Glossary of Terms & Links


Glossary Terms: Behavioral Intervention

Behavioral Contracts. A behavioral contract is a written document between an instructor and student which specifies: (a) expected behaviors; (b) positive and negative consequences; and (c) time frame of the contract with review dates. The contract is then signed by the instructor, student, and others who participate in the contract. Behavioral contracts are a practical and creative way for instructors to help students of all ages improve various problematic behaviors, such as: Classroom and social behavior, substance abuse, and school attendance.
Link: Behavioral Contracts

Curriculum: Appropriate and Motivating. An appropriate and motivating curriculum challenges students while enabling them to achieve success. It is a curriculum that is neither too difficult nor too easy for the functioning level of the student.
Link: Appropriate & Motivating

Daily Schedule. A structured daily schedule is a daily outline of classroom activities designed to maximize student learning. Structuring time through a planned daily schedule of specific activities and transitions maximizes "on task" (i.e., engaged) behavior and minimizes students' inappropriate behavior. The daily schedule must be followed, and a sufficient number of staff must be present to make high rates of on-task behaviors feasible.
Link: Structured Daily Schedule

Data Collection. Data collection is collecting specific information about a student's academic or behavioral performance. Collecting data helps an instructor determine a program's effectiveness. By collecting and analyzing data on a systematic basis, an instructor knows when to make changes in both academic and behavioral programs. Data collection has two critical components: information gathering and decision making. Information gathering may involve curriculum-based assessment, observing classroom behavior, grading papers, or parent interviews. The more structured and systematic the process, the more valid the information. Once the data is collected, the instructor must then make decisions based on that information. Decisions might be made regarding changes in curriculum or the management of specific classroom behaviors.
Link: Data Collection

Differential Reinforcement. Differential reinforcement is the reinforcement of one form of behavior and not another, or the reinforcement of a response under one condition but not another. Differential reinforcement uses positive reinforcement to differentiate or separate appropriate student behavior from inappropriate behavior by increasing one while decreasing the other.
Link: Differential Reinforcement

Environmental Engineering. Environmental engineering is a formal term for the process of arranging the physical environment of the classroom to enhance student learning and behavior. The physical environment of the classroom serves as a complex set of stimuli that may significantly influence appropriate or inappropriate behaviors. Instructors can positively affect student performance by paying careful attention to such factors as the basic layout of classroom space, wall displays, traffic patterns, and other more subtle aspects of the physical environment.
Link: Environmental Engineering

Functional Behavior Assessment. A functional behavior assessment is a comprehensive and individualized strategy to identify the purpose or function of a studentís problem behavior(s); develop and implement a plan to modify variables that maintain the problem behavior; and teach appropriate replacement behaviors using positive interventions.
Link: Functional Behavior Assessment

Group Reinforcement Response Contingency. A group reinforcement response contingency reinforces an entire group when particular members meet the arranged condition or contingency. The contingency can be evaluated on the performance of a specific individual, the average of two or three random students' performances, or the average of the high and low student's performance.
Link: Group Reinforement Response Contingency

Home Notes. A home note is an informational note that provides communication between an instructor and parent and is an effective method for improving a student's academic and social behaviors. Home notes can be a powerful tool for improving a student's behavior because they regularly inform parents of their child's progress and allow the use of consequences that are rarely available to the teacher.
Link: Home Notes

Instructional Pacing. Instructional pacing is the speed or rate at which an instructor presents the task in a lesson. Pacing may also refer to the speed at which progress is made through a particular curriculum or instructional program. The pace of instruction is an important consideration in reading, spelling, math, and social skills curricular areas. Students learn more when their lessons are conducted at a brisk pace. A brisk pace of instruction enhances student attention and increases the number of response opportunities-two factors that are strongly associated with increased learning. Some research also suggests that a brisk pace of instruction may actually decrease disruptive classroom behavior.
Link: Instructional Pacing

Parent Conference. Parents must be notified of student difficulties and attempts made to involve them in problem resolution. A parent conference is also an excellent opportunity to discuss a child's success. Parents may be involved via on-going phone calls and /or school visits.
Link: Parent Conference

Positive Reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is a procedure whereby a student, contingent upon performing a specific behavior, is immediately rewarded to maintain or increase that behavior. (Nondefinition): Are we suggesting that you bribe students? No! Most of the time when we hear the word "bribery," we think of people being bought off to do something illegal, corrupt, or unethical. Instead, positive reinforcement increases the chances that a student will do something appropriate that will benefit him in the future. We are suggesting that you use procedures that encourage, support, and empower students to achieve positive outcomes in school and in the community.
Link: Positive Reinforcement

Positive Responses. Positive responses are positive comments or actions to students who demonstrate favorable behavior. A high rate of positive responses is typically defined as 4:1, that is a minimum of 4 positive responses to every 1 negative response. Instructors create a positive environment by frequently responding positively to students for appropriate and correct responding or performance. Instructors who provide more positive responses to students than negative ones have students who want to remain in the classroom rather than be moved to another environment.
Link: High Rate of Positive Responses

Precision Commands. A precision command, sometimes referred to as a precision request, is a precise verbal statement made by staff to enhance student compliance. Student compliance is typically defined as following directions within 10 seconds.
Link: Precision Commands

Specialized Equipment. Specialized equipment, or assistive technology, refers to any item, piece of equipment, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of students with disabilities. This may involve such items as large print material, a typewriter, a computer with specialized software, or augmentative communication devices. For students with disabilities, specialized equipment means increased independence, productivity, self-worth, and integration at home, at school, or in the workplace.
Link: Specialized Equipment

Staff Training. Implementing effective behavioral interventions requires that all those involved in the intervention are thoroughly knowledgeable about and competent in the use of specific intervention techniques. Thus, staff training development is an essential preliminary strategy to avoid problems through proactive planning. This may involve formal and informal inservice training, individual consultations, and teacher support groups.
Link: Staff Training

Supervision. School staff are responsible for overseeing and guiding their students as needed throughout the school day to ensure their school success and prevent problems. Appropriate supervision may include program development, management, or monitoring for students to be academically or behaviorally successful at school.
Link: Supervision

Token Economy. A token economy is a system of individual reinforcement of target behaviors in which tokens are administered and exchanged later for backup reinforcers. To be successful, a person must be reinforced for increasing or decreasing existing behavior as well as successive approximations of the behaviors we wish to establish. Common forms of tokens are plastic or metal circular chips, marks on a blackboard, points marked on a paper point card, stars, holes punched in a card, stickers, paper clips, beans in a jar, happy faces, and play money. Token systems may not deprive students of their individual rights. Individual program plans rather than group token systems must be used for management of problem behaviors.
Link: Token Economy