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Exploring the Impact of Increased Opportunities to Respond on the Behavior of Middle School Students with Emotional and Behavior Disorders


Research on improving the academic and behavioral outcomes of students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) have identified evidence-based strategies to help ameliorate behavior problems and address academic needs in school such as Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) and School-Wide Positive Behavior Support (SW-PBS). However, MTSS and SW-PBS are comprehensive systems that require extensive planning, commitment and resources, and many schools do not implement these programs with fidelity or at all. Therefore, evidence-based practices that can be implemented with little effort or funds are invaluable to the students with EBD and their teachers. A systematic analysis of the research on Opportunities to Respond (OTR) for improving behavioral and/or academic outcomes with students with EBD determined; 1) that increasing OTR to improve behavioral outcomes of students with EBD is a potentially-evidence based practice while insufficient evidence exists to evaluate increased OTR to improve academic outcomes for students with EBD, and 2) Hispanic middle school students with EBD is a potentially vulnerable population that is virtually absent from the current research. A single-subject ABAB research design was used to explore the impact of an increased OTR intervention. One teacher and five male participants (four Hispanic and one African American) in two separate special day class English language arts classes took part in the study. Each class period was divided into two parts; opening-activity (OA) and remainder of class period (RCP). Data were collected on two primary outcome measures (academic engaged time and disruptive behavior), and two secondary measures (teacher response and academic performance). The intervention was delivered during OA and consisted of a computer-based increased OTR activity. Data were collected all class period to explore possible impact of the intervention on the students’ behavior during RCP. Results suggested that structured activities of increased OTR can be a useful strategy to increase academic engaged time while the impact on frequency of disruptive behavior was less clear. The impact of the intervention on student behavior for the remainder of the class period was inconclusive. The teachers most frequent response was non-response (73%), then classroom management (15%) and least common were praise (9%) and corrective feedback (3%). Practical implications, and future research directions are discussed.

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