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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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Symposium #446
CE Offered: BACB
Improving Student and Client Outcomes: The Role of Feedback in Staff Training
Monday, May 25, 2020
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Marriott Marquis, Level M4, Independence E
Area: EDC; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Nicole M. DeRosa (SUNY Upstate Medical University)
Discussant: David A. Wilder (Florida Institute of Technology)
CE Instructor: David A. Wilder, Psy.D.

Development of effective strategies for modifying staff behavior can have a positive impact on the learning and behavioral outcomes for students and clients in a variety of settings. This symposium will describe four studies focused on the utilization of varying forms of feedback to improve staff training outcomes. In the first study, Austin and colleagues evaluate the use of graphic feedback and goal-setting on the number of learning opportunities staff present to classroom students during instructional time. The second presentation will include a study by Shuler and colleagues that focuses on the generalization of classroom-management strategies to therapeutic-riding lessons. More specifically, the study evaluates the effectiveness of written and graphical feedback, provided to instructors, on increases in labeled praise and rider opportunities to respond. In the third study, Kamana and colleagues evaluate the utility of behavioral skills training and on-the-job feedback for increasing the healthy behavioral practices of staff in a program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In the final study, Molony and Ringdahl evaluate the effects of in-service training and frequency of performance feedback on the maintenance of direct-care staffs’ appropriate interactions with clients. Each presentation will highlight unique considerations for staff training strategies. Finally, Dr. Dave Wilder will discuss the collective findings and areas for future research.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Performance Feedback, Staff Training, Training Maintenance
Target Audience:

Advanced graduate students, BCaBA, BCBA, BCBA-D, Educators, Administrators

Using Graphic Feedback and Goal-Setting to Increase Learning Opportunities in the Classroom
AMANDA AUSTIN (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center; Rutgers Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology), Debra Paone (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center), Hyein Lee (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center; Rutgers Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology), Kate E. Fiske Massey (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers University)
Abstract: Instructional time in the classroom is not always utilized effectively, leading to less learning opportunities and more time spent on non-meaningful activities. A non-concurrent multiple baseline design across classrooms was used to evaluate the extent to which graphic feedback and goal-setting resulted in an increase in learning opportunities presented by staff during instructional time. All students and staff in three classrooms in a center-based ABA program participated in the study. Data were recorded on staff behavior and student behavior. After baseline data were collected, staff were informed that the observers were recording data on how time is allocated during work sessions. After stable baselines were obtained, graphs that displayed the amount of time students were spending on work, functional routines, leisure, and waiting were reviewed with classroom staff. Staff were asked to set a goal, to be met within one month, to increase the delivery of learning opportunities presented during instructional time. Graphic feedback was shared with the teachers on a weekly basis. Initial results demonstrated an increase in learning opportunities following feedback sessions across two classrooms. This study provides evidence that graphic feedback and goal-setting may help maximize staff’s use of instructional time in the classroom.
Evaluating Feedback to Increase Opportunities to Respond During Therapeutic Riding
NATALIE RUTH SHULER (West Virginia University), Claire C. St. Peter (West Virginia University), Sydney Hull (West Virginia University ), Bethany Smiley (On Eagles' Wings), Carol Petitto (On Eagles' Wings)
Abstract: Therapeutic-riding instructors may benefit from using classroom-management strategies, similar to school-based classrooms. Strategies that may be particularly useful include providing opportunities to respond (OTRs) and labeled praise. In school-based settings, frequent use of these strategies is associated with better student outcomes and use of these strategies may co-vary. It seems likely that use of these strategies may promote rider success, as well. Written and graphical feedback have been used to promote use of classroom-management strategies by traditional classroom instructors. These feedback types may be particularly useful for therapeutic-riding instructors, as time between lessons to receive verbal feedback is often limited. We evaluated a combination of written and graphical feedback to increase use of OTRs for three therapeutic-riding instructors. Written and graphical feedback were effective at increasing OTRs for two participants. Additionally, we monitored whether the frequency of praise statements provided by the instructor increased following feedback on OTRs. If the frequency of praise did not improve, we provided written and graphical feedback on labeled praise statements.

Increasing Staff Healthy Practices in Programs for Adults With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: Individual Staff Performance

BERTILDE U KAMANA (The May Institute), Claudia L. Dozier (University of Kansas), Nicole Kanaman (University of Kansas), Stephanie M. Glaze (University of Kansas), Ali Markowitz Vickstrom (University of Kansas), Kelley Harrison (University of Kansas), ALEC BERNSTEIN (UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS), Marcella Hangen (University of Kansas)

Decades of research on training staff to provide active treatment (e.g., Parsons, Rollyson, & Reid, 2004) has suggested (a) its importance for decreasing problem behavior and increasing appropriate behavior and (b) the efficacy of behavioral skills training (BST; Parsons, Rollyson, & Reid, 2012) and on-the-job feedback (Van OOrsouw, Embregts, Bosman, & Jahoda, 2009) for increasing important staff behaviors in programs for adults with IDD. Recently, discussion papers (e.g., Ala’i-Rosales et al., 2018) and a few research studies (e.g., St. Peter & Marsteller, 2017) have suggested the potential utility of using FBA and function-based interventions to derive preventive approaches for problem behavior. The purpose of the current study was to create a prevention approach based on common functions of problem behavior and effective function-based interventions to create four healthy behavioral practices. We used BST and on-the job feedback to increase implementation of these practices across over 150 staff. The current paper will present pre-post training analyses of individual staff performance as well as individual staff performance in observations following initial training versus subsequent observations in which on-the-job feedback was provided. Outcomes suggested increases in all practices for most staff but little consistent difference between BST alone and on-the-job feedback.

An Evaluation of Feedback Frequencies During Maintenance
MARGARET MOLONY (Advantage Behavioral Health Systems), Joel Eric Ringdahl (University of Georgia)
Abstract: Researchers have demonstrated that several approaches, including feedback, self-generated feedback, and reinforcement-based programs, are effective approaches to change residential and day program direct-care staff (DCS) behavior. However, there is minimal information pertaining to the maintenance of these approaches. In the current study, the researcher evaluated the maintenance of an in-service training combined with a performance feedback (vocal and written) intervention related to increasing appropriate staff-client interactions. Researchers trained DCS in two targeted activities; lunchtime and PM small group time. The researcher then reduced the frequency of feedback to either following every third or sixth observation. An alternating treatments design was used to evaluate the effects of each feedback frequency of the maintenance of staffs’ appropriate interactions with clients across time periods. Results from this experiment did demonstrate that session performance feedback improved behavior. However, those improvements began to diminish with the thinning of feedback and there was no systematic difference in performance across feedback frequencies.



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