ROCHESTER INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
School Psychology Program
Course 0527-733-01 Fall, 2011
Vincent Pandolfi, Ph.D. Course Outline
Applied Behavior Analysis
Class Meetings: Wednesday & Thursday 8:00am-9.50am (1-3338)
Instructor: Vincent Pandolfi, Ph.D., Ext. 475-2875
Office Hours: Tuesday 2-4pm, Thursday 10am-12pm
Or by appointment
Martin, G.L. & Pear, J. (2011). Behavior modification: What it is and how to do it (9th Ed.).
Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson/Prentice-Hall.
O’Neill, R.E., Horner, R.H., Albin, R.W., Sprague, J.R., Storey, K., & Newton, J.S. (1997).
Functional assessment and program development for problem behavior:
A practical handbook (2nd Ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing
This course reviews scientifically-based principles, concepts, and methods of behavior analysis. Topics covered include behavioral assessment, data analysis, and approaches to behavior change. A special focus is on the functional behavioral assessment process within schools. Students will learn to develop assessment-based behavior intervention plans, which are tailored to the unique needs of individual students, through a collaborative problem-solving process involving families and school staff. Instruction and evaluation of student performance will consist of lectures, classroom activities, two written assignments, two exams, and class participation.
Through this course, students will:
- develop an understanding of key concepts in behavior analysis;
- demonstrate an understanding of, and apply appropriate behavioral assessment methods to a case study;
- develop an understanding of a variety of data analysis methods, and identify and apply appropriate methods to a case study for the purpose of designing, monitoring, and evaluating an intervention;
- develop an understanding of evidence-based behavior change methods, and identify and apply appropriate methods to a case study;
- demonstrate beginning competency in working collaboratively with school staff and families;
- demonstrate beginning competency in developing data-based interventions that are sensitive to the diverse backgrounds of students and their families;
- demonstrate an understanding of behavior analysis applications to systems-level issues within schools;
- demonstrate an understanding of conduct consistent with professional ethics codes and best practices.
Assignments: Each student is responsible for completing two assignments during the quarter. These assignments require you to identify a student in the schools, to assess his/her behavior, develop an intervention plan, and write a report. You should speak with your field supervisor as soon as possible about these course requirements so that you have plenty of time to identify a student.
Assignment #1: Defining Target Behaviors & Reinforcement
This assignment reflects the initial data collection phase for the functional behavioral assessment (FBA) described under Assignment #2 below. It also serves as an opportunity to receive initial feedback on key components of the FBA. Each student will do the following:
- Identify a student in the schools who presents with one or more “target behaviors” that need to be changed or modified. “Target behaviors” refer to any behaviors that interfere with the student’s learning or the learning of others, including any behaviors that pose safety risks (e.g., physical aggression).
- Identify one or two priority target behavior(s) that need to be addressed. This will be done by observing the student and interviewing his or her teacher. The behavior(s) can be: (a) problem behaviors that need to be decreased or eliminated (e.g., aggression), (b) positive behaviors that do not occur often and need to be strengthened (e.g., class participation), or (c) behaviors that are acceptable, but are not occurring at the right time or place (e.g., talking during a teacher’s lecture).
- Identify one or more behaviors that the student could be doing instead of engaging in the problem behavior.
- Be sure that the target behavior is labeled and operationally defined using observable and measurable terms.
- For this assignment, focus your data collection on one setting within the school (e.g., the classroom, cafeteria, gym, etc.). You will expand your focus in Assignment #2, the FBA which will be much more comprehensive.
- Spend at least TWO observation periods (i.e., at least 15-20 minutes each) collecting data on student behavior. You will record your observations on a data sheet provided by the instructor. The data you collect will be explained in class. You need to turn in the data sheet as part of the assignment.
- Conduct at least one teacher interview where you will collect information about the target behavior and behaviors that the teacher would rather see- that is, behaviors that the student can learn that will replace the problem behaviors. Sample interview questions will be provided by the instructor.
