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 #311
Achieving Fluency With Academic Behaviors: Procedures and Results From Three Intervention Studies on Reading and Writing
Sunday, May 28, 2017
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Convention Center 403/404
Area: EDC/PRA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Shawn M. Datchuk (University of Iowa)

Behavioral fluency is a critical learning outcome. Behavioral fluency refers to the frequent selection of a behavior from the environment with a strong history of reinforcement. It is achieved when a response rate reaches an identified degree of accuracy and speed. The achievement and measurement of fluency is of great importance to many academic behaviors, especially in the content areas of reading and writing. During the symposium, presenters will detail the procedures and results from three intervention studies focused on fluency. The first study used a changing criterion design to study effects of fluency with oral retells, a critical behavior for reading, on elementary students with disabilities. The second study used a multiple-baseline across participants design to study the sentence and paragraph writing fluency of four adolescents with writing difficulties. The third study investigated the effects of performance feedback on the writing fluency of elementary students and used a group, randomized controlled trial design. In addition to the results and procedures, the theoretical implications of fluency and the role of fluency to other outcomes, such as generalization and maintenance, will be addressed.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): behavioral fluency, oral retells, reading, writing
The Effects of the Talk Aloud Problem Solving Instructional Package on Statement and Problem Solving Fluency
(Applied Research)
GINNY DEMBEK (Brooklyn College - State University of New York)
Abstract: Student success requires the ability to access content knowledge. With a diverse student population, the language of problem solving and classroom discussion is vital. The ability to fluently communicate allows students to become aware of their own thinking process as well as obtain feedback from others. This study investigated fluency of oral talk aloud statements during a problem solving task for fourth grade students. Four students with disabilities, specifically Speech and Language Impairments, received instruction and timed practice with feedback within a changing criterion design. The Talk Aloud Problem Solving instructional package included explicit scripted lessons (i.e., model, guided practice, and checks for understanding) as well as frequency building with timed practice and feedback. The dependent variable was a problem solving task with a different problem every session. During measurement of the dependent variable, students were required to talk aloud for two minutes while placing sentences in a logical order. Results suggest a functional relation between the intervention and talk aloud statements. All students maintained their highest average performance following the intervention, with three of the four reaching their highest average performance in maintenance. Generalization of skills will be discussed.
The Effects of Explicit Instruction and Timed Practice on Sentence and Paragraph Writing Fluency of Adolescents
(Applied Research)
SHAWN M. DATCHUK (University of Iowa), Kristin Monroe-Pei (University of Iowa)
Abstract: Written expression depends upon fluency with many writing skills, including sentence and paragraph writing. Fluency with these skills aids application and generalization of writing to different contexts. This study investigated fluency of sentence and paragraph writing of four adolescents with disabilities and writing difficulties. Instruction and timed practice were delivered within a multiple-baseline across participants single-case design. Instruction included an explicit model-lead-test instructional format. The instructor modeled writing simple sentences and paragraphs, led students through guided practice, and tested for independence. Timed practice included writing to picture-word prompts within a specified time allotment of either 1 to 3 minutes. Following each timing, students received feedback, error correction, and praise. Approximately 3 days of instruction was followed by 15 days of timed practice. At the end of each intervention session, students were administered a sentence and/or paragraph probe. Results suggest a functional relation between intervention and sentence writing but effects on paragraph probes were mixed.
The Effects of Performance Feedback on Elementary-Aged Students’ Writing Fluency
(Applied Research)
BRIDGET HIER (University at Buffalo - State University of New York)
Abstract: Fluent writing of connected text is a skill that should develop in the elementary grades (Berninger et al., 2006); yet, nearly three-quarters of the nation’s fourth-grade students struggle to write with grade-level proficiency (Persky, Daane, & Jinn, 2003). This study used a randomized controlled trial to investigate the extent to which a group-administered performance feedback intervention improved elementary-aged students’ writing fluency. Approximately 120 third-grade students received 6 weekly writing practice sessions. In the intervention condition, students’ writing practice was supplemented with simple feedback about their writing production in the form a box containing the number of words written in their previous writing probe and an upward- or downward-facing arrow to denote improvement or decline, respectively. Students’ writing fluency progress was monitored across 7 weeks using the metric of correct word sequences on curriculum-based measurement probes in written expression. Results suggest that the performance feedback intervention improved students’ writing fluency growth on curriculum-based measures, but generalization and maintenance may need to be explicitly programmed into the intervention procedures.



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