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.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #193
CE Offered: BACB
Predictive Validity of Brief Functional Assessment Methods
Sunday, May 28, 2017
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Convention Center 403/404
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Robin Codding (University of Minnesota)
CE Instructor: Robin Codding, Ph.D.
Abstract: Data-based decision making is imperative for ensuring effective educational outcomes for children in schools. Time presents an inevitable constraint within schools; therefore, identifying assessment options that are brief in nature are important for facilitating the use of data to inform service delivery. This symposium will describe three studies that address school-related challenges by using brief functional assessment methods. The first study described how a paired-stimulus assessment was used to evaluate music preferences in order to increase the math fluency of high school students. The second study examined the use of a brief experimental analysis to predict the most effective skill and performance based strategies to address students’ computation difficulties. Each of these choices and the combination was examined in an extended analysis using an alternating treatments design. The third study used a contingency space analysis to evaluate problems occurring during transition time and compared the results to outcomes from a functional analysis. Across studies the brief functional assessments predicted outcomes of functional analyses, offering practical options for use in schools.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): brief-experimental analysis, contingency-space analysis, functional analysis, paired-stimulus assessment

Taylor Swift or Billy Ray Cyrus? A Paired-Assessment Method With Music

ALICIA KRUGER (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), Edward J. Daly (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), Mackenzie Sommerhalder (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), Nicole C Bricko (university of nebraska)

Stimulus preference assessments have become the standard for identifying potentially reinforcing consequences. One type of pleasurable stimulus that is universal but scarcely studied is music. Given its wide popularity, its accessibility, and ease of use, music may be a valuable reinforcer for increasing responding with instructional tasks. The current study investigated a preference-assessment method with two high school students using a paired-stimulus assessment method to examine its predictive validity with math computation measured as correct digits per session. Equal difficulty level math worksheets were concurrently available for high-preference and low-preference songs. Alternative activities (e.g., crossword puzzles, sudokus) were also concurrently available. The results clearly indicated that responding was consistently higher with worksheets that were associated with high-preference songs as consequences than with low-preference songs for both participants. For one participant, the alternative activities had to be removed to find the effect. For the other participant, a phase in which only low-preference songs were available was administered, which led to very variable results. The implications will be discussed in terms of how music preference assessments might be used to investigate reinforcement effects for other areas of responding and how this method might be useful in investigating motivating operations in educational settings.

Combining Skill and Performance Interventions to Address Mathematics Difficulties: The Utility of Brief Experimental Analysis
WHITNEY KLEINERT (University of Massachusetts Boston), Robin Codding (University of Minnesota)
Abstract: Research suggests that skill- and performance-based deficits are interrelated, and it is estimated that the co-occurrence of these deficits could be as high as over 50% in students who are academically underachieving (Hinshaw, 1992). Specifically, these deficits are associated with poor mathematics outcomes. Brief Experimental Analysis (BEA) is an evidence-based procedure for quickly identifying effective skill and performance strategies. The presented study used an adapted alternating treatments design to examine the utility of the BEA procedure in the evaluation of combining skill and performance components in a mathematics treatment package. The BEA procedure accurately identified an effective skill or performance strategy for four out of five participants. In only one case was the combination of skill and performance components identified as the relative most effective intervention. This presentation explores the BEA procedure as a tool for quickly and accurately identifying effective skill and performance strategies with an emphasis on mathematics.
Descriptive Assessment of Transition-Related Problem Behavior
WILLIAM SULLIVAN (Syracuse University), Brian K. Martens (Syracuse University), Nicole M. DeRosa (SUNY Upstate Medical University), Henry S. Roane (Upstate Medical University)
Abstract: Transition-related problem behavior can lead to learning difficulties by decreasing instructional time (Sterling-Turner & Jordan, 2007), and therefore may require school personnel to conduct functional behavior assessments. However, little research exists on procedures for assessing the function of transition-related problem behavior. Some researchers have used functional analysis methodology to evaluate the components of a transition (i.e., pre-condition, post-condition, and movement) that occasion problem behavior (e.g., McCord et al., 2001; Waters et al., 2009). These studies provide a method for demonstrating functional relations, but may not account for unique sources of reinforcement (e.g., attention) and other relevant variables (e.g., reinforcement schedules) associated with some activity transitions. The current study attempted to validate a descriptive assessment procedure for analyzing transition-related problem behavior by comparing results to the outcomes of a functional analysis in three boys with developmental disabilities. Additionally, function-matched treatments were developed and evaluated based on the results of the assessment procedures. Results indicated that the modified descriptive assessment procedure aligned with functional analysis outcomes and informed effective function-matched treatments. The benefits of assessing transition-related problem behavior both descriptively and experimentally will be discussed.



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