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Evaluation of a token economy's effectiveness in a self -contained classroom in a psychiatric rehabilitation facility with secondary students diagnosed with emotional and behavioral disabilities

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EVALUATION OF A TOKEN ECONOMY'S EFFECTIVENESS IN A SELFCONTAINED CLASSROOM IN A PSYCHIATRIC REHABILITATION FACILITY
WITH SECONDARY STUDENTS DIAGNOSED WITH EMOTIONAL AND
BEHAVIORAL DISABILITIES
by
Monica K. Iverson
B.A., Mount Marty College, 1995
M.A., The University of South Dakota, 1998
Ed.D, The University of South Dakota, 2010
A Dissertation Submitted for Fulfillment of
the Requirements for the Degree of
Doctor of Education
Division of Curriculum and Instruction
Special Education Program in die Graduate School
The University of South Dakota
April 2010
UMI Number: 3420563
All rights reserved
INFORMATION TO ALL USERS
The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the quality of the copy submitted.
In the unlikely event that the author did not send a complete manuscript
and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if material had to be removed,
a note will indicate the deletion.
UMT
UMI 3420563
Copyright 2010 by ProQuest LLC.
All rights reserved. This edition of the work is protected against
unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code.
ProQuest LLC
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P.O. Box 1346
Ann Arbor, Ml 48106-1346
In memory of my mother, Karen Jeanette Iverson.
©2010
Monica K. Iverson
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
ii
DOCTORAL COMMITTEE
The members of the Committee appointed to examine the dissertation of
Monica K. Iverson find it satisfactory and recommend that it be accepted.
JJAJUU*.
Chairperson, pr. William Sweeney
(A^t
Dr. Robert Mayer
. Kristine Reed
i±n
Dr. Larry Bright
^
Dr.%Lisa Hazlett
iii
ABSTRACT
Monica K. Iverson, Ed.D., Curriculum and Instruction
The University of South Dakota, 2010
Evaluation of a Token Economy's Effectiveness in a Self-Contained Classroom in a
Psychiatric Rehabilitation Facility with Secondary Students Diagnosed with Emotional
and Behavioral Disabilities
Dissertation directed by William Sweeney, Ph.D.
The proposed study is a systematic replication of research conducted in 2004.
According to Johnston and Pennypacker (1993) systematic replication is "when the
repetition is conducted under conditions that are nearly identical to the original
conditions. This requires exposing subjects to conditions mat are somewhat different
from those that produced the original effects" (p. 247). According to Higgins, Williams,
and McLaughlin (2001), "the token economy strategy is the most effective way to
improve classroom behavior" (p. 100). Token economies are used with individual
students or a group of students. 'Token economies have been used with an astonishing
wide range of populations and age groups and in numerous educational treatment
settings" (Kerr & Nelson, 1998, p. 113). The behaviors (i.e., being out of seat,
inappropriate talking, being off-task, and any other behavior requiring teacher
redirection) displayed by student with E/BD, interfere with the learning process. These
behaviors do not lead to success in or out of school (Higgins et al., 2001; Jolivette,
Stichter, Nelson, Scott, & Liaupsin, 2000). Unfortunately, limited recent research is
available that evaluated the effects of token economies combined with responses cost
procedures on high school students exhibiting emotional and behavioral disabilities that
iv
currently reside and are receiving therapeutic treatment in a state run psychiatric hospital.
Ward (2004) conducted a similar research study and determined that a token economy
with embedded response cost is an effective intervention procedure with high school
students identified as emotional and behaviorally disordered in a large public high school
located in the Midwest. Therefore, a void currently exists related to the effects of token
economy systems on high school students exhibiting emotional and behavioral
disabilities who are currently residing in and receiving therapeutic treatment as well as
special education services in a state run psychiatric hospital setting.
The purpose of this study was to find out if a token economy is a useful behavior
management tool to use in a self-contained classroom with high school students
diagnosed with emotional and behavioral disabilities during their admission to a state
psychiatric hospital. Replication of the effects of a combined intervention of a token
economy and response cost management systems are needed to assure the onging
efficacy of these intervention procedures with high school students currently residing in a
state psychiatric hospital due to serious emotional and behavioral disabiliites. The
intervention, i.e., token economy, was expected to decrease classroom disruptions (offtask behavior) while increasing on-task behavior and work completion. The experimental
design used was an ABAB reversal design with follow-up probes to evaluate the
effectiveness of the token economy with participants. The token economy appeared
successful at both dramatically improving the on-task behavior of the participant, as well
as improving their subsequent work completion. The participants, teachers, and other
service providers also believed that the introduction of the token economy was both
effective at improving performance in the research setting as well as in other classes not
v
included as part of this systematic replication. The implications of the intervention are
also discussed and indicated that the intervention was successful in increasing time ontask and work completion.
vi
Acknowledgements
When the world says, "Give up,"
Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."
~Author Unknown
Thank you to my family, my friend, Barbara, and Dr. Sweeney, my advisor, for
encouraging me to stay the path and to keep hope alive in finishing this dissertation as
well as my degree. I would not have made through this process without them. I would
also like to extend my sincere thanks to the South Dakota Human Services Center for
allowing me to complete my research within their facility.
In addition, I would like to thank my committee members, Dr. Bright, Dr. Reed,
Dr. Hazlett, and Dr. Mayer. I greatly appreciate the time and consideration they have
placed into this process.
vii
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
Doctoral Committee
iii
Abstract
iv
Acknowledgements
vii
Table of Contents
viii
List of Figures
xii
List of Tables
xiii
CHAPTER
1. Introduction
1
Purpose Statement
4
Significance of the Study
5
Research Questions
7
Definitions of Terms
8
Limitations of the Study
12
Organization of the Study
12
2. Literature Review
14
Emotional and Behavior Disorders
14
Token Economy
17
Response Cost
33
The Use of a Token Economy in a Psychiatric Setting or
Psychiatric Alternative School Setting
42
Summary
45
3. Methodology
47
viii
Research Questions
47
Population
48
Setting
52
Dependent Measures
56
The Percentage of Time On-Task
57
The Percentage of Passing Assignments Completed Per Week
59
Procedural Integrity
62
Experimental Design
63
Procedures
65
General Procedures
65
Intervention Procedures
66
Social Validity
67
Data Analysis
68
Summary
69
4. Results
70
Overview
70
Overall Results of the Effectiveness of Token Economies on
On-Task Behavior
70
Overall Median and Ranges of On-Task Behavior
73
Overall Median and Ranges of Assignments Completed
76
Interobserver Reliability
79
Off-Task Behavior
79
Overall Percentages of Off-Task Behavior.
80
ix
Assignment Completion
80
Overall Percentages of Assignment Completion
81
Procedural Integrity
82
Social Validity Measures
82
Student Satisfaction
83
Summary
86
5. Discussion
87
Introduction
87
Overall Summary of Results
87
Relationships of This Study's Results to Previous Research
Literature
87
Research Questions
90
Question One
90
Question Two
92
Question Three
93
Question Four
95
Question Five
95
Question Six
96
Limitations
97
Participant Attendance
97
Participant Characteristics
98
Nature of the Disability
98
Immediacy of the Reinforcement
98
School Wide Activities
99
x
Researcher Availability
99
Participant Perceptions and Motivations
99
Other Outside Factors or Influences
100
Suggestions for Future Research
100
Implications for Future Research
101
Summary and Final Conclusions
102
REFERENCES
103
APPENDICES
118
Appendix A: CITI Human Subjects Training Certificate
119
Appendix B: USD and SDHSC Approval
121
Appendix C: Parental Consent and Student Assent Form
124
Appendix D: Data Collection Form
130
Appendix E: Procedural Integrity Probe Checklist
132
Appendix F: Consumer Satisfaction Written Survey Questions
135
Appendix J: Consumer Satisfaction Interview Questions
138
xi
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure
Page
1. Setting for this Study
55
2. Number of Intervals of Daily On-Task Behavior Across Baseline and
Intervention Conditions
72
3. Number of Intervals of Summative On-Task Behavior Across Baseline
and Intervention Conditions
75
4. Percentage of Assignment Completion Across Experimental
Conditions
xii
78
LIST OF TABLES
Table
Page
1. Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children - 4h Edition (WISC-IV)
50
2. Weschler Individual Achievement Test, - 2nd Edition (WIAT-II)
51
3. Student Satisfaction: Written Survey
xiii
85
1
CHAPTER I
Introduction
Adolescents with emotional or behavioral problems typically manifest
inappropriate behavior in a public school classroom setting. These inappropriate
behaviors are often observed as more significant when the student is attending
school in a psychiatric residential treatment facility (Kauffman, 2005).
Adolescents who attend school in a psychiatric setting tend to exhibit extreme
physical aggression, verbal aggression, withdrawal, irrational thinking,
inappropriate sexual behaviors and boundaries, and atypical thought processes
(American Psychiatric Association, 1994; Mann-Feder, 1996).
When observing extreme inappropriate behaviors in the classroom setting,
classroom management of that setting is often negatively impacted. Delivery of
academic instruction is influenced by the behaviors exhibited at any given point in
time during that academic day. The American Psychiatric Association promotes
many treatments to address these types of maladaptive behaviors in a psychiatric
setting. Types of psychotherapies used in these settings include interpersonal
therapy that focuses on the patient's current life and relationships within their
various environments, or cognitive therapy that aims to identify and correct
distorted thinking patterns that can lead to troublesome feelings and behaviors
(American Psychiatric Association, 1994).
Additional biomedical therapies used in a psychiatric setting include the
use of medication to treat mental, behavioral, or emotional disorders.
2
Electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) is another type of biomedical therapy that is
reserved for patients with severe mental illness who are unresponsive to
medication or other treatments (American Psychiatric Association, 1994).
Behavior therapy systematically uses learning principals to change troublesome
thinking patterns and behavior in psychiatric or other settings (American
Psychiatric Association, 1994). Behavior therapy includes an array of methods
such as positive social reinforcement, stress management, or relaxation training
(American Psychiatric Association, 1994). The use of a token economy is one
aspect of behavior therapy in which the individual can learn specific skills to
obtain rewards and satisfaction contingent on die display of the appropriate
behavior in a given setting (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007).
A token economy system is a type of intervention or behavior
management system that uses a token (i.e., stickers, coupons, colored chips, etc.)
to set the occasion and subsequently increase the probability of a behavior change
(Kerr & Nelson, 1998). A token economy is any type of "structured treatment in
which desirable behaviors are rewarded with tokens that are exchangeable for
valuable goods or activities" (Lecomte, Liberman, & Wallace, 2000, p. 1312).
Corrigan, of the University of Chicago Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation,
evaluated more man 50 token economies mat served more man 10,000 patients
annually (Corrigan, 1995). Corrigan stated in his study, "Despite its proven
efficacy, the token economy is not widely used in treatment settings. It has been
discarded as unethical, impractical, or irrelevant by practitioners and consumers
3
who do not fully understand the value of the intervention" (p. 1258). Detractors
of the token economy system either cited or reported the following reasons for
their lack of support: its inability to address everyday settings outside the
residential treatment setting, lack of individualization, and the perception that
participating in a token economy is degrading (Corrigan, 1995). Corrigan argued
that the token economy possesses several characteristics that make it preferable
over other reinforcement programs. This type of behavior management system
allows teachers to distribute tokens for on-task behaviors or any other type of
targeted behavior in an immediate manner, thus increasing the probability of
exhibiting die appropriate target behavior in the future under similar
circumstances.
The delivery of the token reward in a token economy must be immediate.
The time factor regarding the delivery of the token itself must connect with the
targeted change in behavior. The student realizes that receiving the token is
contingent on engaging in the appropriate behavior and is dependent on his or her
choices (Corrigan, 1995).
A token economy is not affected as greatly as other reinforcement-based
interventions (i.e., contingency contracting) by the behavioral principle of
satiation (Corrigan, 1995). When students are rewarded for doing well or
behaving appropriately in a traditional reward program, the students will
eventually get tired of receiving the reward, and often times will no longer work
for something they automatically or contingently receive. For example, if
4
students receives a cookie (the reward) for attending class, and knows a cookie
will be provided every time for attendance, students will eventually reach their fill
of cookies, and that specific reward will become meaningless to him or her. In a
token economy system, the tokens are generalized reinforcers and are
contingently associated with the student's behavior that corresponds to a
multitude of items or activities used as rewards or secondary reinforcers (Cooper
et al., 2007). It is unlikely that the student's desires for all the items and activities
available to him or her, in a reinforcer menu built into a token system, will satiate
due to the incentive driven nature of the generalized reinforcer (i.e., die tokens)
presented in a short duration of time after exhibiting the appropriate classroom
behaviors (Corrigan, 1995).
In considering the information presented by Corrigan, the token economy
system appears useful with students with mental illness and severe emotional and
behavioral disorders in a self-contained classroom setting when used as a
motivational tool to succeed academically and behaviorally in a residential school
setting.
Purpose Statement
The purpose of this study is to determine if a token economy is a useful
behavior management tool for use in a self-contained classroom with high school
students diagnosed with emotional and behavioral disabilities during their
admission to a state psychiatric hospital.
5
Significance of the Study
Numerous researchers (i.e.. Field, Nash, Handwerk, & Friman, 2004;
LeComte et al., 2000; Musser, Bray, Kehle, & Jenson, 2001) have noted that the
use of a token economy promotes a change in numerous educational and
psychiatric settings, but there is little or no research available regarding its
specific use in a self-contained classroom in an alternative school setting within a
psychiatric hospital setting. More specifically, there is little research done with
adolescent patients with severe emotional and behavioral disabilities in
psychiatric hospital settings in regard to what works successfully as behavior
management techniques.
Ward-Maguire (200S) completed one of the few studies in a secondary
education school-based setting in 2005 that showed the effectiveness of a token
economy with students with emotional and behavioral disorders. Ward-Maguire
performed her study in a self-contained classroom in a large Midwestern high
school and verified the effectiveness of this delivery system as a robust, efficient,
nonadversive, incentive driven behavior management system mat is easily
implemented by the teachers in a school-based setting. Second, unlike counseling
and pharmacological interventions (i.e., drug therapy) that require the services of
professionals outside the school system, incentive-driven behavior management
systems, such as a token economy, are often builtrightinto the classroom
structure and are implemented and monitored by the professionals within that
classroom.
6
Few researchers, other than Ward-Maguire (2005), concentrated their
efforts in studying this area of intervention. Ward-Maguire (2005) demonstrated
that a token economy decreased off-task behavior within the high school
classroom with emotional and behavioral disorders and subsequently increased
assignment completion. Even so, there are few studies published that address
students in a school-based setting within a psychiatric hospital. Thorough
research is lacking pertaining to effective interventions available to mis
population within this setting (Whalen, Willis, & Sweeney, 1993; Willis, Whalen,
Sweeney, & McLaughlin, 1995). Most of the published results using a token
economy involves adult populations in a psychiatric setting (Corrigan, 1995;
Corrigan & McCracken, 1999; LeComte et al., 2000).
The use of a token economy is often criticized among educators today due
to the many misconceptions written about token economies in past and current
educational literature (Corrigan, 1995). Token economies are often labeled as
ineffective and impractical (Corrigan, 1995). When teachers use token
economies, they are usually elementary level teachers. Token economies are not
often used in the high school classroom setting. The use of a token economy in
an alternative high school setting with psychiatric patients is also fairly unique as
there is little literature available regarding this type of research study. Perhaps
this study may pique the interest of others who teach in alternative high schools or
residential psychiatric settings. The use of a token economy with high school
students may change the perception that a token economy successfully increases
7
both motivation and performance with high school aged students. The use of this
intervention may also rekindle interest among educators and show the efficacious
use of a token economy as a successful behavior management technique.
Research Questions
1. What is the relative effectiveness of a token economy and modified
response cost system on die daily on-task behavior of high school
students diagnosed with emotional and behavioral disabilities in an
alternative school setting located in a residential psychiatric hospital
during their designated school time?
2. What is the summative effectiveness of a token economy and response
cost system exhibit on the number of intervals of on-task behavior for
a high school student diagnosed with emotional and behavioral
disabilities during his enrollment in the alternative school during their
admission to a state psychiatric hospital?
3. What relative summative effectiveness of the token economy and
response cost system on the percentage of assignments completed per
experimental condition for a student diagnosed with emotional and
behavioral disabilities during his enrollment in the alternative school
during their admission to a state psychiatric hospital?
4. Are the definitions of the behavior and measurement system for daily
and weekly assignment completion a reliable measurement procedure?
8
5. Will the procedural integrity measures of the token economy system,
combined with response cost procedures, ensure fidelity of the
intervention implementation?
6. What are the relative effects that the token economy and response cost
system exhibit on the perceptions of the students related to the
effectiveness and importance of an intervention system of this nature?
Definition of Terms
1. Assaultive Behavior - Assaultive behaviors are "defined as patient attacks
involving either another patient or staff and resulting in an injury" (Bellus, Vergo,
Kost, Stewart, & Barkstrom, 1999).
