Evaluation of Antecedent and Consequent Interventions in Mathematics

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Ron Edwards

Advisor Department



The primary purpose of the investigation is to demonstrate the relative effects of two antecedent interventions, instructional task (IT) and academic skill interventions (SI) on off-task behavior and task fluency for students whose problem behavior is associated with academic work that is frustrational. A secondary purpose of the investigation is to demonstrate the relative effects of a potential reinforcer when combined with the "best" antecedent intervention. Four students participated in the current study. It was hypothesized that students were not academically successful due to a mathematics skill deficit and the off task behaviors are maintained by escape due to the difficulty of the mathematics task. A five step procedure was used to (a) obtain descriptive information about each student's skills deficit and the possible function of his or her off-task behavior, (b) determine whether each student's off-task behavior occurred frequently enough to be a problem, (c) assess each student's academic skills using CBM, (d) evaluate the effects of reducing task difficulty and/or increasing mathematics skills on each student's off-task behavior and task accuracy, and (e) evaluate the effects of reinforcement on task accuracy and on-task behavior. Two dependent variables, off-task behavior and digits correct per minute, were measured and visually analyzed throughout all phases of the study to determine successful interventions. The hypotheses were initially validated through observations and CBM. Differential effects of attempts to reduce task difficulty by introducing easier tasks (IT) or by increasing skill through remedial instruction were then examined. IT produced greater increases in DCPM for 2 students and SI produced greater increases in DCPM for the other 2 students. All students increased their targeted task fluency when reinforcement was added to either IT or SI. With respect to the effects of IT and SI with and without reinforcement on off-task behaviors, IT was associated with greater reductions in off task behaviors relative to baseline than SI. The effects of the addition of reinforcement were inconclusive. The addition of reinforcement to IT or SI did not have an impact on off-task. The implications and future research are discussed.