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An Evaluation of a Reinforcer Validation Assessment

Natalie T Hoff, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This dissertation investigated the effectiveness of using a reinforcer validation assessment to guide intervention decisions for classroom teachers. Two elementary students were identified for inclusion in the study based on academic and behavioral screening data. Preference assessments were administered to each participant to identify potentially effective reinforcers to use during both conditions of the experimental analysis. A reinforcer validation assessment was then conducted with each participant to develop a hypothesis regarding the type of intervention that would be most effective for the participant based on the function of his behavior (i.e., skill deficit or performance deficit). To answer the research questions, an experimental analysis was conducted with participants in which two treatments (instructional intervention plus DRA and DRA-only) were presented to identify clearly differentiated data series between conditions. Results of the reinforcer validation assessments for both participants identified skill deficits in the targeted academic area, for which the instructional intervention plus DRA condition was expected to yield higher levels of academic performance than the DRA-only condition. In the experimental analyses, a strong case for experimental control was not achieved for either participant (differentiation between the indicated and non-indicated intervention conditions). However, descriptive statistics and effect size estimates favored the indicated intervention (instructional intervention plus DRA condition) in both cases. Overall, because both participants had skill-deficits and because of limited treatment effects, the current study’s results did not confirm the reinforcer validation assessment. Areas for future research are discussed.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Experimental psychology|Behavioral psychology

Recommended Citation

Hoff, Natalie T, "An Evaluation of a Reinforcer Validation Assessment" (2019). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI22589051.