Acceptability of Rewards Among High School Teachers, Parents, Students, and Administrators: Ecological Implications for Consultation at the High School Level

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [North Dakota State University]On: 17 December 2014, At: 23:06Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH,UK</p><p>Journal of Educational andPsychological ConsultationPublication details, including instructions forauthors and subscription information:</p><p>Acceptability of RewardsAmong High School Teachers,Parents, Students, andAdministrators: EcologicalImplications for Consultation atthe High School LevelCindy L. Gray , Terry B. Gutkin &amp; Tim R. RileyPublished online: 10 Nov 2009.</p><p>To cite this article: Cindy L. Gray , Terry B. Gutkin &amp; Tim R. Riley (2001)Acceptability of Rewards Among High School Teachers, Parents, Students, andAdministrators: Ecological Implications for Consultation at the High School Level,Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 12:1, 25-43, DOI: 10.1207/S1532768XJEPC1201_02</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all theinformation (the Content) contained in the publications on our platform.However, Taylor &amp; Francis, our agents, and our licensors make norepresentations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness,or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinions and viewsexpressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, andare not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of theContent should not be relied upon and should be independently verified withprimary sources of information. 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Terms &amp; Conditions of access and use can be found at</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Nor</p><p>th D</p><p>akot</p><p>a St</p><p>ate </p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity] </p><p>at 2</p><p>3:06</p><p> 17 </p><p>Dec</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p><p></p></li><li><p>Acceptability of Rewards AmongHigh School Teachers, Parents,Students, and Administrators:</p><p>Ecological Implications forConsultation at the High School Level</p><p>Cindy L. Gray and Terry B. GutkinUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln</p><p>Tim R. RileyMunroe-Meyer Institute for Genetics and Rehabilitation</p><p>Although rewards play a critical role in virtually all intervention plans gener-ated by behavioral consultants, we have virtually no knowledge of whichspecific rewards and reward categories are acceptable to the various constitu-ents of consultation services. A participant-generated survey was designedand administered to assess the acceptability of 90 different rewards from theperspective of persons occupying different positions in the ecosystems ofhigh school students (i.e., high school teachers, parents, administrators, andstudents themselves). Findings of this exploratory study revealed that noneof the seven reward categories that were studied were viewed as highly ac-ceptable across all surveyed groups. With the possible exception of academicactivities, which had reasonably strong support among all the participantgroups, important differences were found across the reward categories whencomparing the ratings of adults versus students. An examination of the indi-vidual survey items revealed only a small handful of rewards that received atleast moderate support among all the constituent groups. Difficulties facingbehavioral consultants in high school settings are discussed, along with the</p><p>JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CONSULTATION, 12(1), 2543Copyright 2001, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.</p><p>Correspondence should be addressed to Terry B. Gutkin, 117 Bancroft Hall, University ofNebraskaLincoln, Lincoln, NE 685880345. Email:</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Nor</p><p>th D</p><p>akot</p><p>a St</p><p>ate </p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity] </p><p>at 2</p><p>3:06</p><p> 17 </p><p>Dec</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>need for more research addressing persuasion and interpersonal influence aspotential mechanisms for enhancing reward acceptability.</p><p>Although the scientific literature pertaining to treatment acceptability hasgrown substantially in recent years (e.g., Elliott, 1988; Fairbanks &amp; Stinnett,1997; Gresham &amp; Lopez, 1996; Rasnake, 1993; Reimers, Wacker, &amp; Koeppl,1987), we have virtually no knowledge of which rewards school-basedconsultees find acceptable for use in their classrooms. Given that teachersare less likely to implement an intervention program that they find unac-ceptable (e.g., Axelrod, Moyer, &amp; Berry, 1990; Cafferty, 1992; Hughes, 1992;Lentz, Allen, &amp; Ehrhardt, 1996; Margolis, Fish, &amp; Wepner, 1990; Snyder &amp;Kendzierski, 1982) and that rewards are likely to be an integral element ofalmost every intervention program emerging from behavioral consultationefforts (Bergan &amp; Kratochwill, 1990), it is important for school-based con-sultants to develop a more extensive and empirically validated under-standing of this subject.