The Effect of Token Reinforcement on Standardized I.Q. Test Scores as a Function of Initial I.Q. Level
Zylla, Therese M.
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The probLem. Standardized I.Q. test scores are frequently used as a source of information for making decisions about academic placement (Kolstoe, 1967). Recent research has indicated that individuals differ in motivational level and thus test scores may be reflecting differences in motivation as well as differences in cognitive ability and informational achievements. The present study was concerned with determining whether maximizing motivational level through the use of a token reinforcement program would improve the I.Q. scores of all children or only those children with low I.Q. scores, as previous research has indicated (Clingman & Fowler, 1976). Procedure. All children were tested on the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI) according to standardized instructions. On the basis of the test scores they were placed in either a high I.Q. or a low I.Q. group. Children in each group were randomly assigned to either the experimental or the control condition. Four weeks later, all the children were given a reinforcer effectiveness test. Then the children in the control condition were retested according to standardized instructions. Subjects in the experimental condition were given a token after each correct response. Tokens were exchangable for a variety of activity and tangible items. Findings. Children in the experimental conditions improved their I.Q. scores significantly over children in the control condition. No interaction was found between condition and I.Q. level. That is, the high experimental group improved over the high control group as much as the low experimental group improved over the low control group. Conclusions. A token reinforcement program applied contingently for correct responding increased I.Q. scores of preschool children, regardless of initial I.Q. level. Recommendations. Findings of this study suggest that some children may have motivational deficits and that by maximizing their motivation with a token reinforcement program, their scores may more truly reflect thelr cognitive ability and informational achievements.
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