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.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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Symposium #54
CE Offered: BACB
Advancements in Data Collection, Measurement, and Related Training Practices
Saturday, May 25, 2024
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Marriott Downtown, Level 5, Grand Ballroom Salon G
Area: EDC/TBA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Liam McCabe (Rutgers University-Center for Autism Research, Education, and Services)
Discussant: Dorothea C. Lerman (University of Houston-Clear Lake)
CE Instructor: Dorothea C. Lerman, Ph.D.

As the behavior analyst relies on accurate and reliable data from sessions conducted with high procedural fidelity, effective training techniques on both data collection and treatment integrity carry high importance across staff and caregivers alike. The purpose of this symposium is to present several refinements to practices such as defining and measuring responses, training treatment procedures, and the durability of these trainings in the face of treatment challenges. Yassa and colleagues examined the relation between skill mastery and durability of these skills under specific challenges to treatment in registered behavior technicians. Najafichaghabouri and Joslyn examined the correspondence between on-task behavior and its effect on the completion of work tasks in middle school students. Sigwanz and colleagues compared undergraduate students’ live collection of discontinuous data to continuous data on sociability assessments. Mery and colleagues surveyed board-certified behavior analysts on questions related to the validity of caregiver-collected data and these data collection practices. The results and further implications of these studies will be discussed.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): education, measurement, training
Target Audience:

Graduate students (masters, doctoral), masters-level licensed clinicians, board certified behavior analysts

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to: 1) Discuss maintenance of trained skills under challenges to treatment. 2) Identify new methods of data collection for more accurate and better representative data. 3) Use refined methods to train treatment procedures and data collection to staff and caregivers alike.
Does Skill Mastery Predict Durability? Evaluating Trainee Implementation of Functional Communication Training
RANA YASSA (Children's Specialized Hospital-Rutgers University Center for Autism Research, Education, and Services), Daniel R. Mitteer (Rutgers University (RUCARES)), Brian D. Greer (Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School), Shannon Angley (Children’s Specialized Hospital Center for Autism Research, Education, and Services), Liam McCabe (Rutgers University-Center for Autism Research, Education, and Services), Omar Elwasli (Eastern Michigan University)
Abstract: Clinics often operate on the assumption that trainees can extend their training experiences to novel clients and situations. Yet, few studies have examined the extent to which trainee skills remain durable following mastery, particularly when implementing behavior-reduction programs. In the current study, we recruited four trainees who were enrolled in a master’s program in applied behavior analysis or psychology to participate. These trainees learned to implement functional communication training (FCT) with multiple schedules at mastery levels when working with a confederate. Then, we assessed the durability of trainee skills during training challenges with (a) procedural changes to the original protocol, (b) a novel confederate with different discriminative stimuli and reinforcers, and (c) relapsed confederate problem behavior. Training effects degraded at least once for all participants and in 67% of training challenges, producing potentially critical treatment errors. Promisingly, however, brief post-session feedback resolved these issues in most cases. We discuss these findings in relation to their clinical implications and directions for future research.
Toward an Understanding of Caregiver Collected Data
JACQUELINE MERY (Kennedy Krieger Institute ), Jessica L Becraft (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Kissel Joseph Goldman (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Behavior analysts rely on data to assess their clients’ progress and inform their clinical decisions. As such, the accuracy and reliability (i.e., integrity) of data obtained are vital to its utility. Caregivers may be asked to collect data to better monitor the frequency of the behavior and understand environmental causes. Further, a clinician may ask caregivers to continue collecting data to ensure that treatment has continued to be effective outside of the clinical setting. Unfortunately, behavior analysts do not always trust caregiver-reported data. The purpose of the current study was to determine variables that impact the integrity of caregiver collected data. An online survey was completed by Board-Certified Behavior Analysts who answered questions related to caregiver data collection practices and their perceptions of those data. Specifically, participants answered questions about their demographics (e.g., clinician education, populations clinician serves), caregiver data collection training, tactics used to address data collection issues, and concerns related to caregiver collected data. Outcomes and implications will be discussed.
Comparison of Product and Observational Measures of Academic Engagement in Middle School Classrooms
MILAD NAJAFICHAGHABOURI (Utah State University ), Ray Joslyn (West Virginia University)
Abstract: Educational researchers frequently target and measure student on-task behavior in academic settings. On-task behavior is typically defined based on the topography of the behavior (i.e., what it looks like to be on task). However, few studies have assessed if students being on task corresponds with students completing more work or responding more accurately. An alternating treatment design was used to evaluate and compare the effects of two interdependent group contingencies on work completion, work accuracy, and on-task behavior of two middle school classrooms. On days with an on-task contingency, students were given a reward if the class met predetermined criteria for being on task. On work completion days students were given a reward if the class met a predetermined criteria for completing class assignments. Both group contingencies increased mean percentages of student on-task behavior and work completion relative to baseline. Spearman correlation showed statistically significant, weak to moderate correlation between student on-task behavior and work completion. Implications and future directions will be discussed.
Evaluating the Feasibility of Methods of Live Recording for Assessments of Sociability
GRACE SIGWANZ (University of Miami), Janelle Kirstie Bacotti (University of Miami), Samuel L Morris (Louisiana State University)
Abstract: Sociability assessments have elucidated the function of social interaction as reinforcing, neutral, or aversive among children with autism. Data collection has typically involved reviewing video-recorded sessions and recording duration of time allocation on the social or alone side (Call et at., 2013; Morris & Vollmer, 2021). However, scoring videos following assessment sessions may be infeasible in clinical practice because of time and personnel constraints. The purpose of the current study was to compare the accuracy of discontinuous measurement systems in approximating the duration on the social side and to evaluate the feasibility of implementing assessments when collecting no, discontinuous, or continuous data. First, we reanalyzed the data of eight participants using partial interval recording, whole interval recording, and momentary time sampling (MTS). We found that MTS produced the closest approximation to duration data. Second, we taught undergraduate students how to collect data for and conduct sociability assessments and evaluated their procedural integrity and interobserver agreement when collecting no, MTS, and duration data. Overall, sessions in which the participants collected MTS data yielded relatively higher PI and IOA scores when compared to sessions for which they collected duration data. Implications of these findings for future research and clinical practice are discussed.



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