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Acceptability of alternative classroom treatment strategies and factors affecting teacher’s ratings McKee, William Treen


A screening sample of 107 elementary school teachers completed a 16-item multiple-choice measure of knowledge of behavioral principles. Two subject groups, each consisting of 32 regular classroom teachers, were randomly selected for high and low knowledge groups based on scores on the knowledge measure. High and low knowledge group teachers were given random assignment to one of two clinical case descriptions. Both descriptions were of a 9-year old boy who is presented as being very aggressive, and who does not follow adult instructions. The two cases differed only in the type of background attributed to each. One is described as coming to the regular classroom as a result of 'mainstreaming', having been previously in a special class setting. The other case description makes no reference to mainstreaming or to previous placement. Teachers in all conditions evaluated the acceptability of four alternative classroom treatment strategies for children: Medication, Time Out from Reinforcement, Reinforcement of Incompatible Behavior, and Positive Practice. Teachers in the high and low knowledge groups read the assigned case description, and then rated the acceptability of the treatments in a 4 x 4 replicated Latin-square design using treatment acceptability measures developed by Kazdin (1980a). Following treatment ratings, subjects completed a questionnaire which, in part, asked subjects to rank order the described treatments on the basis of likelihood of each being used by the subject doing the rating. High knowledge group teachers rated treatments as more acceptable than did low knowledge group teachers on the primary dependent measure. Treatments were readily differentiated in terms of acceptability. Reinforcement was rated more acceptable than Time Out and Positive Practice, which did not differ from each other in terms of acceptability. Medication was rated lower in acceptability than the other treatments. Treatment acceptability ratings were not different for the two case descriptions. The results of the ranking of treatments on the Case and Treatment Questionnaire generally followed those of the rating procedure. The results of the analyses indicate that teachers do differentiate treatments in terms of acceptability using both the rating and ranking procedures. It is also apparent that the high knowledge group teachers tend to rate alternative classroom treatments as more acceptable than do the low knowledge group teachers. These findings are discussed, and implications for education and for future research are presented.

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