2. Back-up Reinforcers - Back-up reinforcers are given to students in exchange
for a certain number of tokens. The reinforcers used are only limited by a
teacher's imagination (Kerr & Nelson, 1998).
3. Behavior - Behavior is defined as "the portion of the organism's interaction
with its environment that is characterized by detectable displacement in space
through time of some part of the organism and that results in a measurable change
in at least one aspect of its environment" (Johnston & Pennypacker, 1993, pg. 23).
4. Behavior Management - Behavior management is defined as the ways
individuals motivate and teach students to follow classroom rules and
expectations as well as the completion of their academic tasks (Witzel & Mercer,
2003).
9
5. Emotional and Behavioral Disorders - Individuals with Disabilities
Educational Improvement Act 2004 defines emotional and behavioral disorders as
a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long
period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child's educational
performance:
a. An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory,
or health factors.
b. An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal
relationships with peers and teachers.
c. Inappropriate types of behaviors or feelings under normal
circumstances.
c. A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.
d. A tendency to develop physical symptoms of fears associated with
personal or school problems (United States Office of Special
Education, 2004).
6. On-task behavior - On-task behavior is defined as when a student appears as if
they are actively engaging in a specified learning activity (Levin & Nolan, 2006).
7. Off-task behavior - Off-task behavior is defined as when a student does not
appear as if they are not actively engaging in a specified learning activity (Levin
& Nolan, 2006).
8. Mental Disorder (also know as Mental Illness or Psychiatric Disorder) - A
mental disorder does not exhibit a consistent operational definition mat covers all
10
situations, but is "conceptualized as a clincially signficiant behavioral or
psychological symdrome or pattern" (Frances, First, & Pincus, 1995, p. 15).
9. Momentary Time Sampling - Momentary time sampling is defined as
recording the presence or absence of behaviors immediately following specified
time intervals (Cooper et al., 2007).
10. Reinforcement - Reinforcement is defined as an increase in the strength of a
response following the change in environment immediately following that
response (Cooper et al., 2007).
11. Response Cost - Response cost is defined as a procedure for the reduction of
inappropriate behavior through withdrawal of specific amounts of reinforcers
contingent upon the behavior's occurrence; i.e., a fine or penalty (Cooper et al.,
2007).
12. Replication Based Research - Replication based research is defined as a
replication study involving a substantive variation of research from previous
research or work (Johnston & Pennypacker, 1993).
13. Rewards or Reinforcers - A reward or a reinforcer is something that may be
social, activity-orientated, priviledge-oriented, or materialistic in nature that
students can earn as an incentive for not demonstrating a target behavior (ZeiglerDendy, Durheim, & Ellison, 2006).
14. Self-iniurious Behavior - Self-injurious behavior is defined as "deliberate
self-inflicted injuries that are not considered a suicide attempt, regardless of the
degree of injury" (Bellus et al., 1999).
11
15. Single-subject Research - Single-subject research is defined as a design that
is applied when the sample size is one or when a number of individuals are
considered as one group. This design is typically used to study the behavioral
change an individual exhibits as a result of some treatment. In single-subject
designs, each participant serves as her or his own control, similar to a time-series
design. The participant is exposed to a non-treatment and a treatment phase and
performance is measured during each phase (Gay & Airasian, 2003; MacMillian,
2004).
16. Target behavior - A target behavior is an observed undesirable or
inappropriate behavior that is targeted for improvement (i.e., reduction of times
the behavior occurs) (Dendy et al., 2006).
17. Token Economy - A token economy is "a structured treatment in which
desirable behaviors are rewarded with tokens that are exchageable for valuable
goods or activities" (Lecomte et al., 2000, p. 1312).
18. Token or Reinforcer - A token or reinforcer "is defined as any material item,
consumable, activity, person, or social event that increases the strength of
frequency of the individual's behavior" (Lecomte et al., 2000, p. 1312).
19. Satiation - Satiation is defined by when a student is bored or satisfied to
excess with the treatment (i.e., token economy). The treatment no longer has an
effect on a student (Corrigan, 1995; Cooper et al., 2007).
12
Limitations of the Study
1. Students with psychiatric disorders or emotional and behavioral
disabilities tend to exhibit attendance issues when attending the alternative
school due to exhibiting assaultive or self-injurious behaviors that do not
promote the safety and security of the student or others who are in the
proximity of that student.
2. The participants in this study each possess unique, multiple psychological
diagnoses, and the individual characteristics and manifestations of these
diagnoses may limit die generalizability of this research study.
3. The primary data collector engages in other managerial duties and
sporadically needs to address issues regarding behaviors or academic
concerns in other classrooms. Attending to these duties may potentially
leave gaps in the data collecting process.
Organization of the Study
This chapter introduced and discussed the possibility of whether a token
economy, when used as a motivational tool to improve academics, social
behavior, and conduct in the classroom is useful witii students with mental illness
and severe emotional and behavioral disorders in a self-contained classroom
setting in a state residential mental health facility. Corrigan (1995) and WardMaguire (2005) both cited the positive results from using a token economy within
both a classroom and psychiatric setting, respectively. Furthermore, this section
described the purpose of a token economy system, how the strategies used by a
13
token economy can address inappropriate behaviors or further increase die
possibility of emitting appropriate behaviors, and how this intervention is rarely
used with this specific population of students.
Chapter Two will examine die literature available in regards to die use of a
token economy system widi students widi emotional and behavioral disorders.
This chapter will also discuss die literature available in regards to its use widi
patients widi mental illness. Further research is noted about die benefits of using
token economy strategies widi different-aged populations of students and adults.
Chapter Three will reexamine die research questions and define the
population and sample size of die study. The instrumentation, data collection, and
data summary procedures are also discussed.
14
CHAPTER II
Literature Review
Chapter Two provides an extensivereviewof the literature and research
related to the implementation of a token economy program with all age groups in
many different types of settings. The chapter is divided into sections that include
the following: (a) the description of students with emotional and behavioral
disorders, (b) a functional definition of a token economy, (c) the functional
definition of aresponsecost system, (d) the use of a token economy in a
psychiatric setting, or psychiatric alternative school setting, (e) the advantage and
disadvantage of token economies and response cost behavior management
systems (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007).
Emotional & Behavioral Disorders
The Individuals with Disabilities Educational Improvement Act 2004
defines emotional and behavioral disorders as a condition exhibiting one or more
of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree
that adversely affects a child's educational performance:
a. An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory,
or health factors.
b. An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal
relationships with peers and teachers.
c. Inappropriate types of behaviors or feelings under normal
circumstances.
15
d. A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.
e. A tendency to develop physical symptoms of fears associated with
personal or school problems (United States Office of Special
Education, 2004).
Heward (2006) spoke about "children with emotional or behavioral
disorders are characterized primarily by behavior that falls significantly beyond
the norms of their cultural and age group on two dimensions: externalizing and
internalizing. Both patterns of abnormal behavior have adverse effects on
children's academic achievement and social relationships" (p. 223). These
patterns of behavior have major implications on a student's day-to-day
functioning.
Students with emotional and behavioral disorders commonly tend to
display both externalizing and internalizing types of behaviors. Externalizing
behaviors are acting-out types of behaviors (Kauffman, 2005). Examples of
externalizing behaviors may include yelling, talking without permission, cursing,
disturbing peers, arguing excessively, destroying property, noncompliance
regarding assignment completion, exclusion from peer-controlled activities, lying,
stealing, etc. (Heward, 2009). Research regarding these particular students shows
that these students are at greater risk for dropping out of school, involvement in
the corrections or juvenile justice system due to arrest, abusing drugs and alcohol,
exhibiting marginalized adult lives, and dying young (Lipsey & Derzon, 1998).
Additionally, these students are 13.3 times more likely to experience official
16
encounters with law enforcement (i.e., are arrested) during their school years than
nondisabled peers (Doren, Bullis, & Benz, 1996; Heward, 2009), and 58% are
arrested within five years of leaving high school (Chesapeake Institute, 1994;
Heward, 2006).
Internalizing behaviors are behaviors typically associated with social
withdrawal (Kauffman, 2005). Examples of internalizing behaviors may include
anxiety, anxiousness, depression, extreme shyness, somatic complaining,
immaturity, etc. (Heward, 2009). Students who internalize their behavior tend to
exhibit little to no interaction with others, act immaturely, and are withdrawn;
they do not present a threat to other in comparison to the behaviors that
individuals with externalizing behaviors tend to exhibit (Heward, 2009). These
students often lack the social skills needed to develop and maintain relationships,
particularly friendships; therefore, they retreat into daydreams and fantasies.
"Others are fearful of things without reason, frequently complain of being sick or
hurt, have severe bouts of depression, anxiety disorders, and mood disorders"
(Heward, 2006, p. 225).
Etiology of emotional and/or behavioral disorders is often grouped into
two major categories: biological and environmental. Biological factors include
brain disorders, genetics, and temperament. Brain disorders are the result of
either an abnormal brain development or brain injury. However, for the majority
of individuals with emotional and/or behavioral disorders there is no evidence of
brain disorder or injury (Heward, 2009). Therefore, many authorities in the field
17
of special education who study emotional and behavior disorders assert that
environmental influence exhibit a significant, if not dominant, effect on the
development and maintenance of the inappropriate behaviors or emotional states
that are characteristics of this disability area (Heward, 2009; Kauffman &
Landrum, 2009; Kerr & Nelson, 2006; Walker & Sprague, 1999).
Psychiatric classification focuses primarily on differentiating how much
individuals differ in die degree to which they exhibit a type of behavior
(Kauffman, 2005; Waldman & Lillenfeld, 1995). Children in a psychiatric setting
typically display these behaviors to a greater degree or magnitude than other
children who may display these behaviors in a school-based setting.
An appropriate treatment option is needed to deal with individuals with
serious emotional and behavioral disorders. One very useful treatment option is a
token economy system. This type of behavior management tool is discussed
further in the next section.
Token Economy
The Greeks were the first people to use a token economy on a large
systematic scale during the fifth century B.C. (Paschalis, 1987). They used a
token economy system to solve serious political problems or matters of state in
their general assembly (or governmental-type system/open forum). If an
individual came to the general assembly in the early morning, the individual was
"paid" one drachma (a type of Greek currency). As the day passed, members
began to leave. When issues came to a vote, no one remained. A new technique
18
was attempted and payment was not to be made until the end of the day. Then a
new phenomenon occurred. Attendance was very low in die early morning and
very high in the late afternoon. People knew when to show up for their payment,
but did not know how to vote on the issues, as they were not there during die day
when die issues were discussed. Therefore, another technique was attempted in
order to encourage day-long attendance of the general assembly. An individual
would now receive tokens in die form of baked clay tables of various sizes and
shapes if they were in attendance at different times or sessions of die General
Assembly. The tokens were later exchanged for money at die end of day. This
political and economic exchange system that used by die Greeks was basically die
birth of a token economy system.
A basic behavioral principal is mat behavior is affected by its antecedents
and consequences (Kauffman & Landrum, 2009). This behavioral principal also
rings true for a token economy reinforcement system. A token economy is "a
structured treatment in which desirable behaviors are rewarded with tokens that
are exchangeable for valuable goods or activities" (Lecomte et al., 2000, p. 1312).
A token economy is a type of behavioral intervention that rearranges
consequences to support desirable behavior and not reward undesirable behavior,
or shift attention from inappropriate to appropriate behavioral responses
(Kauffman, 2005).
For many years, professionals in education diought that students widi
disabilities, especially diose widi severe emotional and behavioral disorders,
19
require more extrinsic support (i.e., motivation) to increase the likelihood of more
appropriate academic and social behavior (Witzel & Mercer, 2003). Professional
educators also generally believed that the use of a token economy increases the
academic achievement of students (Karraker, 1977). Transition from beliefs and
actualresearchof the successful use of a token economy is demonstrated across
all age levels in a variety of settings.
Reitman, Murphy, Hupp, and O'Callaghan (2004) noted the successful use
of a token economy in reducing problematic classroom behavior in a preschool
setting. Also, a study by Filcheck, McNeil, Greco, and Bernard (2004) provided
support for the use of a token-economy system when managing disruptive
behavior in preschool classrooms. "Specifically, the amount of inappropriate
behavior exhibited in the classroom decreased.. .and resulted in a more positive
classroom environment" (p. 359).
Odom, Hoyson, Jamieson, and Strain (1985) wanted "(a) to train a set of
observationally determined social behaviors via peer interaction, (b) to determine
if effects gereralized across classroom settings and to directly intervene if
generalizations did not occur, and (c) to analyze components of the peer-initiation
intervention" (p. 3). They found that after baseline, preschool children without
disabilities were taught to direct social interactions to the preschool-aged children
with disabilities. The use of a tokenreinforcementor token economy increased
both positive social interactions between students and die number of frequencies
20
of positive interactions between the preschoolers with and without disabilities
(Odom et al., 1985).
Research shows that a token economy was also successfully used in the
elementary school setting. Carden Smith and Fowler (1984) examined the
effectiveness of a peer-monitored token system on reducing disruption and
nonparticipation during a transition period of a kindergarten class for student with
behavior impairments. Even though the token economy appeared successful,
Carden Smith and Fowler (1984) found that peers frequently awarded points that
were not earned, and the monitored disruptive behaviors were maintained at low
rates. The token economy still showed to be a success as the students directly
related their positive behavior to a token or the reward. Thus, peer-mediated
intervention programs present clear benefits both the children receiving
intervention and the children providing intervention (Carden Smith & Fowler,
1984).
Saigh and Umar (1983) found that the use of a token economy with
Sudanese second graders was associated with a marked decrease in the rate of out
of seat behavior, talking without permission, and aggression. The principal and
teacher of the second graders indicated that the level disruption was essentially
similar to the level that was evident in other classes at the school that did not
exhibit disruptive behavior. The targeted behaviors (i.e., out of seat behavior,
talking without permission, and aggression), were determined through informal
conferences with the principal and teacher. The researchers implemented a
21
specific type of reinforcement (i.e., "a Good Behavior Game") that incorporated
contigency rewards. When the reinforcement was introduced, aggression
decreased from 8.5% to 3.5%, out of seat behavior decreased from 9.6% to 1.7%,
and talking without permission decreased from 12% to 4.7% (Saigh & Umar,
1983). When the teacher, principal, parents, and students involved in the study
were later interviewed, their comments spoke strongly the techniques used by
Saigh and Umar.
Van Houten and Nau (1980) showed successful use of a token economy in
an adjustment class for children with deafness. Five students, whose age ranged
from six to nine, were reinforced with tokens on a variable ratio or fixed ratio
schedule of reinforcement to increase mam problems completed per minute. The
findings of their experiment demonstrated that a variable ratio schedule of
reinforcement is more effective at increasing social adjustment than a fixed ratio
schedule of reinforcement in a simple token economy. The implementation of the
token economy did not, although, exhibit any influence on the students' math
scores (Van Houten & Nau, 1980).
Ten second-grade boys who did not do well in math, struggled with
attention, and presented behavior problems at school were the subject of a study
completed by Fantuzzo and Clement (1981). Using self-reinforcement and a
token economy, Fantuzzo and Clement (1981) found that the students were
successful in their self-reinforcement/management in the classroom setting, as
well as moderately successful in other generalization settings. The authors felt
22
that their findings were helpful given the limitations of funding and personnel
issues that seen in the public school settings. They also felt that self-control
strategies such as these exhibit promise as effective and economical instructional
methods as classroom management tools (Fantuzzo and Clement, 1981).
Further group contingencies and the use of token economies were also
studied. Anderson and Katsiyannis (1997) used a token economy to modify the
behavior of students with learning disabilities enrolled in a fifth-grade class. The
token economy in Anderson and Katisiyannis's study successfully reduced
disruptive and aggressive behavior and increased on-task behavior exhibited by
the students. Speltz, Wenters Shimamura, and McReynolds (1982) studied the
academic work of primary children in a learning disabilities classroom. They
found that the use of a token economy produced high levels of positive social
interaction as well as increased academic work. Also, Self-Brown and Mathews
(2003) showed a significant increase in attaining performance goals regarding
students in an elementary level classroom.
Klimas and McLaughlin (2007) found that an individual token economy
with a young child with severe behavior disorders was an effective tool at
improving the participant's academic and social behavior. The purpose of their
study was to increase a female, kindergarten-aged, special education student's
assignment completion and to decrease the student's inappropriate behavior in the
classroom (Klimas & McLaughlin, 2007). The token economy targeted two
behaviors: time to completion and number of assignments gathered. This student
23
specifically demonstrated inappropriate behaviors that included running in the
classroom, screaming, refusing to work, refusing to answer questions or
participate academically, hitting, kicking, and climbing under and over furniture
(Klimas & McLaughlin, 2007). The student's inappropriate behaviors limited
her ability to complete assignments and her accuracy was low. During the
researcher's three baseline sessions, the average amount of time taken to complete
an assignment was 10 minutes. The time was decreased to 4 minutes after the
implementation of the token economy system. During the researcher's three
baseline sessions, the average amount of assignments completed was two
assignments in a 30-minute time period. The average amount of assignments
completed increased to seven assignments in a 30-minute period after the
implementation of a token economy system. Also, during baseline, an average of
three behaviors occurred per 30 minutes. After the implementation of a token
economy, zero to one inappropriate behaviors occurred per 30 minutes. The
overall results indicated that "there was a decrease in the amount of time required
to complete an assignment, an increase in assignment completion, and a decline in
the frequency of inappropriate classroom behaviors" (p. 74). The researchers
found that a token economy was very successful.
