School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Jessica Talada


Emotional Disturbance, Behavioral Management, Rewards, Token-economy




Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (EBD) face many challenges in the classroom, including the propensity to act-out in class with externalizing behavior such as work avoidance, off-task behavior, refusal to follow rules, and aggression. Past research has focused on the benefits of using reward systems within the classroom, with evidence that those who teach using some form of reward system as a motivator often meet with success. Rewards driven by Token Economies have specifically shown promising results when used with students with disabilities who display challenging behaviors. The purpose of this study was to measure the effects of using physical and non-physical activity rewards on the behavior of students with EBD in the presence of a token economy. A quasi-experimental design with repeated measures was utilized for the study, and a convenience sample of 34 students with EBD from public schools in the Southwest United States was used. The Teacher Child Rating Scale 2.1 (T-CRS) was used to rate the behavior of the participants. Paired sample t-tests were conducted at a 95% confidence level with a Bonferroni correction to measure for significant differences between each of the four behavioral subscales on the T-CRS in order to determine if the four corresponding null hypotheses could be rejected. Results of the study show that there was a significant statistical difference on the behavior of students with EBD on two of the four behavioral subscales, depending on whether they were offered physical activity rewards or non-physical activity rewards. When the results of the study were coupled with the additional analysis, the researcher was able to narrow down which of the reward types proved most effective for increasing pro-social behavior in students with emotional and behavioral disorders.

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