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 #199
CE Offered: BACB
Contingency Analysis and Fluency Engineering in Higher Education
Sunday, May 28, 2017
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Convention Center 304
Area: TBA/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Nolan Williams (University of North Texas )
CE Instructor: John W. Eshleman, Ed.D.
Abstract: Teaching in higher education is becoming increasingly difficult as faculty members are faced with fewer resources, larger class sizes, and higher teaching loads. Undergraduate students are less prepared academically and seemingly insensitive to points and/or grades as reinforcers. This symposium includes three presentations in which the authors explored different contingency arrangements to assist undergraduate students to achieve fluent repertoires regarding the course material. In the first presentation, 10 years of research and development on the use of SAFMEDS in college courses is reviewed. In the second presentation, the authors describe a specific application of SAFMEDS in the classroom; namely, how different presentation formats for SAFMEDS affected undergraduate students’ technical vocabulary repertoires. In the final presentation, the authors describe a unique application of Goldiamond’s exploratory logs to assist students in reporting behavioral explanations for why a particular behavior occurred in an undergraduate introduction to behavior analysis course.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): College Teaching, Fluency, Precision Teaching, SAFMEDS
SAFMEDS and Fluency Building: A Decade of Research and Development
JOHN W. ESHLEMAN (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Abstract: Over the past decade several courses taught at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology have included SAFMEDS (fluency cards) and various other frequency-based instructional design innovations. Dr. Ogden R. Lindsley developed SAFMEDS in the 1970s, and intended them as an efficient and effective tactic for students to learn course content to fluency. Lindsley developed some guidelines regarding SAFMEDS, and in a series of ABAI workshops in the 1990s, Dr. Steve Graf extended these guidelines. Taking a “Research and Development” approach, the present paper describes the uses of SAFMEDS in graduate-level courses, and covers how SAFMEDS have been designed and course contingencies arranged. Included is one major change where standards for obtaining an “A” grade were lowered from a 40 per minute to a 35 per minute criterion aim, but where extra credit was added for attaining fluency aims above 40 per minute: The effect of this change saw an increase in achieved frequencies ranging from 40 to 72 correct responses per minute. Individual and group data spanning the decade of SAFMEDS implementation are presented on Daily per Minute Standard Celeration Charts. This paper also covers instructional design, stimulus control and improved performance standards considerations.
The Comparative Effects of Cumulative and Unitary SAFMEDS in an Introductory Undergraduate Behavior Analysis Course
OWEN JAMES ADAMS (University of North Texas), Tomas Urbina (University of North Texas), Rob J Goodhue (University of North Texas), Traci M. Cihon (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Research in precision teaching (PT) and verbal behavior has ramifications for undergraduate instruction, but effects of PT for undergraduate coursework are not yet fully understood. The authors examined the differences between learning outcomes for SAFMEDS cards between cumulative decks where all terms were immediately practiced (Study 1) and unitary decks where terms were split into units based on the schedule of corresponding course material (Study 2). Results showed that the rate of correct terms recited per minute increased over the course of both semesters while the rate of incorrect terms decreased and the rate of skips remained variable. In Study 2, these changes in rate occurred more quickly throughout the semester and more students reached the frequency aim of 36 corrects per minute. Among other factors examined were the use of shorter timing intervals, the use of midterm checkouts, and the shortening of terms to fit standard frequency aims for syllables per minute. The results may have implications for the use of PT, especially SAFMEDS, in college classrooms and beyond.
The Effect of Exploratory Logs and Instructor Feedback on Student Identification of Functional Relations
BRENNAN PATRICK ARMSHAW (University of North Texas), Nolan Williams (University of North Texas ), Carlos Lopez (University of North Texas), Traci M. Cihon (University of North Texas)
Abstract: One challenge faced by undergraduate Introduction to Behavior Analysis course instructors is helping students tact the environmental variables that control behavior. Goldiamond frequently employed exploratory and targeted logs to help his clients to understand the environmental controlling variables that supported their behavior. We will describe a preliminary analysis of the use of exploratory logs in an undergraduate introduction to behavior analysis course. Goldiamond’s exploratory logs were adapted for use in our courses. Three “levels” of logs were created in which students were asked to record an increasing number of components of the three-term contingency and answer “why the behavior occurred” for each behavior reported. Each level of the students’ exploratory logs was scored according to what type of explanation was provided (broadly behavioral [stated behavior environment relations] or mentalisitic and specifically type of logical fallacy, appeal to inner agency, etc.). Data are discussed in terms of how the students’ explanations of behavior shifted based on the increasing complexity of the exploratory logs and developmental progression through the course and how the effectiveness of the instructors’ feedback could be improved.



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