Education Drivers

Differential Reinforcement

Differential reinforcement is a basic component of many educational practices. It is the delivery of reinforcement when a specified behavior occurs, and no reinforcement when there is an incorrect response (extinction). Reinforcement is a consequence that follows behavior and increases the frequency of that behavior. It can be either praise or a tangible activity. Extinction is defined as the withholding of the positive reinforcer that is maintaining an undesirable behavior. Differential reinforcement combines reinforcement and extinction in a single intervention package to increase the frequency of a targeted behavior while decreasing the frequency of an undesirable behavior. It offers teachers a positive way to develop skills and reduce undesirable behavior without using negative consequences. Evidence supports differential reinforcement as effective in increasing student achievement and creating a classroom climate favorable for learning, but only when used correctly. Reinforcement is most effective when it is clearly linked to student progress toward goals, is specific about expected performance, closely follows the desired behavior, occurs at a higher frequency than reinforcement for the problem behavior, and is of greater value to the student than the reinforcement for the problem behavior.

Publications

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Teaching Functional Life Skills to Children with Developmental Disabilities

In this chapter we describe systematic instructional practices that are necessary for individuals with disabilities to benefit from educational services.

Detrich, R., & Higbee, T. S. (2009). Teaching Functional Life Skills to Children with Developmental Disabilities. Practical Handbook of School Psychology: Effective Practices for the 21st Century, 371.

 

Data Mining

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What teaching strategies make a difference in improving student performance?
This analysis looks at meta-analyses on teaching strategies that have the largest effect on student achievement.
States, J. (2011). What teaching strategies make a difference in improving student performance? Retrieved from what-teaching-strategies-make.
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Increasing pre-service teachers’ use of differential reinforcement: Effects of performance feedback on consequences for student behavior

Significant dollars are spent each school year on professional development programs to improve teachers’ effectiveness. This study assessed the integrity with which pre-service teachers used a differential reinforcement of alternate behavior (DRA) strategy taught to them during their student teaching experience.

Auld, R. G., Belfiore, P. J., & Scheeler, M. C. (2010). Increasing pre-service teachers’ use of differential reinforcement: Effects of performance feedback on consequences for student behavior. Journal of Behavioral Education, 19(2), 169-183.

The effects of contingent teacher praise, as specified by Canter's Assertive Discipline programme, on children's on-task behaviour

The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of contingent teacher praise, as specified by Canter's Assertive Discipline programme, on children's on task behaviour. Continuous data collection indicated that following training in the appropriate use of praise, as specified by Canter, all three teachers successfully increased their rates of praising. Of the 24 children, all but one evidenced increases in levels of on‐task behaviour.

Ferguson, E. & Houghton, S. (1992). The effects of contingent teacher praise, as specified by Canter's Assertive Discipline programme, on children's on-task behaviour. Educational Studies, 18(1), 83-93.

Differential reinforcement of other behavior: A preferred response elimination procedure

Ethical and legal concerns which have been raised regarding many types of response elimination techniques. The differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO) schedule is compared with other response elimination techniques. It is concluded that DRO schedules compare favorably with other techniques in speed and completeness of response elimination. In addition, DRO schedules may be superior to other techniques in durability and generalization of response reduction and in the type of side effects produced.

Homer, A. L., & Peterson, L. (1980). Differential reinforcement of other behavior: A preferred response elimination procedure. Behavior Therapy, 11(4), 449-471.

A review of empirical support for differential reinforcement of alternative behavior

Differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) is one of the most common behavior analytic interventions used to decrease unwanted behavior. This literature review examined the DRA literature from the past 30 years to identify the aspects that are thoroughly researched and those that would benefit from further emphasis.

Petscher, E. S., Rey, C., & Bailey, J. S. (2009). A review of empirical support for differential reinforcement of alternative behavior. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 30(3), 409-425.

Evidence-based practices in classroom management: Considerations for research to practice.

The purpose of this paper is to describe a systematic literature search to identify evidence-based classroom management practices.

Simonsen, B., Fairbanks, S., Briesch, A., Myers, D., & Sugai, G. (2008). Evidence-based practices in classroom management: Considerations for research to practice. Education and Treatment of Children, 31(3), 351-380.

Differential reinforcement as treatment for behavior disorders: Procedural and functional variations

For many years, differential reinforcement has been a prevalent and preferred treatment procedure for the reduction of behavior disorders. This paper reviews the procedural variations of differential reinforcement and discusses their functional properties.

Vollmer, T. R., & Iwata, B. A. (1992). Differential reinforcement as treatment for behavior disorders: Procedural and functional variations. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 13(4), 393-417.

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Differential Reinforcement: Theory & Definition

This video training describes differential reinforcement for teachers and parents.

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