Varying Opportunities to Respond to Improve Behavior of Elementary Students with Developmental Disabilities

Main Article Content

Teresa D. Bolt Blake D. Hansen Paul Caldarella K. Richard Young Leslie Williams Howard P. Wills


This study investigated the effects of varying opportunities to respond when using a behavior management program with three elementary school students with developmental disabilities in a small group special education setting. These students exhibited both academic and behavioral difficulties. With the implementation of Class-Wide Function-Related Intervention Teams (CW-FIT) with low opportunities to respond (OTR), students increased their active engagement and correct responses, as well as decreased their disruptive behaviors. When CW-FIT with high OTR was implemented, students showed an even greater improvement than CW-FIT with low OTR. Higher rates of OTR resulted in higher levels of active engagement and correct responses and decreases in disruptive behavior for all three students. These results indicate that CW-FIT in combination with high OTR can help elementary school teachers manage students’ behavior and increase students’ correct responding when implemented in a small group special education setting.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
BOLT, Teresa D. et al. Varying Opportunities to Respond to Improve Behavior of Elementary Students with Developmental Disabilities. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, [S.l.], v. 11, n. 4, p. 327-334, mar. 2019. ISSN 1307-9298. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 22 apr. 2019.


Ashburner, J., Ziviani, J., & Rodger, S. (2010). Surviving in the mainstream: Capacity of children with autism spectrum disorders to perform academically and regulate their emotions and behavior at school. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 4, 18–27. doi:10.1016/j.rasd.2009.07.002
Caldarella, P., Williams, L., Hansen, B. D., & Wills, H. (2015). Managing student behavior with Class-Wide Function-Related Intervention Teams: An observational study in early elementary classrooms. Early Childhood Education Journal, 43, 357–365. doi:10.1007/s10643-014-0664-3
Carnine, D. W. (1976). Effects of two teacher-presentation rates on off-task behavior, answering correctly, and participation. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 9, 199–206. doi:10.1901/jaba.1976.9-199
Carr, E. G., Taylor, J. C., & Robinson, S. (1991). The effects of severe behavior problems in children on the teaching behavior of adults. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 24, 523–535. doi:10.1901/jaba.1991.24-523
Conroy, M., Sutherland, K., Haydon, T., Stormont, M., & Harmon, J. (2009). Preventing and ameliorating young children's chronic problem behaviors: An ecological classroom based approach. Psychology in the Schools, 46, 3–17. doi:10.1002/pits.20350
Coogan, B. A., Kehle, T. J., Bray, M. A., & Chafouleas, S. M. (2007). Group contingencies, randomization of reinforcers, and criteria for reinforcement, self-monitoring, and peer feedback on reducing inappropriate classroom behavior. School Psychology Quarterly, 22, 540-556.
Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied behavior analysis (2nd Ed.). Columbus, OH: Pearson.
Desrochers, M. N., & Fallon, M. (2014). Instruction in Functional Assessment. Geneseo, NY: Open SUNY Textbooks.
Engelmann, S., & Hanner, S. (2008). Reading Mastery Signature Edition. Columbus, OH: SRA/McGraw-Hill.
Hammill, D. D., Pearson, N. A., & Weiderholt, J. L. (1996). The Comprehensive Test of Nonverbal Intelligence. Austin, TX: Pro-ed.
Horner, R. H., Carr, E. G., Halle, J., McGee, G., Odom, S., & Wolery, M. (2005). The use of single-subject research to identify evidence-based practice in special education. Exceptional Children, 71, 165–179. doi:10.1177/001440290507100203
Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 (2004).
Kamps, D. M., Tankersley, M., Ellis, C. (2000). Social skills interventions for young at-risk
students: A 2-year follow-up study. Behavioral Disorders, 25, 310-324.
Kamps, D., Wills, H. P., Dawson-Bannister, H., Heitzman-Powell, L., Kottwitz, E., Hansen, B., & Fleming, K. (2015). Class-Wide Function-Related Intervention Teams “CW-FIT” efficacy trial outcomes. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 17, 134–145. doi:10.1177/1098300714565244
Kamps, D., Wills, H. P., Heitzman-Powell, L., Laylin, J., Szoke, C., Petrillo, T., & Culey, A. (2011). Class-wide function-related intervention teams: Effects of group contingency programs in urban classrooms. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 13, 154–167. doi:10.1177/1098300711398935