- You will write and hand in a one-page paper that summarizes your observation and interview data. In the paper, you should include: (a) the label and operational definition of the target behavior(s), (b) a description of how the target behavior(s) is/are reinforced based on the data you collected, (c) what behavior(s) the student could engage in INSTEAD of the target problem behavior(s) (i.e., appropriate alternatives to the problem behaviors), and (d) what could be done to promote or encourage the student to engage in more appropriate alternative behaviors. You can include (a) and (b) in the first paragraph, and (c) and (d) in the second paragraph.
This paper should be no more than one page, single-spaced, 12 point font, with one-inch margins. Papers not meeting the format requirement will incur a 5 point deduction. Written content that exceeds the one-page limit will not be read. Grading is based on: (a) quality of the operational definition(s) (40%), (b) clarity in identifying how the behavior is reinforced and give one or two representative examples from your observations and interview (30%), (c) identification of alternative behaviors and how they can be encouraged (20%), and (d) professional quality (10%; e.g., organized, concise, clearly written, free from awkward expressions and spelling/grammatical errors). Students who do not have access to a classroom must speak to the instructor to determine an appropriate alternative for this project.
An Assessment Waiver must be signed by the student’s parent/caretaker- and must be turned in with your paper. Failure to obtain and submit a signed Waiver will result in an “Incomplete” for this assignment. Problems obtaining a signed Waiver should be discussed with the instructor as soon as possible. This waiver, which will also apply to Assignment #2, will be provided by the instructor.
Assignment #2: Functional Behavioral Assessment/Behavior Support and Intervention Plan
Each student will complete an FBA and BSIP, and will write a report that includes:
- Identifying information/Reason for referral (5 points);
- Background information (5 points);
- Assessment methods (10 points);
- Target behavior(s)- operationally defined (10 points);
- Behavioral data (5 points);
- Functional assessment narrative and summary (10 points);
- Intervention plan: proactive and reactive strategies, integrity safeguards (35 points);
- Progress monitoring: goals, and data collection and analysis strategies, including relevant data sheets (10 points);
- Professional quality (10 points).
A sample report will be presented during class to review the overall format and essential content. The report should be approximately 5-7 pages, single-spaced, 12 point font, one-inch margins, with attached data sheets (these do not count toward the page limit). Papers not meeting the format requirement will incur a 5 point deduction and written content that exceeds the 7-page maximum will not be read. All student, family, teacher, and practicum site information is de-identified prior to turning in the paper. This helps protect confidentiality. These FBAs and BSIPs are not to be entered into the student’s school record; however, all students should have a signed Assessment Waiver from the student’s parent/caretaker prior to collecting student data. As for Assignment #1, students who are not placed in a school setting should inform the instructor to discuss alternatives.
Exams: Two non-cumulative multiple choice exams will be given during the quarter. Each will cover approximately half of the course content. Exam items will assess student conceptual and practical knowledge.
Participation: The participation grade is based on attendance, and the quality and quantity of contributions to classroom discussions and activities. The instructor should be notified of any absences from class. Students are not penalized for absences that are beyond one’s control (e.g., illness, transportation problem, weather). Absences that are due to other circumstances (e.g., attendance at a professional conference) should be addressed with the instructor at the earliest convenience. A pattern of absences resulting in significant loss of classroom time, for any reason, may affect one’s grade and will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.
Each student’s overall grade will be based on a composite of all work during the quarter. Course requirements are weighted as follows:
Assignment #1: 10%
Assignment #2: 25%
Exam I: 25%
Exam II: 25%
Assignments submitted after the assigned due date are subject to penalty (15 point deduction). Students who receive a grade below 70 on the FBA will receive an “Incomplete” for the class, and must revise the paper to remove the Incomplete from the official transcript. Acceptable revisions will receive a grade of 70, which will be used to calculate the final grade for the course. No make-up exams will be given. If a student misses an exam, a “0” will be entered into the student’s grade. Exceptions to these rules are assessed on a case-by-case basis; however, the final decision pertaining to any student grade is made at the instructor’s discretion.
