Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


First Advisor

John W. Maag

Second Advisor

Michael Hebert

Third Advisor

Ed Daly

Date of this Version

Summer 8-2019


Torchia, M. M. (2019). Enhancing self-Monitoring with differential negative reinforcement of alternative behavior for increasing students’ writing production. (Unpublished master’s thesis) University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Special Education, Under the Supervision of Professors John W. Maag and Michael Hebert. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2019

Copyright 2019 Meghann M. Torchia


Writing is a difficult task for many students who find it aversive, and who attempt to escape the task. Self-monitoring and differential negative reinforcement of alternative behavior (DNRA) are two approaches that have been shown to improve quantity of performance, but no studies were found that combined the two methods to determine whether they are more effective in combination than in isolation. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effectiveness of using DNRA to enhance self-monitoring for increasing writing productivity using a multiple probe, across participants, design. Number of words and number of sentences were measured. For each baseline session, students were given 10 minutes to write about a prompt, received a short break, then wrote about a second prompt. During the self-monitoring phase, students performed the sessions exactly as baseline, except after they finished writing each prompt, they counted the number of words they wrote, marked that number in a box, and graphed that number. During the second intervention phase, students performed the sessions exactly as the self-monitoring phase, but they were informed they could escape from the second prompt by increasing the number of words they wrote. Results presented an increase in the number of words and sentences written for one participant, while the other two participants showed little to no improvement during the self-monitoring plus DNRA phase and experimental control could not be established. Areas for future research, limitations, and implications for practice are discussed.

Advisor: John W. Maag