McLaughlin and Malaby (1972) used a procedure "that enabled a teacher
to bring inappropriate verbalizations under control in a classroom of
approximately 25 fifth- and sixth-grade students" (p. 329). The authors wanted to
reduce the frequency of inappropriate verbalizations in order to gain a good
24
learning environment for their students as well as increase assignment completion
in spelling, language, handwriting, and math (McLaughlin & Malaby, 1972). The
students gained or lost points contingent upon their rate of inappropriate
verbalizations (i.e., gained points for refraining from engaging in verbalizations,
and lost points for engaging in inappropriate verbalizations). McLaughlin and
Malaby found that verbalizations decreased when quiet behavior was reinforced.
Prior to the implementation of experimental conditions, the class completed from
69% to 94% of the assignments given. Assignment completion changed
dramatically to 100% for over 30 assignment days after the implementation of the
token economy. Token procedures significantly increased assignment completion
promoted a good learning environment.
Mottram, Bray, Kehle, Broudy, and Jenson (2002) used a token economy
system with three male second-grade students identified as exhibiting
oppositional defiant disorder. Results showed an immediate and pronounced
decrease in disruptive behaviors for all three students after the implementation of
the token economy (Mottram et al., 2002). Musser et al. (2001) reported a
significant decrease in inappropriate behavior when a token economy was
implemented in an alternative educational setting. The students who participated
in the study were two African-American students, one male (age 8) and one
female (age 9). Both students were identified as social emotional disturbed
(SED), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), and Attention Deficit
25
Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The students attended an alternative class
specifically designed for students identified as SED.
Higgins, Williams, and McLaughlin (2001) discussed the effects of a
token economy employing instructional consequences for a third-grade student
with learning disabilities. The purpose of the study was to see if token
reinforcement could decrease out-of-seat behavior, talking out, and poor posture.
'The results indicated that awarding tokens for the absence of the three target
behaviors was an effective procedure" (p. 99). Because of the success, the
classroom teacher planned to continue implementing the token economy on a
classroom-wide basis.
Robinson, Newby, and Ganzell (1981) used a token economy system in an
18-member third grade class of hyperactive boys. As an additional verification
that the students placed in the class were hyperactive, a measure of out-of-seat
behavior was taken in the classroom prior to the start of the token economy
system for comparison to other third-grade classes that were non-hyperactive.
The data indicated mat the 18 students averaged 13.6 instances of out of seat
behavior every 30 seconds across all the students, while the other non-hyperactive
third-grade classes average 1.2 instances of out-of-seat behavior during a similar
time period. Not only was the class considered "hyperactive", many students in
the class also experienced deficits in reading abilities. Twelve of the students in
the class displayed reading abilities that scored in the low first-grade level.
Robinson et al. (1991) required cooperative interaction to change the reading and
26
vocabulary performance of the boys. The boys could earn colored tokens, which
were exchanged for 15 minutes of play on electrovideo games, if they
successfully completed two tasks that involved learning to read and use new
vocabulary words in sentences and two tasks where the students served as proctor
to another student who were still completing the tasks. This study successfully
focused directly reinforcing on academic performance without prior reduction of
disruptive behaviors (Robinson et al., 1991). All 18 students responded positively
to the study and increased their academic performance. Although no specific
contigencies were added to the token system to reduce disruptive behaviors
directly, the use of a token economy system decreased total classroom disruptive
behaviors substantially. Also, the school districts's standardized weekly reading
level examination scores rose from four to eight fold during the token economy
conditions.
Children who exhibit the behavioral characteristics of Attention Deficit
Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) often exhibit difficulty attending to task,
remaining seated, and resisting distractions, and they often act impulsively
(American Psychiatric Association, 1994). In addition, children with ADHD are
often noncompliant or aggressive or may exhibit other disruptive behaviors (Reid,
1999). DuPaul and Weyandt (2006) directed their research to the use of a token
economy with students with ADHD. DuPaul and Weyandt (2006) noted that
relatively strong evidence supports the use of this type of behavioral intervention
when targeting disruptive, off-task behaviors in children with ADHD.
27
Furthermore, this type of intervention helped address social relationship
difficulties among students with this disorder (DuPaul & Weyandt, 2006). Reid
(1999) also discussed effective behavioral methods for students with ADHD.
Reid noted that the use of token economies with students with ADHD is
recommended as best practice and can benefit all children, not just children with
ADHD (Reid, 1999).
Cavalier, Ferretti, and Hodges (1997) demonstrated the successful
application of a token economy at the middle school level. Cavalier et al. (1997)
conducted a study with two middle school students with learning disabilities and
ADHD. Their research indicated successful increases in the acquisition and
maintenance of academic skills and social behaviors in a self-contained
classroom. Two middle-school students with learning disabilities participated in
a classroom-wide token economy based on a levels system. The levels system,
which was used in a self-contained classroom, targeted the acquisition and
maintenance of academic skills and social behaviors with the goal of integrating
these students into an inclusive classroom (Cavalier et al., 1997). The two
participants showed little or no progress within the levels system because of a
very high rate of inappropriate verbalizations. Therefore, a self-management
system that involved training on the accuracy of self-recording these
verbalizations was added to the levels system for these students (Cavalier et al.,
1997). The self-recording was reinforced with a token economy. The token
28
economy reinforced the self-recording, which reinforced appropriate behavior,
and the students' successful progress within the levels system.
Gunter, Coutinho, and Cade (2002) reported mat token economies exhibit
overwhelming support for students indicating effectiveness when used correctly.
The study was conducted by observing specific classroom management strategies
and noting how these strategies were linked to academic and behavioral gains.
The classroom observations were conducted over three days for approximately a
total of six hours. There were seven students, one teacher, and one
paraprofessional present. The teacher implemented a token economy targeting
appropriate compliance with five classroom rules. The five classroom rules were
posted as well as the consequences for following or violating the posted rules. At
certain times throughout the day students were given their tokens, which were
slips of paper. Tokens were then exchanged for a variety of social/educational
games and activities at the end of the day or week. The results indicated that the
token economy resulted in an increase in completion of independent seatwork.
The observers also noted few classroom (behavior) disruptions when the token
economy was present in comparison to other experimental conditions. Gunter et
al. (2002) concluded mat, "both systems substantially decreased inappropriate
behavior while increasing time on-task" (p. 127). The researchers also reported,
"no adverse side-effects were observed in die class at any time when the token
economies were in effect" (p. 127).
29
Research was found regarding die use of token economy in high school
settings as well. One study completed by Ward-Maguire (2005) successfully
increased time on-task and work completion with high school students diagnosed
with emotional and behavioral disabilities using a token economy. The
availability of research regarding use of a token economy widi high school
students diagnosed with emotional and behavioral disabilities in a psychiatric
hospital setting is limited as well.
Research has shown that a token economy is useful when working with
adults. The implementation of a token economy in an introductory psychology
college class increased the degree of participation in class before, during, and
after the implementation (Bonieck & Moore, 2003). Stocks, Thyer, and Kearsley
(2006) also showed the positive effect of a token economy system in maintaining
living skill behaviors in a community-based residential program for adults with
disabilities. Further research by LeBlanc, Hagopian, and Maglier (2000)
demonstrated the successful use of a token economy with a 26-year-old male with
developmental disabilities. LeBlanc et al. (2000) research showed a 99%
reduction in inappropriate social interactions, a 97% reduction in verbal
aggression, and a 97% reduction in inappropriate sexual behavior.
Further research regarding the use of token economy was also
implemented in a family-style residential care. A study by Field et al. (2004)
evaluated the effectiveness of a token economy regarding three youths with
conduct disorders who were nonresponsive to the treatment that was provided to
30
them while in residential care. After the implementation of a token economy
system, there was a substantial decline in intense behavioral episodes. The
authors also noted that "the token economy respresents an empirically supported
operant appropriate to group treatment that can be especially effective when
implemented within structured family-style resdiential care" (p. 455).
The use of a token economy is also used as a technique to train parents.
Researchers Muir and Milan (1982) evaluated a reinforcement program where
parents earned lottery tickets and won prizes for the progress made by their
children with handicapping conditions during home-based intervention. Their
results showed that thereinforcementof the parents for training accomplishments,
noted by their children's achievements, produced clinically significant increases
in the children's progress when compared with the baseline conditions (Muir and
Milan, 1982).
Token economies are also used in medical settings. A study completed by
Da Costa, RaPoff, LeManek, and GoldStein (1997) researched how a token
economy improved the adherence to medication regimens for children with
asthma. They found that from a clinically perspective, the token system used in
the study was "promising and efficient, making is feasible for use in pediatric
subspecialty clinics" (p. 690). Another study involving a token economy
completed in a clinical setting was done by Carton and Schweitzer (1996). They
reported the effects of using a token economy to treat noncompliant behavior in a
10-year-old male hemodialysis patient. The boy would earn tokens that he could
31
cash in for prizes if he was compliant with vascular access cleaning prior to
hemodialysis, and procedures during hemodialysis, such as blood pressure
measurements and exercises designed to reduce the risk of muscle cramps. The
intervention indicated increased compliant behavior during the treatment phases.
This compliant behavior was maintained when Carton and Schweitzer (19%)
checked in and completed 3- and 6-month observations.
Out-patient, psychiatric settings are also finding value in use of token
economies. A study completed by Arvans and LeBlanc (2009) discussed the use
of a token economy with a student with Asperger's Disorder and migranes. As
part of the adolescent's out-patient therapy, a token economy intervention was
used to minimize the amount of sick calls he made from school to his parents
because of migrane headaches. The implementation of the token economy
reduced the number of days the adolescent missed from school and the amount of
migrane reports the student made.
Token economy strategies are also used in studies of non-academic related
settings as well. Jacobs, Fairbanks, Poche, and Bailey (1982) studied the effects
of a combined token economy and a reserved parking program as a means of
increasing car-pooling among students on a university campus. They found that
when students were reinforced for car-pooling with coupons that were redeemable
for 25 cents in merchandise, the car-pooling increased within the treatment group.
The control groups, which did not receive the coupons, displayed no real change
in rates of car-pooling (Jacobs et al., 1982).
32
Jason (1985) completed another non-academic study regarding the use of a
token economy. A child watching too much television was provided a behavioral
program featuring a token-actuated timer in Jason's study. The child's earned
tokens would activate the television for 35-minute periods. During the first
intervention, this exchange system effectively reduced the child's television
viewing from 7 hours per day to 0.8 hours per day, and during the second
intervention condition, the exchange system effectively reduced the child's
television viewing from 6.2 hours per day to 1.6 hours per day (Jason, 1985).
Hemdon and Mikulas (1996) used token reinforcement to induce existing
members to recruit new member to join a chamber of commerce. For three
successive years, Hemdon and Mikulas (1996) trained chamber leaders to use
token reinforcement system to reinforce recruitment and dues collections. All
three years produced increases in membership, recruits, and dues (Herndon &
Mikulas, 19%).
Further studies regarding token economies in non-academic settings
include research by Fox, Hopkins, and Anger (1987). Fox, Hopkins, and Anger
(1987) used trading stamps at two open-pit mines. "Employees of the mines
earned stamps for working without lost-time injuries, for being in work groups in
which all other workers has no lost-time injuries, for not being involved in
equipment-damaging accidents, for making adopted safety suggestions, and for
unusual behavior which prevented an injury or accident" (p. 215). The stamps
was later exchanged for items at redemption stores. "The implementation of the
33
token economy was followed by large reductions in the number of days lost from
work because of injuries, the number of lost-time injuries, and the cost of
accidents and injuries. The reductions in costs far exceeded the cost of operating
the token economy. All improvements were maintained over several years" (p.
215).
Response Cost
Response cost is defined as a procedure for the reduction of inappropriate
behavior through withdrawal of specific amounts of reinforcers contingent upon
the behavior's occurrence (i.e., a fine or penalty) (Cooper et al., 2007). A
response cost procedure is easily combined with other procedures, such as a token
economy procedure, to promote change in behavior. Bierman, Miller, and Stabb
(1987), Kazdin (1994), and Alberto and Troutman (2005) contend that, "a
response cost procedure is most often and effectively used in combination with a
token economy system" (p. 279).
According to Cooper et al. (2007), a response cost system possesses
several advantageous features, which makes the procedure desirable to use within
a classroom. The response cost procedure tends to produce a moderate to rapid
decrease in behavior. A response cost procedure also allows the teacher to avoid
direct confrontation with a student.
A response cost system is often compared to "toll" or a "fine" imposed
when a law or rule is broken (Alberto & Troutman, 2005). When the student
exhibits inappropriate behavior, a token is taken away from the student (Mclntyre,
34
2008). When implementing a response cost system, it is essential to reward
immediately when the next token is earned. Individuals earn tokens for exhibiting
the appropriate behavior. Therefore, tokens are only lost if the individual exhibits
inappropriate behavior. The response cost "fines" the student and takes away
previously earned tokens while at the same time the student continues to earn
more tokens for targeted appropriate behavior (Mclntyre, 2008), which results in
the token economy and response cost system working simultaneously. The
response cost strategy is often used with groups or with individuals, which makes
the strategy easy to employ within a classroom (Alberto & Troutman, 2005).
According to Lovitt (1995), research regarding the response cost
procedure indicated that "many troublesome behaviors can be reduced by peeling
away a few tokens when the undesired behavior occurs" (p. 294). Research has
suggested that the response cost procedure is a versatile strategy without the
undesirable side effects normally associated with punishment (Kazdin, 1972).
The response cost strategy is often used to address several different behaviors
such as the following: (a) rule breaking; (b) off-task behavior; (c) hyperactivity
aggressive and disruptive behaviors; (d) disruptive and off-task classroom
behaviors; (e) disruptive and obscene violations; and (0 to improve academic
performance (Alberto & Troutman, 2005). Shapiro and Derr (1987) also note that
the use of a response cost intervention decreases the number of incidents of
student aggression in school.
35
Prior to using the response cost strategy, the individual implementing the
intervention should clearly explain the expectations and procedures to the
individual or group (Zirpoli, 2005). According to Walker (1983), a response cost
program should always operate in conjunction with a token economy system.
Therefore, a list of appropriate behaviors, which lead to earning tokens and a list
of inappropriate behaviors, which lead to removal of tokens, are provided to the
participants.
Bauer, Bruno, and Millstone (2009) completed a project that involved
increasing constructive behavior of intermediate grade students with the use of the
response cost strategy. The intended outcome of this study was to document an
improvement of constructive behavior as evidenced by the decrease in student
misbehavior (i.e., talking out during instruction, continuously out of seat and
roaming, calling out, talking during instruction, not following directions,
tardiness, being unprepared for class, etc.) (Bauer et al., 2009). The researchers
found the interventions exhibited a positive effect on the targeted behaviors. By
conducting this research project, the researchers observed a dramatic increase in
constructive behaviors within the classroom (Bauer et al., 2009). The researchers
found that there was a 50% or more increase in constructive behavior. The
outcome was that students became more aware of their behaviors in the classroom
and became empowered to become responsible for their own behavior (Bauer et
al, 2009). The students responded well to the response cost procedure and their
constructive behaviors increased. The researchers also concluded that this type of
36
intervention is often an important part of a successful and empirically based
classroom management program (Bauer et al., 2009).
Research completed by Musser et al. (2001) found that the use of a token
economy along with the use of response cost reduced disruptive classroom
behavior in three school-aged students with social and emotional disorders. Wade
(1974) found the same results when completing his research. He found that
inappropriate behaviors decreased from a mean of 6.8 times per session to 0.9
times during the first 10 days of intervention when using positive reinforcement
(i.e., a token economy) and response cost. The 10-year-old boy in Wade's study
earned plastic coins for good behavior and lost coins for inappropriate behavior.
As discussed earlier, Cavalier et al. (1997) noted the successful use of a
token economy with students with ADHD. McGoey and DuPaul (2000) also
conducted research with students with ADHD. The difference between the two
studies included the addition of a response cost procedure. McGoey and DuPaul
(2000) found that the effects of a token reinforcement and a response cost
intervention reduced the disruptive behavior of four preschool children with
ADHD. Both interventions were rated as highly acceptable by the preschool
teachers. It was further noted by McGoey and DuPaul (2000) that the teachers
expressed a preference for the response cost procedure rather than the token
economy.