As a courtesy, all electronic devices should be turned off or in silent mode. Use of electronic devices for purposes other than for fulfilling course requirements will be directly addressed by the instructor, and can result in a lower participation grade. In the unusual circumstance where a student must immediately address a private matter (e.g., family emergency), he or she may excuse him-/herself and address the matter without penalty.
The main exceptions to this rule are: (a) use of electronic devices for learning and class participation (e.g., note-taking), and (b) use of electronic devices that represent an accommodation for a disability.
Individuals with Disabilities:
Persons with disabilities requiring specific accommodations should speak privately with the instructor to discuss and plan for individualized needs.
All students will abide by the RIT Academic Honesty Policy (see attached) and the guidelines set forth in the RIT School Psychology Program Student Handbook.
Course Outline- Fall Quarter, 2011
Date Topics Readings
9/7 Historical & Theoretical Foundations MP 1-2; Skinner (1974) Ch. 1-2
9/8 Behavior Analysis Terms & Concepts Baer et al. (1968)
9/14 Increasing Behavior MP 3-4, 6, 13
9/15 Decreasing Behavior: Alternatives to MP 5, 7
9/21 Stimulus Control MP 8
9/22 Stimulus Control
9/28 Prompting & Fading/Shaping & Chaining MP 9-11
9/29 Assignment #1 Review
10/5 Functional Behavioral Assessment O’Neill et al. 1-2;
10/6 FBA (cont’d); Assessment & Measurement MP 20-22
ASSIGNMENT #1 DUE
10/12 Developing Behavior Intervention Plans O’Neill et al. 3-4
10/13 EXAM I ; Developing Behavior Intervention Plans MP 17-19, 24 (cont’d)
10/19 Writing the FBA & Behavior Intervention Plan
10/20 Data Analysis
10/26 Basic Research Designs MP 23
10/27 Punishment MP 12; Lerman & Vorndran (2002)
11/2 Generalization & Maintenance MP 16; Stokes & Baer (1977)
Respondent Conditioning MP 14-15
11/3 Positive Behavior Support Horner (2000), Gable et al. (2001),
Current status of FBA in the schools Gresham et al. (2004), Van Acker et al.
11/9 Ethical Considerations MP 30
11/10 Summary & Review
ASSIGNMENT #2 DUE
11/16 EXAM II
Baer, D.M., Wolf, M.M., & Risley, T.R. (1968). Some current dimensions of applied behavior
analysis. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1, 91-97.
Blood, E. & Neel, R.S. (2007). From FBA to implementation: A look at what is actually being
delivered. Education and Treatment of Children, 30(4), 67-80.
Gable, R.A., Hendrickson, J.M., & Van Acker, R. (2001). Maintaining the integrity of FBA-
based interventions in the schools. Education and Treatment of Children, 24(3), 248
Horner, R.H. (2000). Positive behavior supports. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental
Disabilities, 15(2), 97-105.
Lerman, D.C. & Vorndran, C.M. (2002). On the status of knowledge for using punishment:
Implications for treating behavior disorders. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 35(4), 431-464.
Skinner, B.F. (1974). About behaviorism. New York: Vintage Books.
Stokes, T.F. & Baer, D.M. (1977). An implicit technology of generalization. Journal of Applied
Behavior Analysis, 10, 349-367.
Van Acker, R., Boreson, L., Gable, R.A., & Potterton, T. (2005). Are we on the right course?
Lessons learned about current FBA/BIP practices in schools. Journal of Behavioral
Education, 14(1), 35-56.
*With the exception of Skinner (1974), required readings from peer-reviewed journals are available electronically. A hard copy of Skinner (1974) will be made available by the instructor.