Reinforcement and Recognition
Supported Evidence or Evasive Effervesce?
Kathy Mott
Tara Sladek-Maharg
Cindi Spaulding
Karen Zopatti
“The effectiveness of classroom management has
a direct impact on student behavior. Student
behavior can impact the quality of student
achievement. The more effective classroom
management strategies are, more effective
teaching can take place and therefore better
student learning can occur.”
- Joe S. Valdivia
(Marygrove College)
Positive reinforcement is:
the offering of desirable effects or
consequences for a behavior with the
intention of increasing the chance of that
behavior being repeated in the future
verbal praise, token economies, a smile or
“high five”
Relevant Studies
Montarello & Martens (2005)
Sample size:
4 Fifth Grade Students
effectiveness of a token economy
on the completion of math papers
treatment ratings m=3.75
baseline condition m=3.5
Validity threats:
small sample size (4)
Lassen, et al (2006)
Sample size:
3 year longitudinal study of an urban middle school
How positive reinforcement reduces problem
behaviors and increases academic functioning
Behavioral Findings:
Cronbach’s alpha = .77
ANOVA suspensions per student (baseline to year 3) F=1.98, p‹.01
ANOVA long-term suspensions per student F=1.19, p‹.01
Academic Performance Findings:
Kansas State Assessments
(7th Grade – Reading
8th Grade – Math)
Bohanon, et al (2006)
Sample size:
1,800 high school students
Assess the application of school-wide PBS
in an urban high school setting
High levels of reliability ( .96)
Test-retest reliability (97.3% ave. agreement on items)
Interobserver agreement 99%
Construct validity (Pearson r =.75, p .01)
Sensitivity to change (t = 7.63, df = 12, p  .001)
“Initial data suggest[s] that school-wide implementation of PBS in high school
settings may be very beneficial to students and school personnel in terms of
reduction in ODRs (and hence increased instructional time)”
- Bohanon, et al (2006)
Walker, et al (2005)
Sample size:
72 students, 3 elementary schools
Examine the functioning of students within established PBS
Reported reliability for the SSRS ranges from .78 to .94
Test-retest reliability (.84 to .93)
One way ANOVA
Significant and non-significant interactions
Small sample size
Variance among school demographics
Begent & Martens (2006)
Sample size:
Master’s level primary, secondary,
and special needs teachers in training
Addressing prompting, reinforcement, and record keeping
Teachers in training receive little training in behavioral practices,
assessment strategies or instructional programs
Logical Plan to Prove Efficacy
The Topic
Negative Behavior:
1) Becoming an increasingly problematic issue
in elementary schools
2) Effects student achievement
(Kilpatrick, 1992; Bennett, 1999; Lickona, 1992).
(Kilpatrick, 1992; Bennett, 1999; Lickona,
1992, Valdivia, n.d.)
3) New teachers are often ill-equipped
(Lassen et al, 2006).
The Research Problem/Justification of the
Teacher-education programs must
effectively prepare teachers to deal with
behavioral concerns to ensure on-task
behavior and optimal academic
Deficiencies in Evidence
1) The literature includes extensive information
related to the efficacy of in-service teaching
training programs using positive reinforcement…
(Lassen et al, 2006; Montarello & Martens, 2005; Begeny & Martens, 2006; Heilbrun & Waters,1968; Reid, 1996;
Papanastasiou, 2002)
2) However, there is little discussion about preservice training for teachers involving researchbased interventions grounded in positive
reinforcement strategies
(Begany & Martins, 2006).
The Audience
Teacher-Training Program Directors
should be aware of the behavioral and
academic benefits to students of teachers
participating in pre-service, positive
reinforcement behavior management
strategy training.
Research Design
Independent Variable: A pre-service teachertraining program emphasizing various research
based interventions based on positive
Dependent Variable: Decreased negative behavior
(office referrals, suspensions, expulsions).
Target Population and Sampling Technique
1) Pre-service teachers, with student-teaching placements in
schools with similar demographics relating to:
1) socioeconomic status
2) academic achievement
3) level of negative behavior (office referrals,
suspensions, expulsions).
2) Nonrandomized sampling will be used to ensure school
demographics and data are mostly homogenous and match
the desired criteria.
Experimental Design
A quantitative experimental betweengroup design will be used to assess the
effect of the pre-service teacher-training
program by comparing the experimental
group to the control group.
Threats and Controls
Internal Threats to Validity:
1) history
2) maturation
3) compensatory equalization
4) implementation
5) lack of random sampling
6) resentful demoralization
External Threats to Validity:
1) lack of explicit description of the
experimental treatment
2) novelty and disruption effects
Quantitative Method Used to Analyze
Hypothesis Testing
Ho: There is no difference in frequency of
negative behavior between the control
group and the experimental group.
Expected Results
The experimental group receiving the
intervention will decrease frequency of
negative behavior.
Implications for Further Research
It may be of interest to conduct further
research involving a second dependent
variable, increased academic achievement.
Ho: There is no difference in academic
achievement between the control group
and the experimental group.
Begent, J.C., & Martens, B.K. (2006). Assessing pre-service teacher’s training in empirically-validated
behavioral instruction practices. School Psychology Quarterly, 21, 262-285.
Bennett, W. J., Finn, C. E., & Cribb, J. T. E. (1999). The educated child: a parent's guideハfrom preschool
through eighth grade. New York: Free Press.
Bohanon, H., Fenning P., Carney, K.L., Minnis-Kim, M.J., Anderson-Harriss. S., & Moroz, K.B., et al. (2006)
Schoolwide application of positive behavior support in an urban high school: A case study. Journal of
Positive Behavior Interventions, 8 (3), 131-145.
Kilpatrick (1992). Why Johnny can't tell right from wrong. New York: Simon &ハ ハ ハ ハSchuster.
Lassen, S.R., et al. (2006). The relationship of school-wide positive behavior support to academic achievement
in an urban middle school. Psychology in the Schools, 43, 701-712.
Lickona (1992). Educating for character: how our schools can teach respect andハ ハ ハ ハresponsibility. New York,
N.Y: Bantam.
Montarello, S. & Martens, B.K. (2005). Effects of interspersed brief problems on students’ endurance at
completing math work. Journal of Behavioral Education, 14. 249-266.
positive reinforcement. (n.d.). Webster's New Millennium™ Dictionary of English, Preview Edition (v 0.9.7).
Retrieved July 11, 2007, from website:
Sailor, W. et al. (2006). Anchoring school wide positive behavior support in
structural school reform. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities. 31, 18-30
Walker, B., Cheney, D., Stage, S. & Blum, C. (2005). Schoolwide screening and positive behavior supports:
Identifying and supporting students at risk for school failure. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 7
(4), 194-204.

Reinforcement and Recognition