</p><p>The need to improve our grasp of reward acceptability may be particu-larly pressing for those who work in high schools. For one thing, becausehigh school students regularly interact with numerous teachers during thecourse of each day, and problems are unlikely to be isolated in singularclassroom environments, it is highly probable that behavioral consulta-tions in this setting will involve multiple rather than single consultees.Identifying acceptable rewards may be especially challenging within thiscontext. Additionally, high school-based behavioral consultation normallyinvolves clients who have access to potent rewards outside the school en-vironment (Houlihan, Jesse, Levine, &amp; Sombke, 1991; Sharpe, Wheldall, &amp;Merrett, 1987), thus making the design of effective reinforcement-basedschool interventions all the more difficult. Clearly, knowing which re-wards typically are acceptable to high school teachers would simplify thetask facing high school-based behavioral consultants as they function withgroups of consultees on various cases. Of equal importance, understand-ing which rewards are usually unacceptable would reduce the likelihoodof suggesting inappropriate options within the context of a behavioral in-tervention plan.</p><p>To enhance the utility and external validity of the extant acceptabilityliterature, it is also very important to expand the current knowledge basebeyond teachers (Dappen &amp; Gutkin, 1986; Fairbanks &amp; Stinnett, 1997;Gresham &amp; Lopez, 1996), to include other vital stakeholders in the consul-tation ecosystem. In particular, the perceptions of administrators, parents,and students need to be incorporated into our research. For one thing, re-gardless of whether teachers find a reward to be acceptable for inclusion in</p><p>26 GRAY, GUTKIN, RILEY</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Nor</p><p>th D</p><p>akot</p><p>a St</p><p>ate </p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity] </p><p>at 2</p><p>3:06</p><p> 17 </p><p>Dec</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>a reinforcement-based intervention, they may not be able to use this re-ward in practice if either their administrators or the parents of their clientsfind it to be unacceptable. Likewise, it would not be surprising if some re-wards deemed to be appropriate by adults (e.g., teachers, administrators,parents) might not be particularly acceptable to students themselves, thusrendering these stimuli impotent for all practical purposes.</p><p>To date, we could find no research addressing the reward preferencesfor high school teachers, high school administrators, or the parents of highschool students in the United States. The research addressing reward ac-ceptability among high school students themselves is also quite limited, al-though there has been some research conducted in Great Britain (Caffyn,1989; Sharpe et al., 1987) and Hong Kong (Wan &amp; Salili, 1996) examiningthe attitudes of secondary students, teachers, or both toward praise andother rewards. The British studies suggest that adolescents may prefer pri-vate adult praise, positive letters home, and free time, with ninth-gradestudents also expressing high preferences for edibles and small gifts. Wanand Salili found greater support for adult public praise.</p><p>The purpose of the current study was to initiate a research literature ex-amining the acceptability of rewards that might be earned by students inhigh school settings. Specifically, the intent was to determine whether re-wards exist that might be used to encourage improved school performancewhile simultaneously being considered highly acceptable to teachers, ad-ministrators, parents, and students. If such rewards could be identified,they would be of significant utility for consultants as they design behav-ioral programs for high school students.</p><p>METHOD</p><p>Participants</p><p>Participants were drawn from a small, suburban, predominantly White,Midwestern school district. All of the districts administrators (n = 8), all ofthe teachers at the districts single high school (grades 9 12; n = 36), all10th-grade parents listed in the schools address system (n = 116), and thetotal student enrollment of a biology class required for all 10th graders (n =116) were invited to participate. Teachers (39% women, 61% men) rangedin experience from 1 to 38 years (M = 17), and students (52% girls, 48% boys)ranged in age from 15 to 19 (M = 16). Response rates for administrators,teachers, parents, and students were 100%, 61%, 22%, and 94%, respec-</p><p>ACCEPTABILITY OF REWARDS IN HIGH SCHOOL 27</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Nor</p><p>th D</p><p>akot</p><p>a St</p><p>ate </p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity] </p><p>at 2</p><p>3:06</p><p> 17 </p><p>Dec</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>tively, for the preliminary study; and 88%, 78%, 39%, and 84%, respec-tively, for the main study.1</p><p>Procedures</p><p>Preliminary