Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Degree

Summer 2013

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Psychological and Quantitative Foundations

First Advisor

David P. Wacker

Second Advisor

John A. Northup

Abstract

At least three general subgroups of students display problems with their overall academic achievement: students with motivational deficits, students with academic performance deficits, and students with a combination of both types of deficits. The prevalence of students with both behavioral and learning problems has been reported to be between 10% and 25% and as high as 50%. The current study evaluated the effects of positive reinforcement and instructional strategies on the co-occurrence of motivational and academic deficits within three experiments. Experiments 1 and 2 were conducted with four school-aged children in a behavioral outpatient clinic. Experiment 3 was conducted with three school-aged children during extended behavioral evaluations. Experiment 1 evaluated the effects of positive reinforcement and an instructional strategy on the children's preference for academic work tasks and their academic performance. Experiment 2 evaluated the effects of instructional strategies on the children's problem behavior and academic performance. Experiment 3 evaluated the effects of positive reinforcement and instructional strategies on the children's preference for academic work tasks, academic performance, and problem behavior. The results of this study showed that (a) preference for an academic task changed with the addition of positive reinforcement (Experiment 3) or an instructional strategy (Experiment 1), (b) problem behavior decreased with the addition of an instructional strategy (Experiments 2 and 3), and (c) academic performance increased with the addition of an instructional strategy (all experiments). These results suggested that positive reinforcers and/or instructional strategies function as motivating operations by abolishing the value of negative reinforcement, thereby resulting in improved academic performance and decreased occurrences of problem behavior.

Keywords

abolishing operations, applied behavior analysis, experimental analysis, instructional strategies, motivating operations

Pages

xvii, 202 pages

Bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 179-192).

Copyright

Copyright 2013 Kelly Michele Schieltz

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