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A Motivation Intervention Handbook for Educators


Danielle Jordan, Varje Snyder, Ashley Nguyen, David Albert, & Alex Lopez
Marist College

A MOTIVATION INTERVENTION HANDBOOK FOR EDUCATORS

Table of Contents
Introduction to Intervention Websites

Teacher Vision

SchoolFamily.com

Education World: The Educators Best Friend

PBIS World

Introduction to Motivational Reinforcement

10

Mystery Motivator

11

The Response Cost Raffle

15

Behavior Contracts

18

The Token Economy

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A MOTIVATION INTERVENTION HANDBOOK FOR EDUCATORS


Intervention Websites
The following reviews represent websites that can assist educators in administering
motivational interventions. Each resource provides useful information to the interventionist,
educator, student, and parents. The sites include information about motivational interventions,
implementation tips, and supporting research.

A MOTIVATION INTERVENTION HANDBOOK FOR EDUCATORS

Website Review: Teacher Vision


Website Description:
Teacher Vision is a website that is dedicated to helping teachers save time. The site has
over 22,000 classroom-ready lesson plans, printables, and resources. Although the website
offers much more, it is a valuable resource for teachers and school psychologists looking for
information pertaining to student motivation. Using the search tool, a subscriber can find
resources that include different page types. Information is presented as slideshows, articles,
lesson plans, printable pages, resource pages, theme pages, or instant expert pages. Instant
expert pages provide multiple teaching tools, such as classroom-ready lesson plans, books related
to the specific topic, homework assignments, and classroom activities and discussion topics.
When searching motivational resources, the user can also filter the results by page type or
grade level. The articles tend to be broad suggestions for teachers involving successful
motivational techniques, proactive teacher qualities, and descriptions of motivational ideas and
buzz words. The printables typically involve classroom assignments that are engaging and have
proved to capture the interest of students who are detached. The resource page offers links to
resources that help increase student motivation. For example, the Bulletin Boards link supplies
users with ideas to improve effectiveness and enjoyment of lessons with ideas and examples.
The ideas help make a classroom visually appealing and stimulating to students.
The site does have a significant weakness. Although it provides a lot of information, it
does not supply the user with evidence of effectiveness. Without evidence-based measures,
teachers should collect their own data to determine the effectiveness of the technique they use.
Another weakness of the site is that you have to purchases a subscription to the site to utilize all

A MOTIVATION INTERVENTION HANDBOOK FOR EDUCATORS


of the materials. Unless a school district shares a subscription the price could deter educators
from using the site.
Citation:
Family Education Network. (n. d.). Teacher Vision. Retrieved April 23, 2014, from
https://www.teachervision.com/

A MOTIVATION INTERVENTION HANDBOOK FOR EDUCATORS

Website Review: SchoolFamily.com


Website Description:
SchoolFamily.com is a website focused exclusively on assisting parents help their kids
make the most of their school year. The site provides families with expert insight, information,
and resources. SchoolFamily.com serves to help parents set their school-age children up for
year-round success in school.
Although SchoolFamily.com is produced for a family audience, it provides school
psychologists with resources and supportive research when constructing recommendations for
parents of children struggling academically and behaviorally. Parental support makes a big
difference when positive school performance and engagement are required. The site specifically
addresses motivation through an article archive. The Popular Topics section at the bottom of the
home page leads the user to a Topics A-Z tab, which lists articles alphabetically. The site offers
information under two Motivation categories, one of which specifically addressing teenagers.
Once each filter is established, it can then be browsed by grade level.
A limitation of the SchoolFamily.com website is how the articles are collected in the
Motivation archive. The articles are given tags and if those tags include the word motivation,
those articles will appear as a result of the users search. The user needs to be cognizant of what
they are reading, the applicability to their specific students needs, and the likelihood that the
specific ideas will be effective.
Citation:
School Family Media. (n. d.) School Family. Retrieved on April 23, 2014, from
www.schoolfamily.com

A MOTIVATION INTERVENTION HANDBOOK FOR EDUCATORS

Website Review: Education World: The Educators Best Friend


Website Description:
Educationworld.com provides original content, including: lesson plans, practical
information for educators, information on how to integrate technology in the classroom, articles
written by education experts, web site reviews, special features, and professional development.
The site provides Behavioral Management Tips along with a section on Motivating Kids
under the Professional Development drop down menu. The professional development section
features an archive of school climate topics that offers helpful advice for dealing with a wide
variety of classroom situations and various tips on how to motivate students to learn, as well as
to instill a desire for students to produce their best work. The motivational tips are short,
straightforward, and include links for interventions or/and additional resources.
The website provides a tremendous amount of information on numerous topics, the
layout of the site can complicate the users navigation, and searching for a specific subject matter
can be cumbersome. However, because of the sheer volume of information, the website is a
great resource for teachers, administrators, and school psychologists.
Citation:
Education World, Inc. (2014). Education world: The educators best friend.
Retrieved on April 24, 2014, from http://www.educationworld.com

A MOTIVATION INTERVENTION HANDBOOK FOR EDUCATORS

Website Review: PBIS World


Website Description:
Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is an empirical, evidence-based
approach for addressing problem behaviors in students. PBIS is often implemented via a multitiered system (universal, secondary, and tertiary) of assessments and behavioral interventions.
As the tiers increase, the intensity of the interventions and supports increase in accordance with
the individual students behavior and needs.
PBIS World was created to help guide educators through the multiple tiers when
addressing problematic behaviors in students. The website can also be used by other individuals
such as parents or residential counselors at alternative schools or juvenile detention facilities.
The website includes interventions, data collection tools, and resources which are built into the
universal, secondary, and tertiary tiers. When first entering the website, the user is prompted to
choose the behavior of concern from a list of various behaviors ranging from aggression to poor
coping skills. After the behavior of concern is identified, a list of observable behaviors and/or
bodily symptoms is listed. The user is then prompted to choose yes or no if any of the
behaviors/symptoms describe the student. If no, the user is redirected back to the beginning of
the list of possible behaviors. If the user chooses yes as their answer, recommended Tier 1
interventions are listed including information on implementation, data tracking forms, strategies,
and a choice to progress to Tier 2 interventions if Tier 1 services have been implemented for at
least 6 months. To supplement each intervention, resource and support techniques are provided
with printable forms and manuals at the bottom of each intervention. Tier 3 interventions are
listed separately and are tabbed at the top of the page and include information on implementation
and printable resources and supports for each technique.

A MOTIVATION INTERVENTION HANDBOOK FOR EDUCATORS

The website also offers a printable, downloadable book, The PBIS World Book, which
contains all of the information on the site and costs $5.00 for individual use and $20.00 for
multiple users.
PBIS World is not affiliated with any governmental or state agency. There are some
interventions and supports listed on the website which are not evidence-based, therefore users
should proceed with caution when reading the various interventions and should conduct
independent research to evaluate each interventions fidelity and effectiveness.
Citation:
PBIS World. (2014). PBIS World. Retrieved April 23, 2014, from http://www.pbisworld.com

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Introduction to Motivational Reinforcement


In behavioral psychology, reinforcement is an important concept of operant conditioning.
Reinforcement affects the likelihood that future behavior will (or will not) occur whenever that
behavior is preceded by a specific antecedent stimulus. This strengthening effect may be
measured as a higher frequency of behavior, longer duration, greater magnitude, or shorter
latency.
Reinforcement lends itself to motivating students in two ways. A student may want to
avoid "deprivation" and obtain "rewards". In the deprivation technique the student is deprived of
some item that they want. An individual is said to want or need an item if they actively seek it
when it is absent. The more intensely the item is sought for, the greater the need. The second
method involves using a reinforcing stimulus which is valued by the student. Despite the
method, reinforcement occurs only if there is an observable strengthening in behavior.
Citation:
Solley, C. M.& Murphy, G. (1960). Development of the perceptual world. New York, New
York: Basic Books.

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Mystery Motivator
Description:
Motivating students to do certain tasks may be difficult, as many students simply might not want
to complete the assignments. The mystery component in this intervention is based on offering an
unknown reinforcer. The mystery reinforcer will engage students in the academic task, even
when the task is difficult.
Target:
Many students lack motivation to pursue academic success, even in areas where they are
proficient. Mystery Motivators are forms of reinforcement designed to keep them engaged and
participating in the learning process. Mystery Motivators can be used in a variety of content
areas including reading, math, social studies, science, writing, homework completion, and based
on a variety of outcomes including test averages, classroom participation, etc.
Location & Group Size:
This intervention can be class based or targeted to one individual.
Materials:
Preferred Reinforcers List
Reinforcers
Mystery Motivator Chart
Envelopes
Note Cards
Implementation Steps:
1. Develop reward menu with the student or class.

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2. Select a behavior that you wish to reduce or increase and write out the concrete definition for
the behavior.
3. Decide on a time period during the day for which the program will be implemented. For
example choose math class if a student is lacking motivation to complete homework or class
assignments in math.
4. Define goal (Example: 100% homework completion, 80% accuracy on test grades in math).
5. Construct Motivation Chart for the student with all the days of the week.

Randomly place * on a few days of the week (concentrate more motivators during
the teaching phase of the intervention). Each child should have different placement
of the mystery *.

In order to cover up the day, place a colored envelope over every day on the calendar.

In each envelope placed over the *, include a different motivator selected from the
childs favorite list.

6. If criterion is met, have the child remove the envelope on that particular day. If the Mystery
* is located on that day, have them open the envelope to reveal the mystery motivator.
Reinforcement should be implemented as soon as possible.
7. If there is not an *, encourage students that tomorrow will present another chance to earn
the Mystery Motivator.
8. Define the criteria for earning a bonus Motivator. For example, if the student removes four
out of five envelopes they can redeem them for a prize from the reward menu.
Comments/Tips:

Place reinforcement randomly, put a lot of * on the calendar during the teaching
phase of the intervention.

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Clearly define goals so students know what they are expected to achieve.

Reinforcement should be implemented as soon as possible.

It is important to know that the students are performing at grade level and are capable
of the assigned tasks. If not, a more appropriate acquisition-level intervention should
be selected in order to teach the academic skill first.

Students need to find the reinforcements appealing. Students in lower grades or with
lower cognitive functioning may need more consistent reinforcement in order to
understand the link between the task and the Mystery Motivator. Tangible motivators
may also be more appropriate for younger or lower functioning students.

Citations:
Madaus, M. M. R., Kehle, T. J., Madaus, J., & Bray, M. A. (2003). Mystery motivator as an
intervention to promote homework completion and accuracy. School Psychology
International, 24, 369-377.
Moore, L. A., Waguespack, A. M., Wickstrom, K. F., Witt, J. C., & Gaydos G. R. (1994).
Mystery motivator: An effective and time-efficient intervention. School Psychology
Review, 23, 106-118.
The Watson Institute. [watsoninstitute1917]. (2012, June 18). Mystery motivator [video file].
Retrieved on April 14, 2014 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6htcelp8p5Y

A MOTIVATION INTERVENTION HANDBOOK FOR EDUCATORS


Sample Mystery Motivator Charts

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The Response Cost Raffle


Description:
The Response Cost Raffle is an evidence-based intervention. This behavioral intervention is
designed to decrease the frequency of class wide inappropriate behavior by motivating students
to reduce the instances of inappropriate behavior. This intervention involves providing an entire
class of students with raffle tickets at the beginning of a predetermined instruction time. If a
student engages in an inappropriate behavior during the predetermined time, the teacher must
remove one raffle ticket for each instance of inappropriate behavior that occurred.
Location & Group Size:
This intervention can be implemented class wide.
Materials:
Classroom Rules Chart
Index Cards
Raffle Prize List
Large Envelope/Shoe Box
Implementation Steps:
1.

Create and explain classroom rules. The rules should be displayed clearly and focused on
the desired behavior.

2. Make a list of potential reinforcers for the class, also have the students create their own list of
reinforcers. When feasible and reasonable, include students requests in the teachers list of
reinforcers. The reinforcers can be non-tangible items, such as a pass to read to
Kindergarteners, a pass for a computer lab instructional experience during typical lecturelearning time, or a group-wide get out of quiz pass, and etc.

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3. Explain to the class which behaviors are considered disruptive.


4. Provide examples of disruptive behavior (demonstrations of what not to do) and nonexamples (demonstrations of appropriate behavior).
5. Explain the rules:

Every student in the class will receive 5 cards/raffle tickets with the students names
on them. All students must keep their cards on their desks.

Each time a student engages in a disruptive behavior the teacher will remove a card
from their desk.

This game will last for x number of minutes (periods, subjects, etc.)

The students who still have cards/raffle tickets at the end of the instructional period
will be entered into a raffle for a prize.

6. The teacher will randomly draw a raffle card and immediately reward the student whose
name is listed on the card.
Comments/Tips:
A list of rules that inform students about what they are supposed to be doing must be posted so
that everyone has quick access to the behavior guidelines that exist within the classroom. There
must be access to powerful reinforcers (things that the students will clearly work for). All of the
rules and counter rules (non- examples) must be modeled to the students before the start of the
intervention. Finally, students should have an opportunity to demonstrate the target behaviors
and receive immediate and accurate feedback. Other important considerations include:

Earned rewards must be delivered immediately.

Students must have demonstrated their ability to exhibit the desired classroom
behavior.

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If a student has not demonstrated that he/she is able to successfully exhibit the desired
classroom behavior, model for the student how to demonstrate the appropriate
behavior before implementing this intervention.

Citations:
Proctor, M. A., & Morgan, D. (1991). Effectiveness of a response cost raffle procedure on the
disruptive classroom behavior of adolescents with behavior problems. School Psychology
Review, 20, 97-109.
Witt, J. C., & Elliott, S. N. (1982). The response cost lottery: A time efficient and effective
classroom Intervention. Journal of School Psychology, 20 (2), 155-161.

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Behavior Contracts
Description:
Behavior contracts are positive-reinforcement interventions, which can be designed to reduce or
eliminate problematic behaviors, while also increasing pro-social behaviors and pro-academic
behaviors. It is an individualized intervention, which is a written agreement between a student
and a second party, (teacher or other school professional), which details concrete, positive
behavioral targets. The second party who wishes to replace the negative, undesirable behavior
chooses the desirable behaviors and employs the students input to agree on predetermined
mutual goals, reasonable rewards, and effective dates of the contract. Motivation is increased
when the students input is requested during the contract process, when selecting goals and
rewards, and during goal attainment.
Target:
This intervention is designed to increase motivation to abstain from problematic behaviors and to increase
pro-social behavior and pro-academic behaviors for individual students in grades 2-12.

Materials:
Notebook for brainstorming
Pen/Pencil
Behavior Contract template

Implementation Steps
First Stage- Negotiation Process
1. Before meeting with the student, compile a list of concerning behaviors that are to be reduced
or eliminated. Make sure that the behavioral definitions of each behavior are easily
understandable to ensure that the student comprehends the behavior of concern and why it must
be altered.

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Behaviors should always be easy to observe and measure.


o Example: Alyssa is tardy two days out of each school week.

2. Meet with the student to discuss the behaviors and gather their input on what their thoughts
are on the behavior. Together, brainstorm about specific goals to be included in the contract to
combat this behavior.

Again, make sure that the goals like the behavior are defined in simple,
understandable terms and are easily observable and measurable.

Use positive language, I will, If you do, not If you dont

When setting goals, start slowly then gradually increase.


o Example: Alyssa will attend at least 9 classes for two consecutive weeks.

Communicate to the student that the contents of the contract are open to negotiation,
but that removal of the contract is not!

3. Determine the duration of the contract with the student.

Example: If Alyssa is usually tardy for more than 8 days out of the month, institute
the contract for five weeks.

4. Select positive reinforcers.

Compile a menu of rewards that the student will like. Make sure they are-age
appropriate and the rewards are in proportion to the required performance.
o Elementary and Middle School Students: 15 minutes of free time on the
computer for one hour of work or specific items such as ice cream coupons to
be redeemed at lunch.
o Middle and High School Students- skipping a class assignment for completing
8 assignments, extra time to complete large projects.

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Ask the students input on the reinforcers and if they can brainstorm any other
rewards such as the ones offered.

5. Penalty clauses.

May be necessary, but must be kept at a minimum.

Can withdraw a privilege.


o Example: If Alyssa fails to attend at least 9 classes for two consecutive weeks,
she must stay after school to complete class assignments.

Second Stage- Writing up the Contract


6. Write the negotiated criterion on the contract form (behavior, amount of reinforcement, and
the contracts time limits).
7. Review the contract once more with the student. Make sure they understand the contract.
Clarify any questions they may have regarding the stipulations of the contract.
8. Have all parties of interest sign and date the contract (yourself included). Give the student his
or her own copy and keep a copy.
Comments/Tips:
Potential Roadblocks

If the contract isnt motivating


o Check if rewards are given on a consistent and frequent basis when the
desired behavior has been achieved.
o Have the rewards lost their meaning to the student? If so, meet with the
student to brainstorm new rewards.

Goals are too difficult to achieve


o Review the goals to observe where the student is struggling.

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Consecutive Criterion
o Consecutive criterion requires the student to achieve the desired behavior in a
straight row. If they do not achieve the desired behavior on the 6th day after
achieving success for 5 days, they are punished for the 5 days they completed.
o Criterion should not count failures, but successes. Therefore cumulative
criterion is best suited.

For example: Alyssa will attend at least 9 classes for two consecutive
weeks as opposed to Alyssa will attend 9 classes in a row for two
consecutive weeks.

Citations:
DC Schools Project. (n.d.). Tips for managing behavior and increasing motivation. Retrieved
April 21, 2014, from
http://csj.georgetown.edu/wpcontent/uploads/2012//BehaviorMotivation.doc
Utah State Office of Education. (n.d.). Behavioral contracts. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from
http://www.iseesam.com/teachall/text/behavior/LRBIpdfs/Behavioral.pdf
OKeefe, M., & Smaby, M. (1973.) Seven techniques for solving classroom discipline problems.
High School Journal, 56, 190-199.