Kennedy, C. (2005). Single-case designs for educational research. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.
Levinson, S., Kopari, J., & Fredstrom, J. (2002). Helping kids change their behavior: The helper’s guide to the MotivAider method. Thief River Falls, MN: Behavioral Dynamics.
Lewis, T. J., Hudson, S., Richter, M., & Johnson, N. (2004). Scientifically supported practices in emotional and behavioral disorders: A proposed approach and brief review of current practices. Behavioral Disorders, 29, 247–259.
Lien-Thorne, S. & Kamps, D., (2005). Replication study of the First Step to Success early intervention program. Behavioral Disorders, 31, 19-33.
MacSuga-Gage, A. S., & Simonsen, B. (2015). Examining the effects of teacher-directed opportunities to respond on student outcomes: A systematic review of the literature. Education and Treatment of Children, 38, 211–239. doi:10.1353/etc.2015.0009
Nelson, J. R., Martella, R C., & Galand, B. (1998). The effects of teaching school expectations and establishing a consistent consequence on formal office disciplinary actions. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 6, 153-163.
Reschly, A. L., & Christenson, S. L. (2006). Prediction of dropout among students with mild disabilities: A case for the inclusion of student engagement variables. Remedial and Special Education, 27, 276–292. doi:10.1177/07419325060270050301
Reynolds, C.R. & Kamphaus, R.W. (2006). BASC-2: Behavior Assessment System for Children (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
Skinner, C. H., & Shapiro, E. S. (1989). A comparison of taped-words and drill interventions on reading fluency in adolescents with behavior disorders. Education and Treatment of Children, 12, 123-133.
Stage, S. A., & Quiroz, D. R. (1997). A meta-analysis of interventions to decrease disruptive classroom behavior in public education settings. School Psychology Review, 26, 333–368.
Sutherland, K. S., Alder, N., & Gunter, P. L. (2003). The effect of varying rates of opportunities to respond to academic requests on the classroom behavior of students with EBD. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 11, 239–248. doi:10.1177/10634266030110040501
Sutherland, K. S., & Wehby, J. H. (2001). Exploring the relationship between increased opportunities to respond to academic requests and the academic and behavioral outcomes of students with EBD. Remedial and Special Education, 22, 113–121. doi:10.1177/074193250102200205
Sutherland, K. S., Wehby, J. H., & Yoder, P. J. (2002). Examination of the relationship between teacher praise and opportunities for students with EBD to respond to academic requests. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 10, 5–13. doi:10.1177/106342660201000102
Tapp, J., Wehby, J., & Ellis, D. (1995). A multiple option observation system for experimental studies: MOOSES. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 27, 25–31. doi:10.3758/BF03203616
Thorne, S., & Kamps, D. (2008). The effects of a group contingency intervention on academic engagement and problem behavior of at-risk students. Behavior Analysis in Practice, 1, 12-18.
Trevino-Maack, S. I., Kamps, D., & Wills, H. (2015). A group contingency plus self-management intervention targeting at-risk secondary students’ class-work and active engagement. Remedial and Special Education, 36, 347–360. doi:10.1177/0741932514561865
U.S. Department of Education. (2008). 30th annual report to Congress on the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2008. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.
Wechsler, D., Kaplan, E., Fein, D., Kramer, J., Morris, R., Delis, D., & Maelender, A. (2003). Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (4th ed.). San Antonio, TX: Pearson.
West, R. P., & Sloane, H. N. (1986). Teacher presentation rate and point delivery rate: Effects on classroom disruption, performance accuracy, and response rate. Behavior Modification, 10, 267–286. doi:10.1177/01454455860103001
Wills, H. P., Iwaszuk, W. M., Kamps, D., & Shumate, E. (2014). CW-FIT: Group contingency effects across the day. Education and Treatment of Children, 37, 191–210. doi:10.1353/etc.2014.0016
Wills, H. P., Kamps, D., Hansen, B., Conklin, C., Bellinger, S., Neaderhiser, J., & Nsubuga, B. (2010). The classwide function-based intervention team program. Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for Children and Youth, 54, 164–171. doi:10.1080/10459880903496230
Woodcock, R. W., McGrew, K. S., & Mather, N. (2001). Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement. Itasca, IL: Riverside Publishing.