Master's Theses

Date of Award

Summer 1973

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Robert Adams


The present study was designed to compare the effectiveness of a token program using self-administered tokens, no record keeping duties and self-administered backup reinforcement as home to a similar program where the self-administration of backup reinforcement was conducted at school. The subjects used in the study were 16-sixth grade males. The target behaviors for the study were accuracy in math and spelling. The study was divided into two experiments. Tokens were pieces of model car and airplane kits. The backup reinforcement was the process of putting the kits together and the finished model. Because of the nature of the backup reinforcement, neither the teacher nor the parent was responsible for the delivery of backup reinforcement nor was anyone required to keep records of how many tokens were needed for a given backup reinforce. In the first experiment, accuracy on math assignments was the target behavior. From the baseline data, an average score was established for each subject. During the token phase of the experiment, subjects could earn tokens when their daily math scores exceeded their average score. Two tokens were awarded for every percentage point a subject’s daily score exceeded his average score. In Group A, backup reinforcement was self-administered at school. In Group B, backup reinforcement was self-administered at home. No significant increases in math accuracy occurred in either Group A or Group B. The second experiment was identical to the first experiment with the exception that accuracy on spelling tests was the target behavior. Again, no increases in spelling grades occurred in Groups A or B. Because neither token program resulted in increased academic performance in either experiment, the final analysis of the study was not concerned with which token program was more effective, but with why the token program failed in general.


Copyright 1973 Barrett C. Halderman


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