REFERENCE: Moreno, R., Hovell, M. F. (1982). Teaching survival English skills and assessment of collateral behavior. Behavior Modification, 6, 375-388.

An ABAB reversal design was used to test the effects of contingent access to a language laboratory on the academic achievement and off-task behavior of a 16-year-old Spanish-speaking high school student. Contingencies were introduced following baseline, removed, and reintroduced only for correctly answering a series of life survival questions in English (e.g. What should one do in case of fire?). No contingencies were placed on collateral off-task responses. Coincident with initiation of contingent privileges, correct English answers changed from less than 40% to more than 85%. Performance decreased toward baseline levels during the reversal condition and again increased when training was reinstituted. Further, there was a negatively correlated change in each of five separate untreated off-task responses corresponding to changes in correct English answers. Among these, aggression and disruptive noise responses were decreased to zero with an increase in academic achievement. Thus, reinforcement contingencies for academic achievement were shown as effective for simultaneously teaching life-survival English skills and decreasing socially inappropriate behavior for a Spanish-speaking immigrant.


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