A comparison of behavioral and academically-focused goals within the Mystery Motivator: Effects on disruptive behavior and academic performance

Christina Michelle Hardy, University of Southern Mississippi


Class-wide group contingencies are effective for decreasing inappropriate behavior and increasing academic performance. An interdependent group contingency, a subtype of group contingencies, sets a specific goal for performance across the class, and a reward is delivered only if the group meets the specified criterion. One interdependent group contingency, the Mystery Motivator, has been designed to target behavioral or academically-based goals; however these goals have guided the type of data collected. There are no published studies, to date, that compare behavioral and academic goals and the effects of each type of goal on both decreasing disruptive behavior as well as improving academic performance. The purpose of this study was to test the effects of behaviorally-focused versus academically-focused goals within the Mystery Motivator on students' level of disruptive behavior and level of academic performance. Results of this study showed that the Mystery Motivator with academically-focused goals was equally as effective as the Mystery Motivator with behaviorally-focused goals for reducing the disruptive behavior and increasing the academic performance of three out of four students placed in the general education setting.