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.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Symposium #42
The Business, Science, and Practice of Effective Program Implementation: Behavior Analysis in Education
Saturday, May 26, 2012
2:00 PM–3:20 PM
611 (Convention Center)
Area: EDC/CSE; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: David Reitman (Nova Southeastern University)
Discussant: Pamela G. Osnes (Headsprout, Inc.)

Behavior analysis has had many successes in education and some notable difficulties sustaining lasting impact on educational practice. One the foremost challenges to broader success has been poor fidelity or low levels of treatment integrity. Our first presentation describes challenges associated with the adoption of a behavioral consultation model and its positive impact (reduction of costs and improved academic instruction), while the second describes some challenges and successes associated with the adoption of computerized reading assistance (i.e., Headsprout) in urban afterschool programs. The unifying theme in this presentation concerns the importance of maximizing implementation fidelity and the many challenges associated with achieving levels of fidelity sufficient to meet program benchmarks. The third presentation suggests that the adoption of Industrial Organization Standardization (ISO)-- a science-based technology of implementation-- could result in significant improvements in education outcomes but has yet to be widely adopted. The presentation concludes with an examination of the contingencies that might support adoption of ISO as well as those that might oppose it.

Keyword(s): Education, Implementation fidelity
Can We (BCBA's) Have Your (Public School Leaders) Attention Please!
JOEL VIDOVIC (San Ramon Valley Unified School District), Eric Oden Burkholder (Dublin Unified School District), Julia H. Fiebig (San Ramon Valley Unified School District), Rebecca A. Watson (San Ramon Valley Unified School District), Heather E. Finn (Cabrillo Unified School District)
Abstract: Recent cuts in the California state budget have begun to have a significant impact on the budgets of many school districts in the San Francisco Bay Area. Many districts are now finding themselves in a position to re-examine their programs and reduce costs while attempting to maintain a high quality of service delivery. As the saying goes, 'When the going gets tough, the tough get going'. In the midst of budget cuts, some districts in the Bay Area are creating positions to be specifically filled by Behavior Analysts. The question arises; in these tough times can we help save our educational system and the rising costs of special education services with behavior analysis? This presentation will examine this trend with respect to a shift in models of consultation accompanying the creation of these positions, the financial implications, and the potential impact the creation of these positions may have on the overall quality of the behavioral services being delivered as evidenced by an examination of critical staff behaviors. Data from three different school districts will be presented.
Implementation Fidelity and the Impact of the Headsprout Early Reading Curriculum on Oral Reading Fluency Outcomes in an After School Setting
DAVID REITMAN (Nova Southeastern University), Samira Kaskel (Nova Southeastern University)
Abstract: Headsprout Early Reading is a research-based supplemental literacy program that is rooted in phonics and designed for the non-reader or beginning reader. Three after-school sites in South Florida were given free access to Headsprout Early Reading. Ongoing support and fidelity checks varied across the three sites. Sites 1, 2 and 3 received “minimal”, “moderate” and “continuous” program support, respectively. A total of 36 children across 3 sites participated, with just 6 completing the program. The minimal support program achieved the poorest outcomes with none of the 9 children participating having completed the program and an average of only 7 episodes completed. The moderate and continuous support programs were more successful in accomplishing program objectives with an average of 55 of the 80 episodes completed (moderate) and 61 completed among the continuous group (the average was 31 for all 7 children at the site). Gains in oral reading fluency were noted, but due to the participants’ ongoing exposure to instruction during the school day, it was not possible to isolate the unique contribution of Headsprout participation to these performances. Nevertheless, clear differences in benefit appeared to be associated with higher levels of intervention fidelity. Efforts to improve fidelity will be discussed.
A Self-Sustaining Implementation Engine: What ISO Industrial Standards Can Teach Education
JENNIFER D. CLAYTON (Dymo Mimio Headsprout)
Abstract: The 2011 Global Implementation Conference (GIC) brought together over 750 scientists, policy makers, practitioners, and community and organizational leaders from around the world for an unprecedented focus on how evidence-based practices can be implemented effectively to improve outcomes for people and organizations ( Many education and social services organizations, however, are slow to adopt the science-based technology of implementation to improve their services and student/client outcomes. The business sector, on the other hand, spends lavishly on money, time, and effort to adopt a technology of implementation. The Industrial Organization for Standardization (ISO) publishes over 18,500 standards for anything from the size of nuts and bolts, to quality management, and social and environmental responsibility ( There is no governing authority that enforces adoption or implementation of the standards, yet still, the ISO standards have become the standard in most business and government industries. So what are we missing in education? This presentation provides an analysis of the contingencies that make ISO a self-sustaining implementation engine, and identifies parallel contingencies that are present, or absent, in the education sector.



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