This intervention preference for response cost approaches and token
economy procedures was also shown in another study completed by Rickman and
37
Motzenbecker (19%). Their study examined the effects of using response cost in
combination with positive reinforcement procedures in helping two second-grade
students with ADHD maintain their attention in the classroom. Their study
involved the loss of reinforcers/points contingent upon inappropriate behavior
displayed in the classroom. The students could also earn reinforcers/points for
displaying appropriate behavior. Results indicated mat measures of hyperactivity
for both subjects showed significant decreases from the baseline to the end of the
treatment phases. "Significant decreases also occurred in measures of conduct
problems and emotional indulgence for one child" (Rickman & Motzenbecker,
19%, p. 2). The program was viewed by the classroom teacher as an effective
and easily administered alternative to pharmacotherapy (Rickman &
Motzenbecker, 19%). Rickman and Motzenbecker (19%) also noted that the
subjects appeared to enjoy the program and believed that it helped them pay
attention in the classroom.
Rapport, Murphy, and Bailey (1982) also completed a within-subject
comparison of the effects of Ritalin© medication and response cost in reducing
off-task behaviors of two boys, ages seven and eight, diagnosed with ADHD.
Several dosages of the Ritalin© medication were evaluated, but the response cost
with free-time as a reinforcer, was noted as a more superior treatment in raising
levels of on-task behavior and raising academic performance (Rapport et al.,
1982).
38
Further research in the area of response cost by Eisen and Eisen (1973)
found that a junior high class of 12 students with cognitive deficits displayed an
increase in appropriate classroom behaviors after the implementation of a token
reinforcement and response cost program that allowed students to earn points for
positive behaviors but lose points for negative behaviors. Target behaviors
included talking, noise, and disturbing others. Another study by Proctor and
Morgan (1991) found similar results. Results by Proctor and Morgan (1991)
indicated that a response cost procedure was effective in classroom management
for increasing appropriate behavior and decreasing disruptive behavior with
students with mild to moderate behavior problems. Prior to the implementation of
procedure by Proctor and Morgan (1991), the classroom peers displayed highly
variable rates of appropriate classroom behavior. Upon implementation of the
response cost procedure, participants demonstrated an increase in appropriate
behavior, while peer behavior remained variable.
Response cost, along with token economy reinforcement, is also found
useful in the general education setting when attempting to reduce disruptive
behaviors. De Martini-Scully, Bray, and Kehle (2000) found that during baseline,
the percentage of intervals that the students evidenced disruptive behaviors
averaged 41%. This percentage of intervals that the students evidenced disruptive
behavior was reduced to an average of 20% during treatment. They also noted
that during the withdrawal phase, disruptive intervals only increased to an average
39
of 25%, and the reinstatement of the intervention resulted in a further reduction of
disruptive intervals back down to 20% (De Martini-Scully et al., 2000).
James (1981) combined a response cost contingency with a time-out from
speaking technique in an attempt to increase the reliability with which a subject
who stuttered "timed himself out from speaking" and increased speaking fluency.
The results of the research indicated positive results with respect to the use of
self-initiated time-out from speaking as a self-control procedure for stuttering and
stuttering-related interjections (James, 1981). Contingent "time-out from
speaking" showed a marked effect on the reductions in stuttering for this
individual (James, 1981).
Response cost has also been used in reducing self-injurious behaviors in
children. Van Houten (1993) demonstrated that placing 0.68 kg weights on wrists
of an adolescent boy with developmental delays and autistic features contingent
on the display of inappropriate and self-injurious behavior essentially eliminated
self-injurious face slapping. Van Houten (1993) noted mat "the instant reduction
in self-injury, following that application of the weights, suggested that they may
have reduced face slaps primarily through the increased response effort required"
(p. 198).
Response cost is also used with children with sleep problems/sleep
disturbances. Piazza and Fisher (1991) researched four individuals with
developmental delays and longstanding severe sleep disturbances. They found
that using a faded bedtime procedure, along with response cost, bedtimes became
40
systematically delayed for each individual participating in the study. The
response cost component, consisting of removing the individual from bed for one
hour, was implemented when the individual did not experience short latency
related to sleep onset (Piazza & Fisher, 1991). Then a fading procedure was
applied successfully to improve the compliance with bedtime routines and to
gradually increase durations of sleep with the child (Piazza & Fisher, 1991). The
parents of the individuals in this research study also reported a high degree of
satisfaction with the subjects' treatment outcome. Reduction in night wakings
decreased the need for nighttime parental supervision, which also let the parents
enjoy a longer duration of sleep at night. Several parents also reported that
children who refused to go to bed in the past began requesting to go to bed by
either pointing of gesturing as a means of communicating their desire. The
children were more likely to stay in their own beds, as opposed to wanting to
sleep in their parents' bed, and the children were complying with their target
bedtimes when the response cost procedures were implemented (Piazza & Fisher,
1991).
A response cost strategy has also been used in studies in what are
considered as non-educational settings as well. Epstein and Masek (1978) used a
response cost strategy to enhance behavioral control of medication compliance
with patients at a medical clinic. The response cost in this study was the return of
the subject's monetary deposit only if a preset compliance criterion related to
taking their appropriate medication was met. The implementation of response
41
cost during the study was associated with a marked improvement in compliance
(Epstein & Masek, 1978).
McSweeny (1978) discussed the efficacy of response cost procedures used
with a large subject population in the natural environment regarding social and
business problems. McS weeny (1978) noted that the number of directoryassistance calls made on an average business day in Cincinnati, Ohio, area
decreased markedly after the 20-cent charge for directory assistance was
introduced. Prior to that, the cost of directory assistance was financed entirely
from the general revenues of the telephone companies. McS weeny (1978) further
stated that response cost procedures "are appealing not only because of their
efficacy but also because they fit out notions about 'justice'; those who use (or
abuse) pay" (p. 50).
Van Houten, Nau, and Merrigan (1981) described how a "door-opening
delay" (which was the response cost) significantly reduced die use of elevators,
and therefore, reduced energy consumption in their study. White, Paine-Andrews,
Mathews, and Fawcett (1995) described the effects of access modifications to
home entrances of people with physical disabilities on the number of their
reported community outings. Overall, the authors noted that die participants
relied less on others for assistance when exiting their homes and used the ramps
that were installed to increase self-independence. This effect of the response cost
to the individual when access is delayed due to structural impairments and then
subsequent modifications to improve accessibility was true for most of die people
42
that participated in the study, but did decrease for a few due to other out-lying
variables once the ramps were installed (White et al., 1995).
Further research regarding response cost completed in non-educational
settings include that of Rogers, Rogers, and Bailey (1988). Rogers, et al. (1988)
conducted a study on safety belt use among occupants of state-owned vehicles in
three Florida agencies. If the occupants did not wear their safety belt and were
involved in an accident, they received a consequence of a 25% reduction in
benefits. The researchers found that safety belt use went from 10.8%, 9.4%, and
9.7% during baseline to 57.4%, 47.0%, and 38.0% during intervention (Rogers et
al., 1988).
The Use of a Token Economy in a Psychiatric Setting or Psychiatric Alternative
School Setting
Research shows that the use of a token economy in a psychiatric setting
tends to focus on adult patient intervention. LeComte et al. (2000) noted that
"reinforcers, if properly delivered, can optimize the value of treatment in the
clients' eyes and can increase their acquisition of skills, attainment of goals, and
feelings of self-efficacy" (p. 1314). Bellus et al. (1999) researched the use of a
token economy with cognitively impaired, chronic psychiatric patients. Bellus et
al. (1999) found that the use of a token economy significantly lowered rates of
aggression and self-injurious behavior for a duration of one to two years. A token
economy was also applied as a behavioral intervention with overweight paranoid
schizophrenic patients in a psychiatric setting. Upper and Newton (1971) used a
43
token economy intervention with this specific population in order to successfully
achieve weight loss. Further psychiatric use of a token economy was
demonstrated in a study by LePage (1999). LePage's research supported the use
of a token economy in an acute psychiatric setting with patients between the ages
of 18 and 20. The use of a token economy decreased the occurences of negative
events on the psychiatric treatment unit from 129 to 73, resulting in a 43%
reduction in assaultive or other harmful behaviors.
Another study performed in a psychiatric setting by Fuoco, Lawrence, and
Vernon (1988) involved 24 adult residential psychiatric patients. The study
investigated the effects of token reinforcement, verbal praise, and self-monitoring
on post-treatment performance of bedroom preparation tasks. The researchers
found that the participants who received contingent token reinforcement and
verbal praise significantly increased bedroom preparation tasks. However, die
participants who received token reinforcement and self-monitoring did not exhibit
an increase in bedroom preparation tasks.
Although the use of a token economy shows a significant impact on adults
and children with serious mental illness who participate in inpatient and
community treatment programs, the intervention is not widely adopted by such
programs (Corrigan, 1995). Very little research could be identified regarding the
use of a token economy with youth in psychiatric settings. One study involved
the use of a token economy for youth not responding to treatment in a family-style
residential care program. The research completed by Field et al. (2004) "showed
44
substantial improvement" in the youths' behavior (i.e., decline of intense
behavioral episodes) (p. 452).
Another study by Moore, Tingstrom, Doggett, and Carl yon (2001) noted
that their study focused on the restructuring of an existing token economy in a
psychiatric facility for children. They restructured an existing token economy in
order to focus on increased point-earning and decreased daily trips to seclusion,
which refers to some form of isolation. Their research found mat the time
between receipt of the token reinforcers and the opportunity to exchange tokens
for back-up reinforcers directly influenced the token economy's effectiveness.
The schedule of reinforcement increased patient responsiveness to the token
economy system.
There are three advantages of a token economy, according to Cooper et al.
(2007). They are as follows: (a) "tokens bridge the time gap between the
occurrence of the behavior and delivery of a backup reinforcer", or a token may
be earned during the afternoon, but the backup reinforcer is not awarded until the
next morning; (b)"tokens bridge the setting gap between the behavior and the
delivery of the backup reinforcer", or tokens earned in the general education
setting in the morning could be exchanged for token earned in the special
education setting in the afternoon; and (c) "as generalized conditions reinforcers,
tokens make the management of motivation less critical for the behavior analyst"
or researcher (p. 566).
45
There are also further considerations when using a token economy.
Cooper et al. (2007) discussed how token systems can be intrusive. Token
economy systems take time, energy, and resources to effectively implement in the
classroom or home environment. Token systems are also self perpetuating.
When the token program works well, the researcher or analyst does not tend to
want to remove the system. Learners then continue to work for reinforcement that
is not normally available in their natural environment.
According to Cooper et al. (2007), response cost display several features
that make it desirable to use in applied settings: its moderate-to-rapid effects on
decreasing behavior, its convenience, and its ability to be combined it with other
approaches/procedures (i.e., fines, positive reinforcement, etc.). Response cost
procedures also exhibit some important points that need consideration before full
implementation. Cooper et al. (2007) noted that response-contigent withdrawal of
positive reinforcers may increase student verbal and physical aggressiveness. The
student may also avoid the environment where the response-cost is taking place.
Also, the response-contingent withdrawal of positive reiforcers for one behavior
can affect the frequency of other behaviors as well, causing further issues or
inappropriate behaviors to occur.
Summary
This chapter discussed literature and research related to the
implementation of a token economy program with all age groups in many
different types of settings. Discussion regarding students with emotional and
46
behavioral disorders and the successful use of a token economy with preschool
children through adult-aged individuals was reflected in numerous cited studies.
The implementation of a token economy with students with emotional and
behavioral disabilities remains limited. Weeks (n.d.) noted that "there needs to be
more new research about the use of a token economy, specifically in dealing with
students with emotional and behavioral disorders" (para. 10).
Chapter One introduced and described a token economy. Chapter Two
discussed the wide variety of literature that is available in regard to the use of a
token economy system with individuals in all types of settings. Chapter Three
will reexamine the research questions and define the population and sample size
of the study. The instrumentation, data collection, and data summary procedures
are also discussed. Chapter Four will discuss the research study's statistical data
and results, and Chapter Five will discuss die results in narrative form.
47
CHAPTER III
Methodology
This chapter discusses the population, setting, human subjects, informed
consent, and dependent measures. Measures of interobserver reliability (i.e., also
known as interobserver agreement), procedural integrity (internal consistency)
and consumer satisfaction of both students and treatment staff (social validity) are
discussed. Finally, the experimental designs, along with general and specific
procedures, are discussed.
Research Questions
The experimental questions addressed within this chapter are as follows:
1. What is the relative effectiveness of a token economy and modified
response cost system on the daily on-task behavior of high school
students diagnosed with emotional and behavioral disabilities in an
alternative school setting located in a residential psychiatric hospital
during their designated school time?
2. What is the summative effectiveness of a token economy and
response cost system exhibit on the number of intervals of on-task
behavior for a high school student diagnosed with emotional and
behavioral disabilities during his enrollment in the alternative school
during their admission to a state psychiatric hospital?
3. What relative summative effectiveness of the token economy and
response cost system on the percentage of assignments completed per
48
experimental condition for a student diagnosed with emotional and
behavioral disabilities during his enrollment in the alternative school
during their admission to a state psychiatric hospital?
4. Are the definitions of the behavior and measurement system for daily
and weekly assignment completion a reliable measurement procedure?
5. Will the procedural integrity measures of the token economy system,
combined with response cost procedures, ensure fidelity of the
intervention implementation?
6. What are the relative effects that the token economy and response cost
system exhibit on the perceptions of the students related to the
effectiveness and importance of an intervention system of this nature?
Population
One ninth-grade, male student with an emotional and behavioral disorder
(i.e., E/BD) and/or challenging behaviors participated in the study. The student
attended class in the self-contained classroom in order to address individual
challenging behaviors. Students enrolled in this classroom most often qualified
for special education services and exhibit behaviors relating to substance abuse,
mental illness, and behavioral difficulties (i.e., conduct problems, defiance,
disrespect, classroom disruptions, attentional difficulties, hyperactivity, etc.).
Subject selection was a sample of convenience; die student already attended die
self-contained classroom at die start of die study.
49
The student in this study qualified in die Emotional Disturbance category
under die Individuals with Disabilities Educational Improvement Act 2004 by
meeting die following criteria as noted in Chapter II under die emotional
disturbance category. The frequency, duration, and severity of inappropriate
behaviors have a significant impact on die student's academic performance in all
academic areas.
Specific ability, academic, and behavioral information regarding the subject of
diis study is as follows (See Tables 1 and 2):
Qualitative Description
Average
Average
Low Average
Borderline
Low Average
Composite Score
102
94
83
73
87
Scale
Verbal Comprehension
Perceptual Reasoning
Working Memory
Processing Speed
Full Scale
Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - 4,h Edition (WISC-IV)
Table 1
50
94
123
Standard Score
Oral Language
Subtests
109
107
81
83
105
103
111
127
Reading Comprehension
Pseudoword Decoding
Numerical Operations
Math Reasoning
Spelling
Written Expression
Listening Comprehension
Oral Expression
97
61
104
Written Language
Word Reading
9
80
Mathematics
12.4
6.5
7.2
10.4
68
10
13
63
11.7
12.9+
77
96
10.4
12.9+
73
58
8.7
Grade Equivalent
42
Percentile RanK
55
102
Reading
Percentile RanK
Standard Score
Composite
Wechsler Individual Achievement Test, Second Edition (WIAT- II)
Table 2
51
52
Two behavioral assessments were used in the diagnoses of Emotional
Disturbance. Behavioral assessments called the Achenbach System of Empirically
Based Assessment Child Behavior Checklist (CBC) and the Behavior Assessment
System for Children, Second Edition, (BASC -2) were administered to the student
noting clinical elevations across the following domains: anxious/depressed, social
problems, thought problems, attention problems, rule-breaking behavior,
aggressive behavior, internalizing behavior, externalizing behavior, affective
problems, anxiety problems, ADHD, hyperactivity, and conduct problems
(Achenbach & Rescorla, 2001; Reynolds & Kampphaus, 2004).
Prior to collecting data, permission was acquired from the facility in which
the study took place (i.e., state psychiatric setting). See Appendix B for a copy of
the letter of permission and support from the chief administrative officer of the
facility. Permission was acquired from the building administrator, and the
researcher went the facility's own Human Subjects Committee as well. The
individual's guardian also granted permission, and the individual gave assent to
participate in the study. See Appendix C to see a copy of the guardian's
permission slip and informed consent letter used in this study.