study. During the preliminary study, all participantswere randomly assigned to receive one of two scenarios describing ficti-tious students who were experiencing difficulty in school. One scenario de-picted a boy, Burt, and the other depicted a girl, Betty. Both Burt andBetty were described as high school juniors who appeared to have no men-tal or physical impairments. The scenario described them as having poorattendance, poor work completion, and a lack of attentiveness duringschool. The scenario went on to explain that punishment alone did not ap-pear to be working; it further projected that poor outcomes (e.g., droppingout, poor paying jobs, adjudication) would be likely unless Burt and Bettycould be motivated to improve in school. The scenario concluded by askingparticipants to think of rewards for which Burt and Betty might be moti-vated to pay attention in class and complete homework. Along with the sce-nario, each participant received a letter outlining the purposes of the study.This letter included information that the study was being conducted as partof an ongoing incentive program already in place at the school, thus mak-ing participants aware that the suggestions provided would be consideredfor implementation at their school. This existing incentive program al-lowed students to earn hall passes, snack coupons, parking spaces, cash, orlunch at a local restaurant, or all of these based on excellence or improve-ments in behavior, attendance, or quarterly grading reports.</p><p>Participants were instructed to list all of the things and activities thatmight be used, contingent on improved performance at school, to motivateBurt and Betty. Participants were provided with three examples: (a) extratime in the student commons area (Betty) or weight room (Burt), (b) freepizza certificates donated by a local restaurant, and (c) extended weekendcurfews. Participants were asked to write down as many ideas as theycould, to number each one, and to be specific.</p><p>Student materials were distributed and completed during a biologyclass. Teacher and administrator materials were sent via school mail andreturned to the school secretary. In an effort to avoid selective sampling of</p><p>28 GRAY, GUTKIN, RILEY</p><p>1For the main study, the response rate is based on 109 parents and 114 students. Differences</p><p>in the numbers of parents and students receiving surveys between the preliminary study andthe main study reflect changes in class enrollment from the fall to the spring semester.</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Nor</p><p>th D</p><p>akot</p><p>a St</p><p>ate </p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity] </p><p>at 2</p><p>3:06</p><p> 17 </p><p>Dec</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>parents, materials were mailed to all 10th-grade parents, along withstamped, addressed return envelopes. A reminder note was subsequentlysent to parents through the schools monthly newsletter.</p><p>Two raters independently coded the completed response sheets to iden-tify the usable items from each participant. To be included in the final sur-vey, items had to specify a reward that could be delivered contingently in ahigh school setting within 5 weeks or less of a target behavior having oc-curred. The 5-week limit was chosen because it corresponded to normalgrade reporting periods and because a longer contingency time framewould be of limited utility for a consultant attempting to use the rewardsin an intervention program. Some extremely similar items, such as sugges-tions involving different brands of soft drinks, were combined into a singleitem (e.g., a can of pop). Based on their review of the total item pool, thetwo raters developed categories under which each item could be grouped.Seven categories emerged from this process: (a) adult social rewards (n = 8;e.g., principal letters of encouragement); (b) peer social rewards (n = 5; e.g.,a few minutes at the end of class to talk with their friends); (c) edibles (n = 6;e.g., drink pop during classes); (d) tangibles (n = 6); e.g., pack of pens orpencils); (e) money (n = 8; e.g., $5 for each weeks improvement); (f) aca-demic activities (n = 17; e.g., have a teacher help tutor him or her duringstudy hall); and (g) nonacademic activities (n = 40; e.g., an extra 5 minadded on to lunchtime).</p><p>Point-by-point interrater reliability was calculated both for the identifi-cation of items from participants response sheets and for the classificationof items into the seven reward categories. In both instances the reliabilitywas 89%, which was calculated by dividing the number of agreements bythe number of agreements plus disagreements. Following these reliabilitychecks, differences between the two raters were resolved via discussion, sothat all items were identified and classified with perfect agreement.</p><p>Main study. All the ideas generated in the preliminary study that metthe criteria for inclusion (n = 90) were presented to the total pool of partici...</p></li></ul>


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