium includes three papers in which the authors sought to arrange contingencies to increase the probability of student success by either promoting homework completion outside of scheduled course times or to decrease student procrastination for undergraduate and graduate students, respectively. The results will be discussed in terms of the correlation between the interventions and measures of academic success (e.g., quiz scores) and the implications for instructional design for university instructors.

Keyword(s): college teaching, homework completion, procrastination
The Effects of Homework Sessions on Undergraduate Students’ Homework Performance
Elissa Forand (University of North Texas), TRACI M. CIHON (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Experimenters evaluated the effects of a homework session on undergraduate students’ homework performance through an adapted alternating treatments design in two introduction to behavior analysis courses. Several participants attended homework sessions; however, homework submission and homework mastery did not vary as a function of homework session attendance or availability. Homework submission remained high throughout the experiment regardless of attendance at or availability of a homework session. Many participants responded that they were not interested in or did not need homework sessions. Participants who attended homework sessions rated them as neutral or helpful overall, with longer time and different time as the most common suggestions for improvement.

Would You Do Your Homework in Order for a Chance to Earn More Points on Your Quiz

KARL ZIMMERMAN (University of North Texas), Traci M. Cihon (University of North Texas)

Students who complete homework generally do better on measures of academic performance such as quizzes, exams, and overall course grades (Harris & Sherman, 1974; Ryan & Hemmes, 2005). We examined the effects of contingent access to second quiz attempts on the percentage of undergraduate students completing homework to mastery. The study was conducted in an Introduction to Behavior Analysis course that, historically, had only 70% of students on average completing homework. An adapted multiple baseline design across sections was used for four sections of the course. Students could access a second quiz attempt contingent by meeting the following criteria: the student received a 16 out of 20 on the first quiz attempt or by meeting the mastery criterion of the homework (45 out of 50). We also examined the relation between homework accuracy and scores on first quiz attempts. Two sections did not show a difference in homework completion with and without the second quiz attempt contingency. One section showed more sensitivity toward the contingency once it was withdrawn, and one section never had the removal of the contingency and had the highest percentages of students completing their homework. When analyzing the relation of homework accuracy to the corresponding first quiz attempts, homework accuracy appeared to be related to higher scores on first quiz attempts across all sections. Quiz scores were typically a letter grade higher for students who completed homework compared to students who did not complete homework to mastery. Although there are limitations to the current study, the results suggest the second quiz contingency may impact homework completion.

Effects of Contingent and Noncontingent Access to Study Materials on Procrastination of Graduate Students’ Studying
JENNIFER CASALE (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Jessica Gamba (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Diana J. Walker (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Jennifer Klapatch (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Abstract: The present study examined the effects of contingent and noncontingent access to online practice quizzes on the distribution of graduate students’ studying and on weekly, in-class quiz scores. An alternating-treatments design was implemented across two sections of a course, with contingent and noncontingent access rotating weekly and counter-balanced across sections. In the noncontingent access condition, one online practice quiz became available per day. In the contingent access condition, one quiz became available per day, and participants were required to complete prior quizzes before access to each subsequent quiz was available; as a result, putting off taking the quizzes till later in the week resulted in some quizzes not becoming available at all. During the majority of the noncontingent access weeks, distribution of studying using the online practice quizzes was concentrated during the last two days of the week, whereas during the contingent access condition studying occurred more consistently across the week, with one quiz being accessed every 1-2 days. There was no clear evidence that one condition produced higher in-class quiz scores compared to the other. The contingent access condition helped to regulate students’ studying and may be useful for retention, which should be assessed in future research.



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