Setting
This study took place at a state psychiatric hospital setting. This facility is
a locked residential setting that serves individuals who are mentally ill or
chemically dependent throughout the state, ages 12 to those in geriatric long-term
53
care. The psychiatric level of care ranges from an acute stay to long-term
custodial care. The acute stay level of care is where an initial assessment is
completed and a treatment program is developed along with discharge plans. The
acute treatment program promotes and facilitates the patients' independent
functioning in daily activities. Emphasis at the acute care level is placed on
providing care, treatment, and rehabilitation services that will enable the patient to
return and function in the community at the earliest possible time. Longer-term
psychiatric rehabilitation programming, or custodial care, provides services for
patients who are coping with persistent mental illness and need to remain at the
hospital for longer periods of time. The goal of treatment is to develop and
initiate individualized treatment and discharge plans, provide effective treatment,
and to support the patient in the transition to home or another appropriate
placement setting. The hospital also provides inpatient chemical dependency
treatment for adults and adolescents. Length of hospitalization is based on the
needs of the individual patient. The mission of this facility is to provide
individuals who are mentally ill or chemically dependent with effective,
individualized, professional treatment that enables them to achieve their highest
level of personal independence in the most therapeutic environment.
The sessions were conducted within a self-contained classroom in an
alternative school within the psychiatric hospital. The classroom served a very
small population of students who are unsuccessful in the alternative school
regular classroom setting. The student to teacher ratio in this classroom was
54
approximately 3 to 1. A certified special education teacher staffs this selfcontained classroom on a full-time basis, and a special education paraprofessional
is available on a part-time basis.
The classroom was approximately 20 ft. x 19 ft. (65.6 m x 62.32 m). The
classroom contained one student table or conference table (4 ft. x 6 ft.; 13.12 m x
19.68 m) that was surrounded by four chairs. The teacher's desk was in the shape
of a "square L", and is approximately 3.5 ft. x 3.5 ft. (11.48 m x 11.48 m), with a
width of about 2 ft. (6.56 m). The east side of the classroom was arranged with
five large wooden storage cupboards. The west side of the classroom consisted of
a refrigerator, a small student desk with a chair, and large white board that was
approximately 4 ft. x 8 ft. (13.12 m x 26.24 m) and posted on the wall. The north
side of the classroom possessed two filing cabinets, a large computer table with
two computers, a large bookshelf, and one student desk with a chair. Located
above the computer table was a large window, which was approximately 3 ft. x 3
ft. (9.84 m x 9.84 m) with Venetian blinds. Above the student desk was a bulletin
board, which is 3 ft. x 3 ft. (9.84 m x 9.84 m). The south side of the classroom
contains an entry door. A small bookshelf set to the right of the entry door, and a
bulletin board set to the left of the entry door. The bulletin board was
approximately 2 ft. x 3 ft. (6.56 m x 9.84 m). The classroom was carpeted and
well lit by fluorescent lighting. Figure 1 illustrated the arrangement of the room.
55
w
Teacher
I
£
Bookshelf
Bulletin Board
!DL
Figure 1. Setting for this Study.
Doorway
Bulletin
Board &
Student
Desk
56
The alternative school's educational program within the psychiatric
hospital provided a continuum of academic services on behalf of a student's home
school. Three regular education teachers and one special education teacher
provided all the instruction to meet the needs of a diverse student population. All
teachers are employed by the state psychiatric hospital. Under the approved
Department of Education alternative school guidelines, classroom teachers do not
need to meet the qualifications of "highly qualified". All teachers maintain
certification with the Department of Education. The female special education
teacher, or researcher, was in charge of the self-contained classroom where the
study took place. Three male high school teachers were located in a classroom
near the self-contained classroom. Two female middle school teachers are located
in a classroom in another area of the psychiatric hospital. General content (i.e.,
English, math, science, social studies, etc.) are taught in all grades. The school's
student-to-teacher ratio is small. Two school sessions take place throughout the
day and serve 15 to 20 students. Each school session lasts for approximately two
hours and 45 minutes and runs from 8:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:45
p.m., respectively.
Dependent Measures
The following two dependent variables were studied: (a) the percentage of
time a student is on-task during a two hour and 45 minute school session,
excluding school break, and (b) the percentage of passing assignments completed
per week.
The Percentage of Time a Student is On-task
On-task behavior is defined as when a student is actively engaging in a
specified learning activity (Levin & Nolan, 2006). The opposite, off-task
behavior, according to Levin and Nolan (2006), was defined as when a student is
not actively engaging in a specified learning activity.
For the purposes of this study, the student was considered on-task if the
participant maintained his or her focus toward the activity, the student was
appropriately participating in the activity, and the student possessed the needed
materials in the appropriate position (i.e., appropriate textbook, paper, pencil, etc.)
to participate in the assignment or activity. The student was considered off-task
when the student refrained from focusing his or her attention on the assignment,
was out of his or her seat, or engaged in other inappropriate behaviors. Off-task
behavior did not include excused time away from the classroom (i.e., using the
restroom, leaving the classroom with a treatment unit staff, etc.). Interruptions in
classroom attendance resulting from treatment-oriented counseling, appointments,
etc., fall beyond the purview of the study.
Each participant's school session will be video taped. The video tape
recorder was placed in a position in which all the participants can be recorded and
viewed. A participant was not recorded if he or she left the classroom or moved
out of the view of the video recorder. Observations were videotaped and scored
at the end of each school day.
58
Each two hour and 45 minute school session was video taped. The video
tape recorder was placed in a position in which all the participants are viewed and
recorded. The only time a participant was recorded is if they left the classroom or
moved out of the view of the video recorder. Observations were videotaped and
were scored at the end the day.
Each observation session began after students entered the classroom at the
beginning of the school session. Upon the start of the session, the observer started
a 5-minute timer. From that point, each time the timer sounded (every 5minutes), the observer paused the VCR, observed the students, recorded whether
the target students were on-task or off-task, reset the timer, and then started the
timer and VCR again. The procedure continued for 15 intervals, each for 5
minutes in duration, during the two hour and 45 minute class session. The
observer was able to identify which interval was recorded by following the
intervals data collection sheet (see Appendix D). The observer started recording
student behavior after the first 5 minutes of class and stopped 5 minutes before the
class was completed.
Within the study, on-task and off-task behaviors were measured using a
momentary time sampling procedure. According to Cooper et al. (2007)
momentary time sampling is defined as the recording of the presence or absence
of a behavior immediately following a specified time interval. A 5-minute
interval was used as the time sampling interval. The 5-minute interval was
chosen based on the rate of attending during the 15 observation intervals during
one observation/school session. At the end of each 5-minute interval, the
researcher immediately recorded a plus sign (+) or a minus sign (-). A plus sign
(+) indicated that the participant was on-task. A minus sign (-) indicated that the
participant was off-task.
The observer observed a total of 75-minutes of the 165-minute class
period. Fifteen observations occurred within the 75-minute observation period.
The total number of intervals divided by the number of intervals of on-task
behavior in a given session determined the percentage of on-task behavior for
each session.
The Percentage of Passing Assignments Completed Per Week
An assignment was considered passing if a score of 70% accuracy
(i.e., D-) or better is earned on the assignment. Each participant's percentage of
assignments accurately completed was recorded each day. The daily percentages
for each student of accurately completed assignments was averaged to determine
the weekly percentage. The weekly percentage of assignments completed was the
percentage used in this study to represent assignment completion.
Interobserver Reliability
Interobserver reliability, also referred to as interobserver agreement, is
necessary when the observer is a human rather than an automated observation
format (Cooper et al., 2007). According to Cooper et al. (2007), interobserver
agreement is derived from the comparison of data from two observers, the
primary observer and the independent observer.
The primary observer for this study was a special secondary education
alternative school teacher. The second independent observer will be trained prior
to the data collection. Using the same data collection procedures as the primary
observer, the primary observer will train the second independent observer to
observe and record the behaviors of the selected students.
The primary observer trained the independent observer by providing
demonstration and allowing the independent observer an opportunity to practice.
The primary observer began the training by explaining on-task and off-task
behavior as defined in the study. The primary observer verbally provided
different scenarios to the independent observer and allowed the independent
observer to decide if the student in the scenario was on-task or off-task. When the
primary observer was confident that die independent observer understood the
measurement procedures and the independent observer felt ready, the training
session continued.
Next, the primary observer trained the independent observer to use the
timer (i.e., set/reset feature) and the VCR (i.e., pause/play mechanism). The
independent observer practiced starting the VCR and timer simultaneously.
Finally, the independent observer was trained how to record the data on the data
collection form (see Appendix D). Directions for recording the behavior were
included on the form for the independent observer to refer to during the study.
The independent observer was encouraged to ask for clarification on any of the
procedures explained.
61
Interobserver reliability is calculated by comparing the number of
agreements in scoring, on a session-by-session basis, between the primary
researcher and the independent observer for both on-task behavior and assignment
completion. Once the comparison of agreement scores are made between the
primary researcher and the independent observer, interobserver reliability is
calculated by dividing the total number of agreements by the total number of
agreements plus disagreements (i.e., total number of session compared) to
determine a percentage of interobserver reliability. If the overall interobserver
reliability measure for an individual session drops below 70%, a minimum level
of reliability recommended by authorities in the field (i.e., Barlow & Hersen,
1984; Cooper et al., 2007; Johnston & Pennypacker, 1993; Kazdin, 1994; Tawney
& Gast, 19S4), the researcher and independent observer will sit down and review
the individual session and the definitions of the target behavior, discuss potential
discrepancies between intervals based upon their agreements and/or
disagreements, and recalibrate their observation and data collection procedures
through re-training to assure a higher level of reliability in subsequent research
sessions.
Procedural integrity is calculating the total number of checkmarks that
correspond to the procedural integrity data collection checklist (Appendix E) with
the total number of possible checkmarks on this checklist. The checkmarks on the
procedural integrity data collection checklist represent the number of steps that
the independent observer recorded as implemented correctly in any given session.
62
The number of checkmarks made by the independent observer divided by the total
number of checkmarks possible on the data collection checklist results in a
percentage that represents the overall implementation fidelity of the experimental
conditions. If the overall percentage measure of procedural integrity drops below
95%, the primary researcher and the independent observer will review the
respective session together, discuss potential discrepancies from the procedural
integrity checklist, and develop a joint plan to assure that the experimental
procedures are implemented correctly.
Procedural Integrity
According to Cooper et al. (2007), procedural integrity (treatment
integrity) needs to be measured by an independent observer. The independent
observer observes die primary observer implementing the intervention to ensure
mat the intervention procedures are implemented as described in the research.
During 20% of the sessions, the independent observer observed and recorded how
well the researcher implemented the experimental procedures via videotape.
During the observation the independent observer followed the provided checklist
to ensure that the researcher followed the appropriate procedures during the
intervention and the non-intervention phases (see Appendix E). The checklist is
given to the independent observer along with the randomly selected taped session.
Before the independent observer observed the sessions, the primary observer
explained the checklist and demonstrated how to complete the checklist.
63
Directions for the checklist are also given to the independent observer for
reference.
The randomly selected sessions were the same session as the sessions
chosen for interobserver reliability. Therefore, the independent observer only
needed one videotaped session per fidelity check ensuring no "mixing up" of
videotaped sessions. When the independent observer completed die checklist, die
checklist is returned to die primary observer. The primary observer retained the
checklist until die conclusion of die study.
Experimental Design
A single-subject research ABAB reversal design was used to compare die
effects of me token economy and response cost condition related to die percentage
of time on-task and percentage of time assignments completed (Gay & Airasian,
2003; Johnston & Pennypacker, 1993; McMillan, 2004). The ABAB reversal
design consisted of a baseline, implementation of die intervention, a return to
baseline (also know as a wididrawal of die intervention), and a re-introduction of
die intervention condition. The researcher and die independent observer
conducted ongoing observations and data collection of students' performance
during each condition. No specific intervention focusing on improving die
students' on-task behavior or die assignment completion was implemented during
die baseline condition. Implementation of die token economy and response cost
intervention began after a steady state was established across die participating
students during die original baseline condition (i.e., A1 = Baseline1). The token
64
economy and response cost intervention were withdrawn once a steady state was
established during the first treatment condition (i.e., B1 = Intervention Condition1)
returning the participants to a baseline condition (i.e., A2 = Baseline2). The return
to baseline (i.e., A = Baseline ) was closely monitored and as soon as the on-task
behavior and assignment completion of the participating students began to
deteriorate, the token economy was reintroduced (i.e., B2 = Intervention
Condition2) resulting in the replication of the original intervention condition.
After reintroduction of the second token economy condition, die researcher
conducts follow-up probes (i.e., follow-up condition) to assess for maintenance of
the token economy and response cost interventionrelatedto the percentage of ontask behavior and assignment completion after the conclusion of the formal data
collection. Data collection took place over an 80-day time period. The first 30
days were used to collect Baseline A.
There were six days mat data was not collected because the individual
could not attend school those days due to his restriction to the treatment unit
and/or transfer to a more intensive treatment unit for further direct care and
evaluation. The next 28 days were used to collect Intervention A. The following
22 days were used to collect Baseline B. On day 23, the individual was
discharged from the hospital. As aresult,Invention B was not implemented due
to subject morbidity.
Procedures
General Procedures
Each school session began with students gathering their needed materials
for their first academic task. Each student studies an individualized curriculum
with individualized assignments. There is the possibility that one student in the
classroom is enrolled in Biology, Literature, and Basic Math, while another is
enrolled in World Geography, Grammar, and Pre-Algebra. The student decides
which subject or assignment to begin first and is required to complete at least one
assignment from each of the content areas in which he or she is enrolled. If he or
she does not choose an assignment to work on, the teacher assigns the order in
which he or she will complete the assigned work. Students work independently
during the school session and ask for academic guidance from the teacher as
needed. Fifteen minutes of the school session is reserved for "DEAR" (Drop
Everything and Read) time. Students engage in silent reading or listening to a
book on compact disc (i.e., CD) or tape during this time. Another 15 minutes is
designated for school break. During the school break, students may talk at leisure
during this time, use the restroom, read the newspaper, or play a computer game.
The intervention (i.e., token economy) was implemented to augment the
content of the lesson taught during mis class period. The intervention was
designed to increase on-task behavior and assignment/task completion.
Intervention Procedures
The intervention implemented is a token economy system combined with
a response cost procedure in which classroom cash is used as the token. A token
economy, as defined by Kerr and Nelson (1998), is "a behavior management
system involving reinforcers, in the form of tokens, earned for exhibiting desired
academic or social behaviors. The tokens were exchanged for back-up reinforcers
of a predetermined value" (p. 113). A response cost procedure, according to
Cooper et al. (2007), reduces inappropriate behavior through withdrawal of
specific amounts of reinforcers contingent upon the behavior's occurrence (i.e.,
fine or penalty) for incidents of inappropriate behavior. Although the token
economy strategy is shown as an effective intervention when used alone; a
multicomponent approach may increase the effectiveness of the intervention in
this setting (Cooper et al., 2007).
The rational for using a multicomponent intervention is based on the
assumption that all interventions are often effective when used alone; however,
the effectiveness may increase when combined with another effective intervention
(Kehle, Bray, Theodore, Jenson, & Clark, 2000). According to Kehle et al.
(2000), the multicomponent intervention is teacher-friendly and cost effective. A
multicomponent intervention is often employed in a variety of classrooms and
several different interventions are often combined to produce the desired results
(Kehle et al., 2000).
67
This study is a systematic replication study of Ward-Maguire's study that
was completed in 2005. Participating students in the self-contained classroom are
paid $3.00 in play money if they do not receive a minus sign during the two hour
and 45 minute observation period. If a student is recorded as off-task 1 to 2 times
(received 1 to 2 minus signs), the student only earns $2.00 in play money. A
student who is recorded as off-task 3 to 4 times (received 3 to 4 minus signs)
during the observation period earns only $1.00 in classroom cash. If the student is
recorded as off-task 5 or more times (received 5 or more minus signs) during the
observation period, the student does not receive any classroom cash (i.e., play
money). The students will be able to spend his or her earned classroom cash
either during school break or during the last five minutes of each school session.
The student is responsible for keeping track of the money that he or she earns. A
list of possible purchases or back-up reinforcers is posted in the classroom for
students to read. Students are only allowed to make transactions when die
teacher/researcher is present, and the teacher will serve as "the banker".
Social Validity
Social validity or consumer satisfaction was addressed by die use of a 3point Likert-type scale survey that was created by the researcher (Appendix F).
The researcher used similar survey questions to those created by Ward-Maguire
(2005). Social validity is an important component, as it shows whether or not the
individuals who were ostensibly being helped were convinced that die
intervention procedures were acceptable and effective (Kaufman, 2005).
Individuals completing the survey were to choose from yes, somewhat, or no as
potential responses to each question. The participants completed the survey
anonymously at the conclusion of the study. Surveys were given to each student
who participated and were completed during the class period. All participants
completed the survey and were given one school session to complete and return
the survey. The students completing the survey were instructed to return the
survey to the primary observer's classroom assistant. The assistant placed the
completed surveys inside a sealed envelope. The assistant was given a list of
names of those individuals completing the survey. When all of the surveys were
completed, the assistant discarded the list of names and returned the envelope to
the primary observer, ensuring confidentiality and anonymity of those responding
to the questionnaire. The final analysis of social validity or consumer satisfaction
is located in the Appendix.
Data Analysis
Student behavior and student assignment completion are summarized in
frequency tables and graphs representing individual student performance.
