Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

The Effects of the CW-FIT Group Contingency on Class-Wide and Individual Behavior in an Urban First Grade Classroom

Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

The Effects of the CW-FIT Group Contingency on Class-Wide and Individual Behavior in an Urban First Grade Classroom

Article excerpt

Abstract

The current study examined the effects of the Class-wide Function-related Intervention Teams (CW-FIT), a class-wide group contingency, on the on-task behavior of all students in a first grade class and the on-task and disruptive behavior of three target students within that class who were nominated by their teacher through a behavioral screening. The classroom teacher used a systematic instruction model (i.e., direct instruction, model, and role-play) to teach three behavioral skills, including (a) gaining the teacher's attention appropriately, (b) following directions, and (c) ignoring inappropriate peer behavior. These skills were reinforced through use of an interdependent group contingency, the CW-FIT program, incorporating class teams, awarding points, and rewards for meeting point goals. The effects of the intervention on target student and class behavior were evaluated in a reversal design. Results showed the CW-FIT program was effective in increasing the on-task behavior of the class and target students. A reduction in disruptive behavior was also seen for each target student during intervention. Students and teacher reported a high degree of satisfaction with the intervention.

Keywords: group contingency, classroom management

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Discipline and behavior problems have been identified by teachers and the general public as among the biggest problems facing public schools today (Chafouleas, Volpe, Gresham, & Cook, 2010; Rose & Gallup, 2005). Numerous organizations, including the American Psychological Association, Center for the Study and Prevention of School Violence, and Center for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, advocate positive and preventative strategies (Horner, Sugai, & Anderson, 2010; Simonsen, Fairbanks, Briesch, Myers, & Sugai, 2008). Professionals in the field of special education research also advocate comprehensive strategies and preventative approaches to increase learning and improve behavior, focusing on early screening of children for emotional and behavioral disorders and the development of intervention programs designed to prevent these disorders in at-risk individuals (Epstein, Atkins, Cullinan, Kutash, & Weaver, 2008; Walker et al., 1998).

Class-wide Function-related Intervention Teams (CW-FIT, Kamps, Wills, Bannister et al., 2015; Kamps et al., 2010; Wills et al., 2010) is a program developed in response to these recommendations and the concerns surrounding problem behavior in schools. CW-FIT is intended as a preventative approach for classrooms in which behavior problems may be more likely to occur, as well as a tool to address problem behaviors that may be ongoing in classrooms. Thus, CW-FIT was designed based on evidence- and research-based interventions to address disruptive student behavior. The program consists of several key components, including (a) teaching specific behavioral skills that may increase appropriate behavior, (b) increasing teacher attention (praise and points) to appropriate behavior, (c) reducing teacher and peer attention for inappropriate behavior, and (d) differentially reinforcing behavioral skills through a token system (points) within a group contingency format.

A primary component of CW-FIT is reinforcement of desirable classroom behaviors through a group contingency. The literature defines three different types of group contingency methods. They are (a) independent group contingency method in which students earn incentives based on their individual behavior, (b) dependent group contingency when a group or team of students earns incentives based on the behavior from one student or a small subgroup within the team, and (c) interdependent group contingency method that requires all team members to behave in a specified way in order to reach a criterion to earn incentives (Tingstrom, Sterling-Turner, & Wilczynski, 2006). CW-FIT uses an interdependent group contingency method. …

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