The Effect of Social & Token Economy Reinforcements on Academic Achievement of 9th Grade Boy Students with Intellectual Disabilities in a Science Course

Article excerpt

Objective: This study investigates the effect of social and token economy reinforcements on academic achievement of 9th grade boy students with intellectual disabilities in an experimental science class in Tehran Province.

Method: The method used for this study was experimental by pre-test, post- test with a control group. The boy students with intellectual disabilities from three junior high schools participated in this study. The sample consisted of thirty, 9th grade boy students with intellectual disabilities in the selected schools; the schools were chosen by the multistage cluster method. To measure the progress of students in the science class, a teacher made test and theWechsler intelligence test for matching the groups for IQ were used. To ensure validity, the content validity criteria depended tests calculated by the Lashe method and teachers' perspective were used. The reliability coefficient was obtained by the reliability coefficient of related tests; the percent agreement method and the obtained data were analyzed using one-way variance analysis and Shefe prosecution test.

Results: The results showed that there was a significant increase in academic achievement of students with intellectual disabilities when using token economy than using social reinforcements (p =0/002) compared with the control group (p>0.001). Also, when using social reinforcements, the academic achievement of students was more than the control group (p=0.021).

Conclusion: Token economy and social reinforcements increased the academic achievement of students with intellectual disabilities in the science class; and also the effect of token economy reinforcements was more than social reinforcements on the subjects.

Key words: Intellectual disability, reinforcements, social reinforcements, token reinforcements.

Iran J Psychiatry 2011; 6:25-30

Those with significant limitations in intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior whose problems are created before they reach 18, are categorized as having intellectual disability (1). This group form about 2 to 3 percent of the population of every society (2). Due to the fact that mentally retarded students have difficulty learning abstract material, objectivity should be emphasized in their training, and they must observe the outcome of their behavior immediately (3). Therefore, educational methods that emphasize the objectivity and outcome of behavior for mentally retarded students will have more occasions. In operant behaviorism, outcomes play an important role in learning a new behavior (4). In operant behaviorism, motivation comes in from understanding the relationship between behavior and outcome (5). In this approach, the outcome of behavior will be reinforcement that in

general can be divided in two categories of internal and external, and may be positive or negative. External reinforcement includes the types of phenomena, objects and events that are outside the individual, such as score, money, food, etc (4). They may also be called rewards (6). The positive reinforcements can be defined as social reinforcements and token economy reinforcements

Social reinforcements (including attention, appreciation and encouragement), which are often rewarded by toys or food are more valuable. Other samples, fondling, and referring to the shoulder like to encourage students, encouraging words (fore others), to sign consent nod, or smile and smile with approval means a lot that can be (7). All teachers know when students appreciated because of their positive behavior; they tend less to search and considering inappropriate behavior. In contrast, when a student trying to be overlooked considering, the probability of learning disturbance increases (8). In exchange for giving the award to achieve optimal activity and a strong tendency towards it has caused many researchers to think that instead of just the main stimulus causing extraneous stimulus to motivate the students to be (Weeks, 2006). …