Individual medians, ranges, and cumulative medians and ranges of students'
performance related to classroom behavior and assignment completion are
summarized in a tabular format and described in a narrative format. Medians and
ranges are recommended by Johnston and Pennypacker (1993) as the measures of
central tendency for single subject research designs to eliminate outlying data
points as well as providing a representative level of performance for analysis of
steady state responding. Procedural integrity, as well as interobserver reliability
results, are reported using tables and narrative. Social validity is reported using a
table from written survey results.
Summary
This chapter discussed the population and setting, procedures, and
dependent measures. Measures of interobserver reliability (i.e., also known as
interobserver agreement), procedural integrity (internal consistency) and
consumer satisfaction (social validity) are discussed. Finally, the experimental
designs, along with general and specific intervention procedures, are explained.
70
CHAPTER IV
Results
Overview
This chapter presents the results of the study evaluating the effects of a
token economy system on a student's classroom behavior and assignment
completion. Student behavior and student assignment completion are summarized
in this section in a graph representing individual student performance. Medians,
ranges, and overall averages of student performance related to classroom behavior
and assignment completion are also summarized in a narrative format. Procedural
integrity as well as interobserver reliability results are described. A summary of
the social validity survey is provided in die last section of the chapter. Student
comments are summarized and described as well.
Research Question #1: Results of the relative effectiveness of a token
economy and modified response cost system on the daily on-task behavior of
high school students diagnosed with emotional and behavioral disabilities in
an alternative school setting located in a residential psychiatric hospital
during their designated school time.
Overall Results of the Effectiveness of Token Economies on On-task Behavior
Baseline I condition was implemented for 30 days. Baseline I could not
be implemented for six out of those 30 days due to student absence. Within die
first diirty days (i.e., Baseline I) steady-state responding was used to establish a
baseline for die student's baseline behavior prior to me implementation of any
71
intervention (Cooper et al., 2007). During the intervention condition, two
intervention stages were used. These conditions were called Intervention I and
Intervention II. During this time, the implementation of the token economy
intervention was completed for a total of 28 days. During the first 13 days, the
response to the intervention was lower than anticipated, and the token reinforcers
were changed to meet the student's individual preferences. This caused a phase
change line within the data (See Figure 2) and led to the condition of Intervention
II. Intervention II took place for IS days. There was a significant increase in ontask behavior between Intervention I and Intervention II.
Condition Baseline II took place for 22 days. Baseline II could not be
implemented for two days of the 22 days due to subject absence. During die
beginning of the condition, the data notes a slight transfer from the Intervention II
condition (Cooper et al., 2007). This transfer maintains the same data direction
left over from the Intervention II condition. Later, the data shows deterioration,
where the on-task behavior consistently decreases due to the absence of the
intervention condition (Cooper et al., 2007). On day 23 of Baseline II, the subject
was discharged from the facility resulting in subject morbidity. As a result,
another intervention condition could not be implemented.
See Figure 2 to see the student's number of intervals of daily on-task
behavior across baseline and intervention conditions.
4-
A^\
Intervention I
Intervention II
Baseline II
.~r
Student
Sessions
1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 45 47 49 51 53 55 57 59 61 63 65 67 69 71 73
i—n—i—i—i—n—i—i—i—n—i—i—i—n—rff—i—i—i—i—I i i—i—i—i—r-1—i—i—i—i—i—i—i—i—r—i—i—i—i—rn—i—i—i—n—1—i—n—i—i—i—i i i I//I—i—i—n—i—i—i—n—i—i
I//I
Baseline I
Figure 2. Number of Intervals of Daily On-Task Behavior Across Baseline and Intervention Conditions.
4-
6
8 -
10
12 -I
14
16
72
73
Research Question #2: Results of the summative effectiveness of a token
economy and response cost system related to the number of intervals ofontask behavior with a high school student diagnosed with emotional and
behavioral disabilities during his enrollment in the alternative school during
their admission to a state psychiatric hospital.
Overall Median and Ranges ofOn-task Behavior
The data in Table 1 and from individual data shown in Figure 2 indicated
the token economy system was moderately effective across time when used to
decrease student off-task behavior. The overall median number of occurrences of
on-task behavior for the participant during the initial baseline (i.e., Baseline I)
was 5, with the overall range for the number of occurrences from 4 to 12 for ontask behavior. The overall median number of occurrences of on-task behavior for
the participant during the initial intervention (i.e., Intervention I) was 10, with the
overall range for the number of occurrences from 8 to 11 for on-task behavior.
The researcher then changed reinforcers in order to specifically meet the needs of
the individual student and to further motivate the student in the research process.
A phase change, or Intervention II, was implemented. The overall median
number of occurrences of off-task behavior for the participant during the second
intervention (i.e., Intervention II) was 12, with an overall range for the number of
occurrences from 10 to 14 for on-task behavior during this condition. The overall
median number of occurrences of off-task behavior for the participant during the
second baseline (i.e., Baseline II) was 11, with an overall range for the number of
occurrences from 7 to 13 for on-task behavior during mis condition. See Table 2
for the median scores for the participant across all experimental conditions.
Experimental Condition
Intervention I
Intervention II
Figure 3. Number of Intervals of Summative On-Task Behavior Across Baseline and Intervention Conditions.
Baseline I
Baseline II
75
76
Research Question #3: Results of the summative effectiveness of the token economy
and response cost system on the percentage of assignments completed per
experimental condition for a student diagnosed with emotional and behavioral
disabilities during his/her enrollment in the alternative school during their admission
to a state psychiatric hospital.
Overall Median and Ranges ofAssignments Completed
The results in Figure 4 (page 78) and the summative data in Table 3 (page 85)
indicate that the token economy system was somewhat effective at improving assignment
completion. An assignment was considered complete if the student earned a score of
70% (i.e., a percentage of accurate completion consistent with a grade of a D-) or above.
Figure 4 shows the overall median percentage of the number of assignments completed
for the participant during the Baseline I condition was 75%, with the overall range of 0 to
175% of the assignments completed during this condition. The overall median
percentage of the number of assignments completed for the participant during
Intervention I condition was 79%, with the overall range of 0 to 100% of the assignments
completed. The overall median percentage of the number of assignments completed for
the participant during Intervention II condition was 105%, with the overall range of 0 to
125% of the assignments completed. The overall combined median percentage of the
number of assignments completed for the participant during both Intervention I and II
condition was 93%, with the overall range of 0 to 125% of the assignments completed.
The overall median percentage of the number of assignments completed for the
participant during Baseline II condition was 63%, with the overall range of 0 to 100% of
77
the assignments completed. The overall median percentage of the number of assignments
completed for the participant during both Baseline I and Baseline II conditions was 69%,
with the overall range of 0 to 125% of the assignments completed.
Experimental Conditions
Intervention I
Intervention II
Figure 4. Percentage of Assignment Completion Across Experimental Conditions.
Baseline I
Baseline II
78
79
Research Question #4: Results of the evaluation of the definitions of the behavior and
measurement system for daily and weekly assignment completion to assure a reliable
measurement procedure.
Interobserver Reliability
Off-Task Behavior
Interobserver reliability was assessed by using videotapes of full sessions reviewed
by a special education paraprofessional. One hundred percent of all sessions, across all
experimental conditions, and across all students were assessed for interobserver
reliability. The observation and evaluation by die independent observer were compared
to me primary researcher's scores on an interval-by-interval basis to establish
interobserver reliability (Cooper, et. al., 2007). The independent observer's scoring of a
given session were compared the scores of the primary researcher after completion of the
independent observation, to determine the number of agreed upon on-task or off-task
behaviors to establish a percentage of agreement related to the scoring of an individual
observation. This percentage of agreement established from the point-by-point
comparison of die independent observer and die primary researcher men serves as die
means of establishing interobserver reliability. Interobserver reliability divides the total
number of off-task behaviors recorded by the primary researcher by the total number of
off-task behavior recorded by the independent observer. This score multiplied by 100
provides a percentage of agreement as the measure of interobserver reliability.
Primary Researcher s Score (on-task total)
x 100 = % of reliability
Independent Observer's Score (on-task total)
Hie mean of the primary researcher's scores for off-task behavior pertaining to the
student was compared to the mean of the independent observer's scores for identical
sessions to calculate an overall mean of reliability and range of scores regarding the
students for all sessions reviewed. The median and range of reliability scores were also
calculated.
Overall Percentages of Off-Task Behavior
The overall mean percentages of reliability by the comparison of observations of
the primary researcher and the independent during baseline sessions observed was 96%
and the intervention sessions was 100% related to off-task behavior. The overall range of
interobserver reliability for the baseline sessions compared varied from 96% to 100%
agreement and during intervention, interobserver agreement scores were consistent
throughout when the primary researcher's scores were compared to the independent
observer's scores for on-task behavior.
Assignment Completion
Using duplicate copies of completed assignments, which were not graded,
interobserver reliability was assessed by comparing the independent observers' grading
of said assignment to the grading done by the primary researcher to determine the
interobserver reliability for this task. Fifty percent of all sessions for the student, and
across all experimental conditions were assessed for interobserver reliability. The
independent grading of the papers by the independent observer is compared to the
81
primary researcher's original scores, in a point-by-point comparison, to establish
interobserver reliability (Cooper, et. al., 2007). The independent observer's scoring of a
given assignment was compared to the primary researcher's scoring, after completion of
the independent grading procedure, to determine the number of agreed upon correct or
incorrect responses on a point-by-point basis to establish a percentage of agreement
related to the scoring of an individual assignment. This percentage of agreement
established from the point-by-point comparison of the independent observer and the
primary researcher than serves as the means of establishing interobserver reliability.
Interobserver reliability divides the total number of correct answers recorded by the
primary researcher by the total number of correct answers recorded by the independent
observer. This score was then multiplied by 100 to provide a percentage of agreement as
the measure of interobserver reliability.
Primary Researcher's Score (answers correct)
x 100 = % of reliability
Independent Observer's Score (answers correct)
Overall Percentages ofAssignment Completion
The medians of the primary researcher's scores for assignment completion were
compared to the medians of the independent observer's scores for identical sessions to
calculate overall mean, summative percentage of reliability and range of interobserver
reliability scores for the student for all sessions reviewed. The median and range of
reliability score were also calculated for the student. The overall median percentages of
agreement in scoring related to the sessions observed and subsequently compared by the
primary researcher and the independent observer during the baseline condition was 100%
and during the intervention condition was 100% related to assignment completion. The
overall range of interobserver reliability for the baseline sessions graded was 100% to
100% and the range during the intervention sessions was 100% to 100% related to
assignment completion.
Research Question #5: Results of the evaluation of the procedural integrity measures of
the token economy system, combined with response cost procedures, ensure fidelity of the
intervention implementation.
Procedural Integrity
Integrity of the experimental procedures was assessed using the videotapes of the
full sessions reviewed by the regular education teacher to verify the proper
implementation of the procedures. Fifty percent of all sessions, across all experimental
conditions, for the student were assessed for procedural integrity. Results of the
procedural integrity measures indicated that the primary researcher implemented the
procedures correctly 96% of the time.
Research Question #6: Results of the evaluation of the perceptions of the students related
to the effectiveness and importance of an token economy and response cost intervention
system of this nature.
Social Validity Measures
At the conclusion of the study, the participant/student answered a 10-question
interview and a 12 to 15-question written survey designed to solicit his opinion about the
token economy intervention.
83
Student Satisfaction
One student participated in the survey and interview. The student indicated that
he enjoyed the token economy system and felt that he stayed on-task better when earning
money (tokens). See Appendices F and G for to see questions regarding the Consumer
Satisfactions Written Survey (Likert-type rating survey) and questions regarding the
Consumer Satisfaction Interview (the 10-question student satisfaction interview).
Overall, the student enjoyed earning tokens ("money") for his behavior and
assignment completion. The student felt that other entities within the facility should use
a similar type of program. The student felt empowered, motivated, and successful while
participating in the study. For example, the student stated in his interview that he was
excited to come to class because he knew he could earn money and buy a Hackey Sack ©
to use during recreational play.
The student took the written 15-question survey anonymously. See Table 3 for a
summary of the responses to the 15-question student's satisfaction questionnaire related
to the implementation of the token economy. He could answer each question by circling
either Yes, Sometimes, No, or No response. On Question 1 (i.e., the student was asked if
the token economy was fun), the student circled yes. Question 2 (i.e., using a token
economy system is a good way to increase on-task behavior), the student circled yes.
Question 3 (i.e., the student was asked if they believed the token economy helped him
complete more assignments), the student answered yes. The student circled no to
Question 4, which asked if he disliked the token economy. On question 5 (i.e., he was
asked if they liked earning tokens), the student answered yes. On question 6 (i.e., asked
if he were bored), the student circled sometimes. For question 7 (i.e., inquired if the
84
token economy was frustrating), the student circled sometimes. Question 8 (i.e., asked if
he liked the products available to buy), the student circled yes. The student circled no
response on Question 9, which related to his on-task behavior since the start of the token
economy. On Question 10 (i.e., assignment completion improvement since the start of
the token economy), the student circled sometimes. On Question 11 (i.e., inquired about
his thoughts on using a token economy approach to teaching on-task behavior), the
student circled no response. On Question 12 (i.e., asked his thoughts on using a token
economy approach to help with assignment completion), the student circled yes. The
student circled the yes response for Question 13, which asked if he would be interested in
participating in the future. On Questions 14 and IS (i.e., asked if he thought he was more
on-task and whether he completed more assignments), the student circled sometimes (See
Table 3).
X
X
X
Question I
Question 2
Question 3
X
X
Question 9
Question 10
X
X
Question IS
X
Question 13
Question 14
X
Question 12
Question 11
X
X
Question 7
Question 8
X
Sometimes
Question 6
Question 5
Question 4
Yes
Question
Student Satisfaction: Written Survey
Table 3
No
No Response
85
86
Summary
This chapter discussed die results of die study diat evaluated die effects of
a token economy system on a student's classroom behavior and assignment
completion. Student behavior and student assignment completion were
summarized in a graph representing individual student performance. Medians,
ranges, and overall averages of die student's performance relating to classroom
behavior and assignment completion were also summarized in a narrative format.
Procedural integrity as well as interobserver reliability results were described. A
summary of die social validity survey was discussed and student comments were
described as well.
87
CHAPTER V
Introduction
Chapter Five discusses the overall summary of the results of the study, a
narrative explanation of die results as related to each individual research question,
and die relation that die results exhibit to previous research relating to die use of a
token economy and a modified response cost system. Limitations of die research
and opportunities for future research widi die use of token economies and a
modified response cost system are also discussed.
Overall Summary of Results
The purpose of mis research study was to investigate die effects of a token
economy and modified response cost system and dieir use as a useful behavior
management tool in a self-contained classroom widi high school students
diagnosed with emotional and behavioral disabilities during dieir admission to a
state psychiatric hospital.
This study specifically focused on earning tokens when exhibiting on-task
behavior widiin die alternative special education class. This study also examined
die concurrent assignment completion of die participants. This chapter contains a
discussion of die results as diey relate to die six research questions proposed in
Chapter One.
Relationships of This Study's Results to Previous Research Literature
Previous research conducted by Gunter et al. (2002) reported successful
results when using a token economy system widi students. Gunter et al. (2002)
reported 100% independent seatwork completion during the intervention phase.
The researchers also observed fewer classroom disruptions (e.g., off-task
behaviors) during die intervention phase. The only difference between the current
study and the Gunter et al. (2002) study were the reinforcers available to the
participants. The Gunter et al. (2002) study allowed the exchange of tokens for
social/educational games and activities, and the current study allowed for the
purchase of a range of reinforcers from obtaining a "free day" where no school
work was assigned to other tangible or activity reinforcers, such as candy, small
prizes, or computer time.
Another study conducted by Ward-Maguire (2005) also reported
successful results when using a token economy system with students. WardMaguire reported that assignment completion increased from 53% of the
assignments completed during baseline to 84% of the assignments completed
during intervention. Overall, this data from mis study are similar to previous
research data. Data from this study relating to assignment completion increased
from 75% of the assignments completed during baseline to 105% of the
assignments completed during intervention. The percentage of 105% indicates
that the student completed more than minimum number of daily assignments (i.e.,
the minimum die student needed to complete was four assignments per school
session, and the student completed five or six assignments on a given day).
Prior research literature also suggests that participants enjoyed using the
intervention. In a study conducted by Musser et al. (2001), overall participant
satisfaction was 4.75 while overall support staff satisfaction was 4.7 on a 5-point
Likert scale, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest, in terms of the level
of participant and staff satisfaction. In the study conducted by Ward-Maguire
(2005), the participants reported that they enjoyed earning tokens and the
opportunities to purchase a variety of items contingent upon improvements in
their on-task behavior and assignment completion. Although a slight variation
was used to determine participant and support staff satisfaction in the WardMaguire study, the results are similar to Musser et al. (2001) and another study
completed by Ward in 2004. Levels of satisfaction for both the participant and
teaching staff in the current study were high and suggest that the satisfaction
reported by the students with their performance during the study were related to
the improvements in on-task behavior and assignment completion due to the
implementation of the token economy and response cost system.
