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The effects of positive reinforcement and a token program in a public junior high school class Main, George C.


The operant level of inappropriate behavior was obtained for six students in a non-academic grade nine class receiving an individualized program of instruction in mathematics and science. Two conditions, educational structure and praising appropriate behavior while ignoring inappropriate behavior, were introduced successively. Both procedures reduced inappropriate behavior with five subjects. When a token reinforcement program, using back-up reinforcers readily available in the school, was introduced in conjunction with the conditions of educational structures and praising and ignoring; dramatic decline in the emission of inappropriate responses occurred with all six subjects. Withdrawal of the token program, leaving Educational structure and praising and ignoring in effect, resulted in an increase of inappropriate behavior with five subjects. The token program was reintroduced in conjunction with contingency contracts. The result was a decline of inappropriate behavior below the mean of the first token phase for all subjects. Tokens were thinned during the second token phase leaving back-up reinforcers, teacher-praise and attention, and the completion of contracts in effect. Data obtained during follow-up indicated that the thinning procedure was effective with no subsequent increase in behavior for any subject. The token program, utilized during one of the four blocks in the school time table, appeared to reduce absenteeism. Further evidence that appropriate behavior did generalize to other classes.

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