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; Online; 2020

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #326
CE Offered: BACB
Advancements in Instructional Strategies for Undergraduate and Graduate Students in Behavior Analysis
Monday, May 25, 2020
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Area: TBA/EDC; Domain: Translational
Chair: Rachel Scalzo (University of South Florida)
Discussant: Spencer Gauert (University of South Florida)
CE Instructor: Spencer Gauert, Ph.D.

Maximizing student learning outcomes is a goal at every level of instruction. For undergraduate and graduate students in behavior analysis, the stakes may be even higher given the clinical implications and leadership roles BCaBAs and BCBAs take on immediately following graduation and certification. Therefore, it is critical to identify evidence-based approaches to engage students with course content, not only to pass the certification exam, but also to enhance client outcomes. The four studies in this symposium describe ways in which to do just that. The first study evaluated the effects of active student responding and competition among on-campus undergraduate students. The remaining three studies were conducted with graduate students in a fully online asynchronous program. This included two intervention studies, one examining choice of practice activity and the second evaluating the effects of self-monitoring on quiz grades. The final study examined academic procrastination using a delay discounting task with the aim of identifying possible interventions to decrease procrastination. Taken together, these research findings expand the scope of effective instructional strategies in both the face-to-face and online classrooms.

Target Audience:

Behavior analysts who teach undergraduate and graduate students

Evaluating the Effect of Active Student Responding and Competition on Student Academic Performance
Hannah Lynn MacNaul (University of South Florida), Catia Cividini-Motta Cividini (University of South Florida), KATHRYN WILLIAMS (University of South Florida)
Abstract: Previous research has demonstrated a functional relation between high levels of active student responding (ASR) and acquisition of academic information (Bondy & Tincani, 2018). Furthermore, in-class competition among peers accelerates mastery of academic content (Chen, Law, & Wei-Yu Chen, 2018). Thus, the current study evaluated the effects of competition on student academic performance through an ASR modality, Kahoot. Kahoot is a free, online, game-like response application that can be accessed through any WiFi capable device, allowing students to respond to instructor-posed questions and immediately depicts aggregate class performance. Kahoot also includes a scoreboard component in which individual scores are ranked based on the accuracy and latency of responses. This feature can be activated (Kahoot + competition) and de-activated (Kahoot alone). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of Kahoot + competition, Kahoot alone, and a control condition on student academic performance based on student average exam scores across two sections of an undergraduate behavior analysis course. Results suggest that competition increases student academic outcomes compared to Kahoot alone and the control condition. Results will be discussed in relation to social validity.
Evaluating the Effect of Assignment Choice on Student Academic Performance in an Online Class
Hannah Lynn MacNaul (University of South Florida), Rachel Scalzo (University of South Florida), Catia Cividini-Motta Cividini (University of South Florida), SHANNON WILSON (University of South Florida)
Abstract: Providing a choice between two activities may have advantageous effects such as improving on-task behavior (Bambara, Ager, & Koger, 1994) or reducing problem behavior (Vaughn & Horner, 1997). When evaluated in an academic context, choice may empower the learner, foster engagement, and promote an overall interest in the learning experience (Aiken et al., 2016). The current study evaluated the effect of a choice and no-choice condition compared to a control condition on student academic outcomes. Fifty graduate students in an online, asynchronous behavior analysis course completed modules in one of the three conditions across the semester. In the choice condition, students chose from two activities (i.e., flashcards, study guide) whereas in the no-choice condition, an activity was assigned by the instructor. The dependent variable was student academic outcomes as measured by scores on the end of module quiz. Student preference and duration of time spent in each activity was also measured. Results suggest an equal distribution across activities and higher performance in the choice condition. Tests of statistical significance across conditions will be discussed as well as implications for instructors.

Self-Monitoring in the Online Classroom: An Intervention to Increase Academic Performance

Rachel Scalzo (University of South Florida), Anthony Concepcion (University of South Florida), ZOE ISABELLA HAY (University of South Florida)

Self-monitoring is an evidence-based intervention that has been shown to be widely effective in addressing a range of target behaviors (Weston et al., 2019; Wills & Mason, 2014). In the academic context, it has demonstrated increases in the performance of elementary, middle, and high school students both with and without disabilities (Graham-Day, Gardner, & Hsin, 2010; Wolfe, Heron, & Goddard, 2000), but there is limited information available regarding use of self-monitoring among graduate students. Graduate students struggle with time management given the many competing contingencies they are faced with (Hanshaw, Mason, & Loh, 2019). This study evaluated the effect of self-monitoring on quiz grades among graduate students in a fully online, asynchronous behavior analysis course. There were three conditions that were evaluated including instructions only, instructions with self-monitoring, and control wherein there were no expectations stated for daily engagement with the course content. Students allocated more time across days during the self-monitoring condition and performed better on quizzes in comparison to the instruction only condition. Results will be discussed with regard to social validity and implications for instructors.

At Last: An Application of Delay Discounting on Academic Procrastination
ANTHONY CONCEPCION (University of South Florida), Kimberly Crosland (University of South Florida), Rachel Scalzo (University of South Florida)
Abstract: Are you reading this the day of the conference trying to decide which presentations to attend? Why did you and I wait to do something we should have done yesterday? While everyone tends to procrastinate at some point, it usually is not detrimental. However, college student’s academic procrastination is correlated with many adverse health effects (e.g., anxiety, depression, sleep hygiene) and poor academic performance (Akinsola, Tella, & Tella, 2007; Ferrari, Johnson, & McCown, 1995). Furthermore, the prevalence of academic procrastination is high, with reports of up to 95% of college students engaging in detrimental amounts of procrastination (Hussain & Sultan, 2010), with distance-learners having greater associated risks (Elvers, Polzella, & Graetz, 2003). Previous studies on procrastination have focused on labeling students as having an impulsive personality trait. The present study took a behavioral approach to assessing impulsivity via a discounting task and analysis of observable measures of procrastination. Potential benefits to instructors and students as well as possible interventions to decrease academic procrastination are discussed.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh