Date of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Keith C. Radley, III

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Brad A. Dufrene

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Joe Olmi

Committee Member 3 Department



The present study sought to evaluate the effects of two reinforcement contingencies on the use of behavior specific praise in the classroom setting. An alternating treatments design was used to rapidly evaluate the effects of both an independent and interdependent paired contingency to increase frequency of behavior specific praise delivery. Four general education elementary school teachers and their students participated. Teachers’ use of behavior specific and general praise, as well as, behavior specific and general reprimands were evaluated during baseline and treatment phases. Data were also collected on students’ levels of academic and disruptive behaviors. Both the independent and interdependent conditions resulted in higher frequencies of behavior specific praise and reduced use of reprimands, both general and behavior specific. Student levels of academic behavior increased while disruption decreased across both contingencies. Results of the present study are discussed in terms of related literature and implications for applied practice.