The research by Musser et al. (2001) also states that for an effective token
economy and response cost system, the individual implementing the strategy must
assure appropriately trained personnel in the preparation and implementation of
the token economy and response cost strategy. Gunter et al. (2002) added that
appropriate training includes teachers trained and experienced at working with
students with emotional and behavioral disorders. The current study involves a
certified special education teacher for students considered emotional and
behavioral disordered, which lends to the credibility, practicability, and social
significance of the present research.
90
Based upon a thorough review of the empirical research, currently there is
a void in the research related to use of token economy system with a response cost
behavior management system with high school students in psychiatric settings
who exhibit emotional and/or behavioral disorders. Several studies examine the
use of a token economy system with a response cost behavior management system
when related to elementary students and/or classrooms and adult individuals
receiving treatment within a therapeutic facility; however, the research related to
high school students in psychiatric settings who exhibit emotional and/or
behavioral disorders appears limited at this time.
Research Questions
Research Question #/: What is the relative effectiveness of a token
economy and modified response cost system on the daily on-task behavior of high
school students diagnosed with emotional and behavioral disabilities in an
alternative school setting located in a residential psychiatric hospital during their
designated school time?
The results from this study indicate that the token economy system
positively affected the participant. The results in Tables 1 - 2 indicate that
participant's off-task behavior decreased with the opportunity to earn tokens for
on-task behavior. The participants earned tokens throughout the two hour and 45
minute classroom period.
This research is consistent with research in the field indicating that the
token economy and modified response cost system is an effective strategy to
91
increase on-task behavior and decrease off-task behavior (Dougherty, Fowler, &
Paine, 1985; DuPaul, Guevremont, & Barkley, 1992; Gunter et al., 2002; Higgins
et al., 2001; Reynolds & Kelley, 1997). This study is an extension of similar
research in the field (Ward-Maguire, 2005; Ward, 2004; Dougherty et al., 1995;
Gunter et al., 2001; Reynolds & Kelley, 1997), which was primarily related to
elementary students within the classroom or older students in special education
resource rooms. The improvements the participant made related to on-task
behavior in the current research study indicates that this token economy and
response cost system is an effective strategy for a high school student with an
emotional and behavior disorder in a locked and secure psychiatric setting.
The importance of the improvements the student made in this study
directly relates to his ability to control his behavior and his ability to participate in
all classroom academic subjects and activities. What a student learns from his/her
participation in a token economy system, it is hoped will transfer with him/her to
the next grade or activity. When overall behavior shows improvement, other
students or teachers are undoubtedly more inclined to involve this student more
often in regular education activities or inclusive-type activities. After the student
participates in mis type of token economy system and learns appropriate types of
behavior, the student is more likely socially accepted by his/her peers as well as
become less dependent upon rewards (Higgins et al., 2001).
This study is one of the few in the literature to address a student in this age
group in a secure, residential, psychiatric hospital setting where a token economy
92
and response cost system was implemented and systematically evaluated. This
study exemplifies the importance of the positive results for the individual student
with a diagnosis of EBD. The study also decreases the void in the research base
within the field of special education for students with EBD. While this study was
limited to one participant in a self-contained psychiatric alternative special
education classroom, die implications still support the fact a token economy and
response cost system was a successful treatment approach for the improvement of
on-task behavior and assignment completion in the classroom.
Question 2: What is the summative effectiveness of a token economy and
response cost system exhibit on the number of intervals of on-task behavior for a
high school student diagnosed with emotional and behavioral disabilities during
his enrollment in the alternative school during their admission to a state
psychiatric hospital?
The results from this study indicate that the participant was positively
affected by the token economy and response cost system. The results in Tables 1
- 2 indicate that participant's on-task behavior improved with the opportunity to
earn tokens for on-task behavior. The participant's off-task behavior did decrease
in the first intervention phase, the off-task behavior significantly decreased during
the second intervention phase. The difference between the intervention phases
was the specific reinforcers used. Reinforcers used during the second intervention
included tangible items that were specifically pleasing to the student (i.e., Hackey
Sacks ©, stickers, candy, notebooks, etc.) Overall, the participant's off-task
behavior decreased during the intervention phase in its entirety.
This student showed marked improvement with on-task behavior, his
ability to focus on academics, and his overall ability to get along with others.
While this data specifically related to classroom performance with academics and
on-task behavior, one could surmise mat appropriate behavior would be seen in
other settings as well. Once a student experiences the benefits of establishing
friendships, getting good grades, and not getting in trouble with adult authority,
he was typically more inclined and observed employing those appropriate on-task
and compliance and assignment completion behaviors on a more regular basis.
This study not only provides the data related to the ongoing student
performance in the area of appropriate behavior, but also provides the summative
data to show the relative difference between normal classroom management
approaches (i.e., baseline) and the introduction of a token economy with a
response cost system. This study also provides additional motivation for the
student to improve his compliance and actual performance (i.e., assignment
completion, exhibiting appropriate social behavior, and following classroom rules
and procedures) within the classroom. These summative improvements of ontask behavior relating to high school students with emotional and behavioral
disorders contribute towards lessening the void of research completed by others.
While no two students in this population are the same (i.e., male or
female, specific age, specific diagnosis, etc.), it is inferred that these results would
be typical when applied to other research configurations in the field.
Question 3: What relative summative effectiveness of the token economy
and response cost system on the percentage of assignments completed per
experimental condition for a student diagnosed with emotional and behavioral
disabilities during his/her enrollment in the alternative school during their
admission to a state psychiatric hospital?
All students are expected to exhibit proficiency or mastery of the
foundations in each of the subject areas taught in school. If a student is not
proficient in a specific area, such as reading, he or she is often not able to perform
on a level commensurate with his or her peers (i.e., read at the third-grade level in
the third grade). This relates directly to anticipated success in the job market or
post secondary education. Although on-task behavior is important, we must
remember that students need to actively participate with their curricula and social
behaviors to assure that more is going on die class than just the appearance of
compliance ramer than on-task as a means to improve academic and social
behavioral performance (McLaughlin & Malaby, 1972; McLaughlin & Malaby,
1972). Any student who enjoys what he or she is learning or doing is more
inclined to invest more of himself or herself not only in school but in other areas
as well. In addition, doing well in other classes is contingent upon adequate
reading writing skills in other classes as well (Mercer & Mercer, 2007).
95
Question 4: Are the definitions of the behavior and measurement system
for daily and weekly assignment completion a reliable measurement procedure?
An independent observer measured interobserver reliability (i.e., also
know as interobserver agreement) for this study. Overall, the measurement of
interobserver reliability for off-task behavior resulted in a 100% agreement in
observation between the primary researcher and the independent observer related
to potential intervals of off-task behavior. Overall, the measurement of
interobserver reliability for assignment completion resulted in an agreement score
of 96% by the primary research and the independent observer. The discrepancy in
observation and subsequent scoring may perhaps result from the fact that the
independent observer did not possess a special education background and/or
possess training and extensive experiences in working with students with
emotional behavioral disorders in a state psychiatric facility. However, the results
indicate that the study measured to a high extent what it was designed to measure.
The student in this study freely admitted that he understood the purpose of
the strategy and was aware that the rewards were contingent on his behavior.
Upon accumulating numerous rewards, he indicated that he was pleased with his
performance and saw the benefits of the approach. He soon realized how his
behavior influenced the outcome for the rest of the class in relation to the rewards
(i.e., movies, treats, computer time, etc.).
Question 5: Will the procedural integrity measures of the token economy
system, combined with response cost procedures, ensurefidelity of the
intervention implementation? The independent observer measured procedural
integrity. The independent observer used a checklist (See Appendix E) while
viewing the videotaped sessions to ensure that the intervention was implemented
as intended by the primary researcher. Throughout the study, 50% of the all
sessions and across all students were assessed for procedural integrity. The data
indicated that the primary researcher correctly implemented the intervention
procedures 96% of the time. There are several reasons that the implementation of
the intervention by the researcher did not always occur as intended. At times, the
researcher was pulled out of the room for other professional responsibilities and
could not award money (i.e., tokens from the token economy) until later in the
period instead of immediately after the evaluation session was completed. There
were days when the researcher was absent from the school during the token
reward period and some days the participant was not present; therefore, the
awarding of tokens was completed at a later point in time. The researcher also
worked around the schedule of the school, which was adjusted on some days to
accommodate fire drills, medical appointments, and other behavioral disruptions
in the school initiated by other students.
Question 6: What are the relative effects that the token economy and
response cost system exhibit on the perceptions of the students related to the
effectiveness and importance of an intervention system of this nature? The
satisfaction of those directly involved with the research was measured by using a
survey and an interview (See Appendices F and G). The results indicated that
97
overall the participant was satisfied with the intervention. The participant enjoyed
the fact that he could earn candy, stickers, sodas, Hackey Sacks ©, and other
items. The student liked being "paid" for his school performance. The support
staff was interviewed and enjoyed the intervention because the student was
motivated to work on a more consistent basis on class related activities in an
appropriate manner while at the same time learning valuable everyday skills (i.e.,
balancing a checkbook, paying for items, and evaluating the cost of items in
relationship to the back-up reinforcers to determine how to maximize their
benefits under the monetary-based token economy and response cost system).
Limitations
This research study was limited by the following factors: (a) participant
attendance, (b) participant characteristics, (c) nature of the disability, (d)
immediacy of reinforcement, (e) school-wide activities, (0 researcher availability,
(g) participant perceptions and motivation, and (h) other outside factors or
influences.
Participant Attendance. Throughout the course of the study, the
participant was absent eight times for a variety of reasons. The student was
absent six out of 30 during session Baseline I and additionally was absent two out
of 28 days during session Intervention II. Prior to the student's six day absence,
he was transferred to a more intensive secured treatment unit, and on the
following two days' absence, he was restricted to his treatment unit for engaging
in assaultive behaviors. The extent to which these absences influenced the
research data collected is not known.
Participant Characteristics. The 15-year-old male student in the research
study was diagnosed as exhibiting emotional and behavioral problems as well as
difficulties in academics and attendance. He is Native American in ethnicity, and
has been housed in a variety of social service and mental health facilities. The
specific characteristics relating to this student make it difficult to generalize the
results of this study to other education settings.
Nature of the Disability. As stated previously, the participant in mis study
was diagnosed as exhibiting emotional and behavioral problems. The severity of
the disability and behaviors exhibited by this participant varied throughout the
research study. As expected with an individual diagnosed with EBD, there are
days where this type of disability is manifested in much more significant ways
that may or may not impact learning and social behavior.
Immediacy of the Reinforcement. Experts in the field (Schloss, Smith &
Schloss, 1995) suggest and research shows (Keyes, 1994; Zirpoli, 2005) that
individuals with emotional and/or behavioral disorders need immediate feedback
concerning their behavior. This study did not provide immediate feedback for the
participant Therefore, the timing of the reinforcements is probably not directly
related to any subsequent improvements in the participant's performance.
Further, due to the delay in providingreinforcement(i.e., tokens to the students),
99
determining the affects or impact related to the immediacy of reinforcement on
participant's on-task behavior or assignment completion is questionable at best.
School Wide Activities. During the course of the study, several different
school wide activities took place. Fire drills, medical appointments, school not
being in session due to observance of a holiday, etc., that interfered with the
implementation and data collection in the study. Also, other students'
inappropriate behavior in other classrooms impacted the student's performance as
well. Due to these various issues, it is inconclusive to what extent these
interruptions influenced the student's performance and the data mat was collected
regarding on-task behavior and assignment completion in class.
Researcher Availability. During the data collection, the researcher was
primarily in the classroom. There were three sessions in which the researcher was
fulfilling professional obligations (i.e., attending meetings). However, throughout
numerous sessions, the researcher was asked to meet briefly in the hall with
another professional or take a phone calls regarding education-related issues.
There is no evidence to suggest that the student's behavior was better or worse
during these absences; however, these interpretations could exhibit an unintended
affect on the behavior of the student in class.
Participant Perceptions and Motivations. The token economy and
response cost system implemented allowed the participant to "purchase" items as
back-up reinforcers. The items available were limited to what the researcher
could afford and find as potential back-up reinforces. All reinforcers were
100
approved through facility administration. The participants displayed a difficult
time expressing his thoughts about the research (i.e., token economy system), the
items available to "purchase", and his thoughts in general (i.e., what motivates
him). The extent to which these perceptions and motivations influenced the
participant's behavior is undetermined and may exhibit some influence on the
participant's overall performance in this study. In short, no direct assessment of
potential reinforcer preferences was conducted prior to this study.
Other Outside Factors or Influences. The participant left prior to the
conclusion of the research study. The participant left before the researcher could
re-implement the intervention condition. This is one of the downfalls of this type
of classroom setting (i.e., classrooms within a psychiatric treatment facility).
Patients are constantly admitting and discharging, and teachers (or researchers)
never know what kind of population they are going to have in their classrooms
from day-to-day. This type of subject morbidity (Johnston & Pennypacker, 1993)
limits the researcher's ability to provide additional replications of this intervention
condition as well as to affirm the consequent (Cooper et al., 2007). Since this
student was able to complete 58 out of the scheduled 90 days before his discharge
transfer took place, any generalizations from this study should be cautionary at
best and limited to the confines of the data reported.
Suggestions for Future Research
Little empirical research was found involving high school students with
emotional and behavioral disorders (i.e., EBD) on the use of token economy and
response cost systems. Futureresearchneeds to focus on a variety of token
economy and response cost systems and their effectiveness with high school
students with EBD. Future research should also address implementing the token
economy and/or response cost system within other classes throughout the school,
and/or with further participants. Training teachers on how to appropriately and
effectively implement a token economy andresponsecost system would also lead
to interestingresearch;i.e., comparing a teacher's class before and after the
implementation of these potential interventions. Researching a school wide
incentive plan based on the principles of the token economy and response cost
system with high school students in both general and special education are also
suggestions for future research in the area of token economy and response cost
systems. Educators need to consider integrating the token economy system into
theregulareducation classroom. This integration of measurably effective
behavior management intervention are essential for content driven curriculum, in
which at-risk students participate (Heward, 2006).
Implications for Future Practice
The token economy and response cost system is an effective behavior
management tool for decreasing off-task behavior of high school students with
emotional and behavioral disorders. The token economy andresponsecost
system is also effective for increasing assignment completion and improving ontask behavior of high school students with emotional and behavioral disorders.
Employing the token economy and response cost strategy should help students
102
generalize their behavior and assignment completion to other courses and other
aspects of life (i.e., working at a job).
According to the research results and the student satisfaction survey, die
token economy system combined with the response cost procedures was effective
for me participant within this study. The student reported that he enjoyed earning
classroom cash (i.e., back-up reinforcers widiin die classroom). The monetarybased tokens and the ability to use these tokens to buy different items served as an
excellent example of the use of generalized reinforcers recommended by Cooper
et al. (2007). The token economy and response cost system provided me student
with die motivation to improve his on-task behaviors and assignment completion.
Additionally, he reported that the token economy and response cost system
provided a sufficient incentive for following classroom rules, exhibiting
appropriate classroom behaviors, and completing homework.
Summary and Final Conclusions
The primary purpose of this research study was to examine die effects of a
token economy and response cost system with one student diagnosed with
emotional and behavioral disorder while receiving special education services in an
alternative classroom while residing in a psychiatric residential treatment facility.
The data was analyzed using an ABA, single subject research design (i.e.,
baseline, intervention, baseline) and die results suggested that this type of
intervention was an effective management tool for this student.
103
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Appendices
119
Appendix A
CITI Human Subject's Training Certificate
120
CITI Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative
Human Research Curriculum Completion Report
Learner: Monica Iverson (username: mkiverson)
Institution: University of South Dakota
Contact Information Department: Education
Phone: (605) 668-3461
Email: Monica.Iverson@state.sd.us
Group 3 Exempt Project Training for Students:
Stage 1. Basic Course Passed on 03/03/08 (Ref # 1650378)
Date
Completed
Score
Introduction
03/03/08
no quiz
History and Ethical Principles - SBR
03/03/08 5/5 (100%)
(Defining Research with Human Subjects - SBR
03/03/08 5/5 (100%)
Required Modules
jThe Regulations and The Social and Behavioral Sciences - SBR 03/03/08 6/6 (100%)
Assessing Risk in Social and Behavioral Sciences - SBR
03/03/08 5/5 (100%)
Informed Consent - SBR
03/03/08 5/5 (100%)
{privacy and Confidentiality - SBR
03/03/08 5/5 (100%)
University of South Dakota
03/03/08
no quiz
For this Completion Report to be valid, the learner listed above must be affiliated
with a CTTI participating institution. Falsified information and unauthorized use of
the CTTI course site is unethical, and may be considered scientific misconduct by
your institution.
Paul Braunschweiger Ph.D.
