Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

R. Kenton Denny


This study investigated whether descriptive analyses, experimental analyses, and reinforcer assessments produced similar patterns of data. Descriptive analyses were conducted to identify baseline levels of disruptive behavior and to systematically describe the co-variation between disruptive behaviors and teacher attention, peer attention, and the academic task. Data on disruptive behavior were analyzed by computing conditional probabilities associated with the preceding and maintaining stimuli (e.g., peer attention). Experimental analyses were conducted to examine the extent to which disruptive behavior was sensitive to the instructional task or to the systematically programmed consequences (e.g., teacher attention). A preference assessment was conducted to identify preferred stimuli for each subject (e.g., edibles). Hypotheses were developed and interventions were based on a simple contingency reversal using a changing condition within subject multiple baseline across subjects design and implemented within the naturally occurring reading class. Six children between the ages of 6--7 years within an urban school district served as subjects. The results showed that both descriptive and experimental analyses produced similar data for all six subjects. In addition, the intervention derived from the preference assessment was shown to be more effective than the interventions derived from the descriptive and experimental analyses for all six subjects. Results are discussed in terms of costs, efficacy, and efficiency of the various assessment procedures investigated.