The Effect of Modifications to a Token Board-Based Reward System on Motivation and Engagement of Students with ASD when Completing Challenging Activities at School
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Type of Work38 p.
action research papers
ProgramMasters of Education
RightsCollection may be protected under Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. To obtain information or permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Goucher Special Collections & Archives at 410-337-6347 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SubjectsEducation -- Research papers (Graduate)
Token economy (Psychology) -- Research.
Children with autism spectrum disorders -- Research.
Education -- Research papers (Graduate)
This study was completed to determine whether modifying the criteria for success using a token board reward system impacted the engagement in challenging academic tasks of two kindergarten students with autism. Engagement in the tasks was presumed to be related to students’ interest or stress levels. Ideally, students begin to make the connection between their behavior and the rewards received from the use of the token board. The students in this study, who were 5 and 6 years old, attended a primary school for children with special needs focusing on autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). They were monitored to determine whether modifications to their token board demands affected ratings of their behavior (apparent motivation and engagement) and the number of rewards they earned. Modifications involved raising the required number of tokens for rewards from 5 to 8 over a one-week period each. The rewards and criteria were selected to encourage appropriate on-task behavior and were based on the researcher’s familiarity with students’ levels of stress and frustration during the activities. Mean total verbal prompts given and rewards earned and mean behavior ratings were compared across the 5 and 8 token conditions and across four activities of interest (morning meeting, read aloud, small group one, and small group two). Results indicated that token boards can have positive and negative effects on students’ behavior. Results indicated that students earned more rewards when Threats to Validity 5 tokens versus 8 were required on the token boards. They also indicated that the mean incidence of problem behaviors monitored did not differ significantly across the different activities assessed with the exception of elopement, which occurred significantly more often during morning meetings than in literacy small groups. Due to the degree of stress that increasing the number of tokens required appeared to cause, the study was discontinued earlier than planned.