The Effects of Feedback on the Performance of Paraprofessional Behavior Modifiers and Their Retarded-Trainees
The problem. To determine whether the behavior modification skills of hospital attendants are improvable by program respecifications, delayed graphic feedback, or by immediate verbal feedback. To also determine if these improved skills would result in the desired behavior change in the retarded trainees. Procedure. The behavior modification performance of two trainers and the performance of their retarded trainees were measured and recorded throughout the two studies. After initial observation, the experimenter rewrote the program specifications for both studies, in order to improve their quality. Further improvement in the performance of the trainers and trainees was attempted by use of conventional feedback techniques in a multiple baseline design. Findings. The results show that more detailed and specific program specifications were successful in: 1) improving the trainers' ability to acquire the trainees attention precurrent to the cue, 2} increasing the appropriate use of verbal cues by the trainers, and 3) decreasing the rate of self stimulatory and disruptive behavior exhibited by the trainees. In Study II, when prompting specifications were increased in complexity, overprompting and a decrease in correct scheduling of prompts resulted. Delayed graphic feedback was effective in improving the prompting, reinforcing, and timing skills of the trainers. However, the ability of the trainer in Study II to accurately time the durations of the inter-related overcorrection procedures, was only improved by immediate verbal feedback. Improvements were maintained in all post feedback conditions. Conclusions. It was concluded that some shaping skills were easily improvable by program specifications, while other shaping skills required various types of feedback to improve. Moreover, these improved skills resulted in the desired behavior change of the trainees. Recommendations. It is recommended that to effectively improve trainee performance, program specification and feedback should be used, as needed, to improve the trainer's performance.
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