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.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #54
CE Offered: BACB
School-Based Interventions With At-Risk Students: Addressing Academic Engagement, Student Interactions, and Disruptive Classroom Behavior
Saturday, May 26, 2018
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Harbor Ballroom HI
Area: EDC/PRA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: P. Raymond Joslyn (Berry College)
Discussant: Anthony Biglan (Oregon Research Institute)
CE Instructor: P. Raymond Joslyn, Ph.D.

Behavior analytic approaches in school settings are supported by a large foundation of empirical research. However, approaches for working with at-risk students have historically been underrepresented in the behavioral literature. The current symposium addresses ways to increase academic engagement, improve peer interactions, and decrease disruptive behavior in school settings with at-risk students. Study 1 compared the effects of differential negative reinforcement of alternative behavior (DNRA) and curricular revision (CR) on problem behavior with students diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Study 2 evaluated the effects of positive and negative reinforcement interventions on escape-maintained problem behavior with secondary students diagnosed with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD). Study 3 examined the effects of the Good Behavior Game, a well-documented group contingency procedure, on student interactions in primary and secondary classrooms for students with EBD. Study 4 examined the effectiveness of teacher-implemented GBG on disruptive classroom behavior with students in a residential facility for juvenile offenders. Implications, future directions, and special considerations for working with this population will be discussed.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): academic intervention, at-risk students, classroom management, escape-maintained behavior
Target Audience:

Researchers and practitioners who work in school settings with at-risk students or other special education populations, or those who want to learn more about the implementation of behavioral classroom management would benefit from attending this symposium.

Learning Objectives: Individuals attending this symposium will be able to: 1) Differentiate between differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DNRA) and curricular revision (CR), and describe the effects of these procedures on escape-maintained problem behavior with at-risk students. 2) Describe the procedures and potential effects of positive and negative reinforcement interventions for at-risk students who engage in escape-maintained problem behavior. 3) Describe the procedural variations and potential effects of the Good Behavior Game with at-risk students.
To Treat or to Teach: Comparing Strategies to Reduce Escape-Maintained Behavior
LUCIE ROMANO (West Virginia University), Claire C. St. Peter (West Virginia University), Gabrielle Mesches (West Virginia University), Apral Foreman (West Virginia University)
Abstract: Differential negative reinforcement of alternative behavior (DNRA) reduces escape-maintained challenging behavior, but can result in lost instructional time. Instructional time could be maintained through interventions like curricular revision (CR), but the efficacy of CR is less established. We compared DNRA and CR for 3 children with age-typical intellectual functioning whose challenging behavior was maintained by escape from academic tasks. During DNRA, we taught the child to appropriately request a different, mastered task. During CR, we broke the original task into simpler components until the child mastered each component, but still permitted escape following challenging behavior. Curricular revision resulted in less challenging behavior than DNRA for one participant. For the other two participants, DNRA was initially more effective than CR, but participants rarely engaged with the academic task. Challenging behavior was equally suppressed across conditions once extinction for challenging behavior was added to CR. Curricular revision also resulted in each child spending substantially more time engaged with the new task than the mastered task. Curricular revision did not increase the likelihood of treatment relapse relative to DNRA for any participant. Thus, CR may be a desirable option for treating escape-maintained behavior.

A Comparison of Positive and Negative Reinforcement With Secondary School Mathematics Avoiders With Emotional and Behavioural Disorders

JENNIFER L. AUSTIN (University of South Wales), Katie Scoble (University of South Wales ), Lynette Davies (University of South Wales), Ioannis Angelakis (University of South Wales)

Previous research has demonstrated that positive reinforcement can effectively treat problem behaviour maintained by escape from demands. We evaluated the effects negative and positive reinforcement interventions on engagement with math tasks for three secondary students with a history of math avoidance. A trial-based functional analysis confirmed that all three participants' problem behaviours were maintained by escape. We used an alternating treatments design to compare the relative effects of negative (i.e., removal of math tasks) and positive (edibles) reinforcement on work completion and accuracy. We then conducted a choice phase, in which participants could opt to work for removal of math problems or edibles. Results showed that positive reinforcement increased rates of problem completion and accuracy for two of the three participants. When allowed to choose, all participants opted for the positive reinforcement contingency and reported that they enjoyed completing math problems with the positive reinforcement contingency and disliked the worksheets when the escape contingency was applied. These results bolster previous findings indicating that positive reinforcement interventions may be more efficacious than negative reinforcement strategies for treating escape-maintained behaviour. Our results also raise important questions regarding how intervention approach may alter how an individual feels about engaging in appropriate behaviour.

Does the Good Behavior Game Evoke Negative Peer Pressure? Analyses in Primary and Secondary School Classrooms
EMILY GROVES (University of South Wales), Jennifer L. Austin (University of South Wales)
Abstract: The Good Behaviour Game (GBG) is a classroom management system that employs an interdependent group contingency, whereby students must work as a team to win the game. This arrangement means that a single child’s behaviour may make the difference between a team winning or losing. Teachers may have concerns about the GBG’s fairness and its potential to evoke negative peer interactions (especially toward those children who are most likely to break rules). Research has shown that positive interactions can be targeted and increased during the GBG, but much less is known about peer interactions when the game does not specifically arrange contingencies to promote prosocial behaviour. We evaluated children’s social interactions during a GBG that targeted behaviours unrelated to peer social interactions. Using a withdrawal design, we evaluated outcomes in a secondary classroom for students with emotional and behavioural disorders, as well as in a primary classroom for children with mild developmental disabilities. Results indicated that the GBG produced positive changes in target behaviours. More importantly, however, they showed that playing the game decreased negative peer interactions and increased positive interactions. Further, social validity results indicated that the majority of children thought the interdependent group contingency was fair.

Training Teachers to Implement the Good Behavior Game With Juvenile Offenders

P. RAYMOND JOSLYN (Berry College), Faris Rashad Kronfli (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida)

The Good Behavior Game (GBG) is a group contingency procedure that is effective in reducing disruptive behavior and increasing on-task behavior in a variety of settings. This procedure has the support of a large literature base, but has not been evaluated with juvenile offenders who engage in severe problem behavior. Further, there are few GBG studies that directly address methods for training teachers to implement the procedure. In the current study, a group training procedure was used to quickly train 4 teachers to implement the GBG in classrooms in a secure residential facility for juvenile offenders. Results indicated that the teachers were able to produce substantial reductions in disruptive classroom behavior following a brief training. Teacher delivery of praise also increased substantially as a result of the intervention. Social validity data indicated that both teachers and students found the game to be effective. Implications, directions for future research, and special considerations for working with this population are discussed.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh