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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #432
CE Offered: BACB
Teaching Future Behavior Analysts: Analyzing and Improving Instructional Practices in Graduate Education
Monday, May 26, 2014
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
W193a (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: TBA/EDC; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Ginette Wilson-Bishop (Bay Path College)
Discussant: Susan Ainsleigh (Bay Path College)
CE Instructor: Ginette Wilson-Bishop, Ph.D.

With the increased demand for practitioners in applied behavior analysis and the creation of formal credentialing standards in the field of ABA has come an increase in the number of graduate level instructional programs designed to educate and professionally prepare future behavior analysts for research and practice. Along with standards of practice, The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) has proposed standards for educational programs to maintain. Guideline 5.0 of the Guidelines for Responsible Conduct (BACB) state that "behavior analysts who are responsible for education and training programs and supervisory activities seek to ensure that the programs and supervisory activities: are competently designed, provide the proper experiences, and meet the requirements for licensure and certification". This responsibility demands constant analysis and evaluation of the goals, instructional methodologies, and outcomes of graduate level instruction. Coursework and supervision experiences must provide clear objectives and measure their success at the achievement of planned objectives. This symposium examines the effectiveness of various components of graduate level instruction, beginning with program models and extending to instructional methodologies and supervision practices. Comparison of performance in on-line, hybrid, and on-site class experiences and the results of the evaluation of instructional methodologies that seek to promote mastery and generalization of foundational knowledge are examined.

Keyword(s): foundational knowledge, higher education, on-line instruction, supervision

Mastery of Foundational Knowledge in On-Site Versus On-Line Educational Models

Susan Ainsleigh (Bay Path College), MAUREEN MICHAUD (North Shore Educational Consortium)

Distance education has become a common component of higher education and is considered by many as an important way to learn. Recent reports have revealed that over 20% of college students participate in at least one on-line or distance learning experience (Simonson, 2012). Although educators and professionals continue to question the effectiveness of distance learning experiences as compared to more traditional classroom-based learning experiences, the number of university settings including distance learning as an option for students in a variety of professional fields continues to increase. Programs in applied behavior analysis and behavioral sciences are not excepted from this trend. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) has approved over forty course sequences world wide that include a distance learning component. With the responsibility of evaluating and continually improving educational opportunities for future behavior analysts comes the responsibility of analyzing the effectiveness of educational opportunities in ABA that include distance learning components. This presentation examines the performance of students in an introductory level ABA course across 3 different instructional models: on-site instruction, hybrid or blended instruction, and on-line instruction. Test scores, performance on fluency building activities, and student satisfaction ratings are examined across different models teaching a common syllabus.


Evaluation of Active Student Responding in Graduate Level ABA Courses: A Comparison of Instructional Methodologies


Previous research has confirmed that student outcomes and opportunities for active engagement are functionally related. The present study compared the effects of guided notes (GN), choral responding (CR), and response cards (RC) on pre-to-post test performance across three graduate level behavior analysis courses. An acceptability measure was introduced to assess both social validity and preference for each of the three methods. Results suggest that implementation of guided notes, choral responding, and response cards resulted in statistically significant pre-to post-differences on quiz performance in two out of three experiments. The results of statistical analyses confirm that given an equal number of opportunities to respond across all three conditions, choral responding and response cards may offer a slight advantage over the use of guided notes. All three teaching procedures were perceived to be socially valid by students. Future research may wish to examine whether variability in prior coursework, class size, and course format contribute to outcomes. Additionally, the role of preference for one or more teaching method did not impact results in the present study and may be worth exploring. Finally, the need to adapt teaching methods for graduate students with documented disabilities (e.g., processing delays, memory loss, etc.) should be explored so that all students may equally benefit from the use of these strategies.


Supervision, Professional Practice, and Foundational Knowledge: A Comparison of Supervisory Strategies to Strengthen Application for Future Behavior Analysts

BETHANY L. CONDO (Little Leaves Behavioral Services), Susan Ainsleigh (Bay Path College)

Supervision is a required component of the certification process for future behavior analysts, and a component of many graduate education programs in the field of applied behavior analysis. Recent modifications by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) related to the supervisory process, including a redefinition of required supervision activities, the publication of training requirements for supervisors, and an overall emphasis on the focus and quality of the supervision experience has led to an increase in interest in planning and monitoring an effective supervisory structure. Despite these changes, there is little information available to graduate institutions related to effective supervisor practices and how to plan or structure supervisory experiences. Wide variations exist in how supervision experiences are structured; such gaps in knowledge and variation in practice increases the likelihood that ineffective practices are promoted and continued. A field that demands improved supervision requires an increase in available resources related to the provision of effective supervisory practices. This presentation examines several supervision activities implemented across graduate students and reports their effectiveness in conducting behavior change procedures, analytic activities, professional writing, and the demonstration of foundational knowledge related to applied practice.


A Teaching Tool for Connecting Foundational Knowledge to Client-Centered Responsibilities: Implementation and Generalization Across Graduate Courses

MELISSA HUNSINGER (Creative Interventions, LLC), Ginette Wilson-Bishop (Bay Path College)

It is essential for scholars in Applied Behavior Analysis to both apply and demonstrate mastery of foundational knowledge content per the 4th edition task list. In addition to experiencing proposed interventions from the perspective of the teacher, learner, and aspiring behavior analyst, it is essential that graduate students demonstrate an ability to relate this experience to the philosophical and practical underpinnings of the science of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). In the context of graduate instruction in ABA, a foundational knowledge worksheet was developed and implemented in an effort to both encourage students to stretch their thinking and make connections between concepts they may not have known could be related. In the context of assigned groups, students were required to both complete and submit one worksheet per class to demonstrate mastery of foundational knowledge content. Generalization across content courses and the independent fieldwork experience were also assessed. The proposed assessment required students to elaborate on an intervention's connection to the philosophical assumptions of the science of behavior analysis and to illustrate how the procedures made use of the basic principles of behavior. In addition to participation in classroom lectures and associated activities, completion of the foundational knowledge worksheet supplemented existing repertoires by encouraging students to articulate connections across content areas, learners, and teaching environments. The proposed teaching tool offers graduate instructors a modality by which generalization of foundational knowledge may be assessed in addition to proposing an objective measure of generalization across courses.




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