Professor, University of Miami
Director Office of Research Education
121
Appendix B
University of South Dakota Institution Review Board Approval
and South Dakota Human Services Center Approval
122
u
Office of Human Subjects Protection
(605)677-6184
(605) 677-3134 fax
The University of South Dakota
Project Tide:
2008.040-Evaluation of a Token Economy's Effectiveness in a Self-contained Classroom with
Secondary School Students Diagnosed with Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities
PI:
Dr. William Sweeney
Student PI:
Monica Iverson
Lerd of Review: Expedited
7
Risk:
No More than Minimal
Project Period:
4/11/2008-4/10/2009
•
Category 1: Research not involving greater than minimal risk
•
The permission of one parent is sufficient
•
Assent is required for each child who is capable of providing assent based on age maturity, and
psychological state. Assent will be written, using a separate assent form
The study submission and informed consent for the proposal referenced above has been reviewed and
approved via the procedures of the University of South Dakota Institutional Review Board 01.
dates. You must keep this original on file. Please use this original consent document to make copies for
subject enrollment. No other consent form should be used. It must be signed by each subject prior to
initiation of any protocol procedures. In addition, each subject must be given a copy of the signed consent
form.
Prior to initiation, promptly report to the IRB, any proposed project updates/amendments (e.g., protocol
amendments/revised informed consents) in previously approved human subject research activities.
Any research-related injuries (physical or psychological), adverse side effects or other unexpected problems
encountered during die conduct of this research study needs to be reported to the IRB within 72 hours of
notification of the occurrence.
You have approval for this project through 4/10/2009. When this study is completed please notify the
Research Compliance Office. If the study is to last longer than one year, a continuation form is to be
submitted to the IRB at least thirty days prior to the expiration of the study.
The forms to assist you in filing your project closure, continuation, adverse/unanticipated event, project
updates/amendments, etc. can be accessed at http^/www.usd.edu/oorsch/compliance/applicaiionforms.cfm.
This e-mail serves as your official IRB response. If you have any questions, please contact:
deb.lanfstraat@usd.edu or lisa.korcuska@usd.edu or (60S) 677-6184.
Sincerely.
Deb Langstraat, IRB Coordinator
The University of South Dakota
Office of Human Subjects Protection
AAHRPP Full Accreditation since 2005
http://www.usd.edu/oorsch/cornpliance/
Ph: 605.677.6184
Fax: 605.677J134
123
07 May 2008
Monica Iverson
Human Services Center
monica.iverson@state.sd.us
William Sweeney, PhD.
Professor
Special Education Program
Division of Curriculum and Instruction
the University of South Dakota
414 E. Clark Street
Vermillion, South Dakota 57069
Dear Ms. Iverson and Dr. Sweeney:
This letter is to act as our show of support and approval to conduct the proposed research project,
titled Evaluation of a Token Economy's Effectiveness in a Self Contained Classroom with
Secondary School Students Diagnosed with Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities, at the South
Dakota Human Services Center. .
The HSC Research Committee reserves the right to conduct periodic reviews of this study to
ensure compliance with the project plan and ensure patient safety.
I appreciate your interest in this aspect of care and lookforwardto working with you and your
staff.
Sincerely,
Cory Nelson
Administrator
South Dakota Human Services Center
Physical DtKraryAddrats - 3515 Broadway Avon*, Yaattoa, Soata Dakota 57678
124
Appendix C
Parental Consent and Student Assent Form
Approved: 4/11/2008
Expiration: 4/10/2009
USD KB 01
INFORMED CONSENT
For Student's Participation in Research
The University of South Dakota
Vermillion, SD 57069
TITLE: EVALUATION OF A TOKEN ECONOMY'S EFFECTIVENESS IN A
SELF-CONTAINED CLASSROOM WITH SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS
DIAGNOSED WITH EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIORAL DISABILITIES
PROJECT DIRECTOR: Dr. William Sweeney, PH.D.
PHONE #: 605-677-5824
Department: Curriculum and Instruction
This is a request for parental permission to allow your student to participate in a
research study. It is a basic ethical principle to obtain informed consent from both the
parent and student This consent must be based on the understanding of the nature and
risks of the research. This document provides information important for this
understanding. If you have any questions please ask. This research project includes only
parents/guardians permission to participate and students who choose to take part in the
study. Please take your time to make your decision. If at any time you have questions
please ask.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS STUDY?
Your student is invited to be in a research study about the use of token economy system,
earning "money", for staying on-task and completing classroom work. The "play money"
earned will be used to purchase rewards from a school store in the classroom later in the
day or week. Your student was selected as a possible participant because your student
receives educational services from Monica Iverson. The purpose of this research study is
determine if students will stay on-task and complete more work if they are "rewarded"
for their efforts.
HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL PARTICIPATE?
Approximately one to three students will take part in this study sponsored by The
University of South Dakota. Your student will not have to travel; the study will be
conducted in Monica Iverson's classroom at the South Dakota Human Services Center
(i.e., SDHSC) Alternative School.
HOW LONG WILL I BE IN THIS STUDY?
Your student's participation in the study will last for approximately eight to ten weeks.
Your student will participate during the regular two hour and forty-five minute school
session.
126
WHAT WILL HAPPEN DURING THIS STUDY?
During the study, your student's class curriculum will remain the same. Each day the
class will be video taped and that night Monica Iverson will view the videotape.
Using the videotape, the number of instances of off-task behavior will be recorded. The
next day, at the start of the class, students will receive "play money" or tokens based on
the previous days' behavior. At the end of each school session, your student will be able
to purchase a reward or they can save their money and purchase a reward later in the
week. Rewards will vary in price and items; however, everything will be within the limits
allowed by the SDHSC Alternative School.
When the study is complete students will be asked their opinion about earning "play
money" and being able to make purchases with that money in a school setting. This
information will be used to report consumer satisfaction within the study. Questions will
be completed anonymously. Also, all videotapes will be kept in a locked drawer and used
only for purposes of the research project. The videotapes will only be used for the
duration of the research project and upon the research project's completion, all
videotapes will be destroyed.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF THE STUDY?
There may be some minimal risk from being in this study; however, at this time there are
no foreseen risks.
Example:
Your student may experience frustration when earning the tokens. This frustration is
normal because they may be attempting to change their behavior patterns. They may also
experience some frustration when trying to put their feelings about the study into words,
however, that is often experienced when completing questionnaires. Theserisksare not
viewed as being in excess of "minimal risk"
Nonetheless, if your student become upset or frustrated by process of earning tokens or
the questions, your student may stop at any time (withdraw from the study) or choose not
to answer a question. If your student would like to talk to someone about your feelings
regarding this study, you are encouraged to contact Monica Iverson (605) 668-3461.
There is also a risk of breach of confidentiality. Your child's confidentiality is of utmost
concern and importance. Confidentiality will be upheld in accordance with Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) guidelines, as students will be
assigned a title of "Student 1", "Student 2", etc. Student diagnoses and behavioral
information, although, will be noted within the study for background informational
purposes only.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THIS STUDY?
Your student may benefit personally from the motivational component of participating in
this study. However, we hope that, in the future, other student might benefit from this
study because we may learn that implementing this type of intervention system may help
more students experience success at our alternative school.
127
ALTERNATIVES TO PARTICIPATING IN THIS STUDY
If you and your student decide not participate their behavior and work will not be
recorded nor will their videotaped behavior appear as a part of the study. They will still be
able to earn tokens and rewards as part of the classroom management system; however,
no data will be recorded for the purposes of this study.
WILL IT COST ME ANYTHING TO BE IN THIS STUDY?
Your student will not experience any costs for participating in this research study.
WILL I BE PAID FOR PARTICIPATING?
Your student will not be paid for participating in this research study.
WHO IS FUNDING THE STUDY?
The University of South Dakota and the research team are receiving no payments from
other agencies, organizations, or companies to conduct this research study.
CONFIDENTIALITY
The records of this study will be kept private to the extent permitted by law. In any report
about this study that might be published, you and your child will not be identified. Your
child's study record may be reviewed by Government agencies, USD Research
Compliance Office, and The University of South Dakota-Institutional Review Boards.
Any information that is obtained in connection with this study and that can be identified
with your student will remain confidential and will be disclosed only with your
permission or as required by law. Confidentiality will be maintained by means of using
pseudo names when reporting, and the research team will be the only individuals viewing
die taped sessions. If we write a report or article about this study, we will describe the
study results in a summarized manner so that your child cannot be identified.
IS THIS STUDY VOLUNTARY?
Your student's participation is voluntary. Your student may choose not to participate or
may discontinue participation at any time without penalty or loss of benefits to which
your student is otherwise entitled. The decision whether or not to participate will not
affect you or your student's current or future relations with The University of South
Dakota.
If your student decides to leave the study early, we ask that you and your student notify
Monica Iverson via e-mail or telephone (Monica.Iverson@state.sd.us or (60S) 668-3461).
Your student will not receive any adverse consequences for withdrawing from the study
if they choose to do so at some point in time.
CONTACTS AND QUESTIONS?
The researchers conducting this study are Dr. William Sweeney and Monica Iverson. You
may ask any questions you have now. If you later possess questions, concerns, or
complaints about the research please contact Dr. Sweeney at (605) 677-5824 or Monica
Iverson at (605) 668-3461 during the day.
If you have questions regarding your student'srightsas a research subject, you may
contact The University of South Dakota-Institutional Review Board at (605) 677-6184.
You may also call this number to tell us about any problems, complaints, or concerns
128
about the research. Please call this number if you cannot reach research staff, or you wish
to talk with someone who is independent of the research.
General information about being a research subject can be found on the IRB Website:
"Information for Research Participant"
http://www.usd.edu/ooreh/compliance/participants.cfm
Your signature indicates that this research study was explained to you, that your
questions were answered, and that you voluntarily agree to permit your student to take
part in this study. You will receive a copy of this form.
Student's Name:
Signature of person authorized to provide permission for the student
Signature of Person Who Obtained Consent
Date
Date
Approved: 4/11/2008
Expiration: 4/10/2009
USDERB01
The University of South Dakota
Child's Assent Non-Medical
Project Title: EVALUATION OF A TOKEN ECONOMY'S EFFECTIVENESS IN A SELFCONTAINED CLASSROOM WITH SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS DIAGNOSED WITH
EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIORAL DISABILITIES
Investigators): Dr. William Sweeney and Monica Iverson
We are doing a research study. A research study is a special way to find out about something. We
are trying to find out if earning "money" in while you are in die classroom will help you staying
on-task and complete more classroom work.
If you want to be in this study, we will ask you to do several things.
You will be asked to come to school every day unless you are sick, on the Cedar II Treatment
Unit, orrestrictedto your own treatment unit You will be asked to give your best effort.
You will need to keep track of the "play money" that is given to you.
This study requires you to be videotaped. The only people that will see you on videotape will be
Monica, Susan, and Monica's Professor, Dr. Sweeney. No one else will be allowed to see the
videotapes. Once die research study is over, all of the videotapes will be destroyed.
We want to tell you about some diings that may happen to you if you are in this study. If you are
in this study you might get frustrated at first if you do not earn the "play money"rightaway. If
you become upset or frustrated by this process of earning "play money", don't be afraid to talk it
over with Monica.
Not everyone who is in this study will benefit A benefit means that something good happens to
you. We don't know if you will benefit But we hope that you may learn something that will help
you with your classroom behaviors.
When we are done with the study, we will write a report about what we learned. We will not use
your name in the report
You do not have to be in this study. It is up to you. If you decide to be in the study, but change
your mind, you can stop being in the study.
If you do not want to be in this study, we will tell you about the other things we can do for you.
If you want to be in this study, please sign your name.
Your name (printing is OK)
Date
I certify that this study and the procedures involved have been explained in terms the child could
understand and that he/she freely assented to participate in this study.
Signature of person obtaining assent
Date
130
Appendix D
Data Collection and Recording Form
131
Data Collection Sheet
Session #:
Date:
Condition (circle one): Baseline / Intervention
Individual conducting the observation (circle one): Primary / Independent
Begin die tape, and when you press start on the timer begin die timer for 5-minutes. After 5minutes pause die VCR, set die tinier for 5 minutes, and begin die timer and VCR at die same
time. At die sound of die timer pause die VCR and observe die students. If the student is on-task
record a + (plus sign). If die student is off-task record a - (minus sign). Continue this process
until all IS intervals are complete.
Interval #
1.
Student #1
Student #2
Student #3
(-)
(+)
(+)
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
II.
12.
13.
14.
15.
Total
(+)
(-)
(-)
132
Appendix E
Procedural Integrity Probe Checklist
133
Procedural Integrity Probe Checklist
Session #:
Date of Session:
Condition (circle one): Baseline / Intervention
Date of Procedural Integrity Probe:
Integrity Probe Number
Person conducting the Procedural Integrity Probe:
Put an X in the underlined space below if die statementreadstrue and die procedures have been
followed. Put an "O" in die underlined space below if die statement is false and die procedures
have not been followed. Mark an "X" only when die statement was completed correctly and in die
proper sequence; if a statement was not completed or out of sequence mark with an "O".
Baseline and Intervention Checklist
Baseline
Students gets work and needed supplies from cubby and sits down in classroom
seat on time.
Students gets assignment sheet from teacher with assigned academic
tasks in each content area.
As students complete assignments, assignments are handed in.
15 mins. for DEAR Time
15 mins. for School Break
Students continue working on assigned academic tasks from assignment
sheet
Free time is given, if all academic assignments are completed during designated
school time.
Total number of items marked with an "X"
divided by total number of spaces (6 possible)
=
percentage of steps correctly followed.
Record the number of marked items and the percentage of steps correctly followed on the
Procedural Integrity Sheet.
134
Baseline and Intervention Checklist (Continued)
Intervention
Students gets work and needed supplies from cubby and sits down in classroom
seat on time.
Students gets assignment sheet from teacher with assigned academic
tasks in each content area.
As students complete assignments, assignments are handed in.
15 mins. for DEAR Time
15 mins. for School Break
Students continue working on assigned academic tasks from assignment
sheet
Free time is given, if all academic assignments are completed during designated
school time.
Tokens for previous day are given.
Tokens are counted.
Tokens are placed in designated area, for safe-keeping.
Reminder of when exchange will occur.
Reminder of backup reinforces are presented.
Tokens exchanged for reinforcers (if applicable).
Total number of items marked with an "X"
divided by total number of spaces (6 possible)
=
percentage of steps correctly followed.
Record the number of marked items and the percentage of steps correctly followed on the
Procedural Integrity Sheet
135
Appendix F
Consumer Satisfaction Written Survey Questions
136
Consumer Satisfaction Written Survey
(Student)
I am going to read a few statements about the token economy system (classroom
cash) study you participated in over the past few months. Please listen carefully
and circle the choice that most accurately tells how you feel.
1. Participating in the token economy system was fun.
YES
SOMETIMES
NO
2. Using a token economy system is a good way to increase on-task behavior.
YES
SOMETIMES
NO
3. Using a token economy system is a good way to increase assignment
completion.
YES
SOMETIMES
NO
4. I disliked the token economy system.
YES
SOMETIMES
NO
SOMETIMES
NO
5. I liked earning tokens.
YES
6. I was bored using the token economy system.
YES
SOMETIMES
NO
7. Earning tokens was frustrating.
YES
SOMETIMES
NO
8. I liked the products that were available to buy.
YES
SOMETIMES
NO
137
9. I think my on-task behavior has improved since the beginning of the token
economy system.
YES
SOMETIMES
NO
10.1 think my assignment completion has improved since the beginning of the
token economy system.
YES
SOMETIMES
NO
11.1 do not think the token economy system was a good way to teach on-task
behaviors.
YES
SOMETIMES
NO
12.1 do not think the token economy system was a good way to teach task
completion.
YES
SOMETIMES
NO
13.1 would participate in this token economy system again.
YES
SOMETIMES
NO
14.1 do think that I stay on-task more since the beginning of the token
economy.
YES
SOMETIMES
NO
15.1 do think that I complete more assignments since the beginning of the
token economy.
YES
SOMETIMES
NO
138
Appendix G
Consumer Satisfaction Interview Questions
139
Consumer Satisfaction Questions
(Student)
I am going to ask you a few questions about the work you did with Monica over
the past few months. I want to know your feelings and thoughts about
participating in her study. Please be honest and thorough in your answers to the
following questions.
1. What do you think was the purpose of the token economy (classroom
cash) you earned with Monica?
2. What did you like best about the token economy?
3. Do you think this token economy system helped you stay on-task? Why?
4. Do you think this token economy system helped you complete more
assignments? Why?
5. Did you like earning tokens and being able to buy different activities?
Explain.
6. If you were able to change anything about the token economy system what
would it be? Explain.
7. What suggestions could you give to improve on-task behavior for future
students?
8. What suggestions could you give to improve assignment completion to
future students?
9. Would you like to participate in a similar token economy system in the
future? Why or why not?
10. Is there anything else that you would like to say?
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