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Sample Behavior Contract


How RTI Works Series 2011 Jim Wright www.interventioncentral.org

Effective Dates: From 10/20/2011 to 12/20/2011


Mrs. Jones, the teacher, will give Ricky a sticker to put on his Classroom Hero chart each time
he does one of the following:
turns in completed homework assignment on time
turns in morning seatwork assignments on time and completed
works quietly through the morning seatwork period (from 9:30 to 10:00 a.m.) without needing
to be approached or redirected by the teacher for being off-task or distracting others
When Ricky has collected 12 stickers from Mrs. Jones, he may choose one of the following
rewards:
10 minutes of free time at the end of the day in the classroom
10 minutes of extra playground time (with Mr. Jenkins class)
choice of a prize from the Surprise Prize Box
Bonus: If Ricky has a perfect week (5 days, Monday through Friday) by earning all 3
possible stickers each day, he will be able to draw one additional prize from the Surprise
Prize Box.
Penalty: If Ricky has to be approached by the teacher more than 5 times during a morning
period because he is showing distracting behavior, he will lose a chance to earn a
Classroom Hero sticker the following day.
The student, Ricky, helped to create this agreement. He understands and agrees to the terms of
this behavior contract.
Student Signature: ___________________________________
The teacher, Mrs. Jones, agrees to carry out her part of this agreement. Ricky will receive
stickers when be fulfills his daily behavioral goals of completing homework and classwork, and
will also be allowed to collect his reward when he has earned enough stickers for it. The teacher
will also be sure that Ricky gets his bonus prize if he earns it.
Teacher Signature: ___________________________________
The parent(s) of Ricky agree to check over his homework assignments each evening to make
sure that he completes them. They will also ask Ricky daily about his work completion and
behavior at school. The parent(s) will provide Ricky with daily encouragement to achieve his
behavior contract goals. In addition, the parent(s) will sign Rickys Classroom Hero chart each
time that he brings it home with 12 stickers on it.
Parent Signature: ___________________________________

A MOTIVATION INTERVENTION HANDBOOK FOR EDUCATORS


Sample Blank Behavior Contracts

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The Token Economy


Description:
The Token Economy is an evidence-based intervention used to motivate students to change their
behavior. This intervention is designed to increase specific behaviors of interest at the classwide level. The premise of a Token Economy is that students work for reinforcers (tokens)
which can periodically be traded in to receive rewards (activities or goods). When students
display the targeted, positive-behavior established by the teacher, they receive a token. This
system has been found to particularly effective because of the combination of initial (tokens) and
back up (rewards) reinforcers. When implemented consistently, Token Economies can be an
effective way to promote positive behaviors in students.
Location & Group Size:
This intervention is implemented at the class-wide level.
Materials:
Tokens
Reward Survey
Reinforcement Menu
Positive Behavior Value Chart
Negative Behavior Fine Chart
Progress Monitoring Sheet
Tangible Back up Reinforcers (if applicable)
Implementation Steps:
1. Select positive behaviors to be rewarded. The interventionist should target behaviors that
coincide with classroom rules.

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2. State the behavior of interest to the class. The behavior(s) should be specific and easily
identifiable. Whenever possible, the interventionist should tell student what positive behavior
should replace the negative behavior (i.e., raise your hand instead of calling out).
3. Determine how the behaviors will be measured (i.e., frequency of the positive behavior,
amount of time student(s) maintain positive behavior, percentage of correct responses).
4. Determine where behaviors will be monitored. If possible, the target behavior should be
monitored across different environments to increase the interventions effectiveness (i.e.,
classroom, lunch, recess, bus, etc).
5. Identify what will be used as the initial reinforcer. The reinforcer should be readily available,
easy to distribute, and difficult to forge (i.e., tokens, stickers, coins).
6. Select back up reinforcers. Involve the students in selecting reinforcers to ensure that they are
perceived as rewarding:

Distribute a reward survey to determine what incentives will maximize motivation to


promote positive behaviors.

Analyze the results of the survey to determine which rewards are deemed to be most
important to the students.

Ensure that the reinforcers are appropriate, have educational value, are cost efficient, and
cause no harm or danger to students.

7. Establish a value (points) for each of the reinforcers selected. The value of each reinforcer
should be aligned with its perceived importance (i.e., free time is 5 points, listening to music is 4
points, drawing is 3 points, etc).
8. Make a reinforcement menu to post in the front of the classroom. This menu should be easily
visible to the entire class and should identify the cost of each back up reinforcer.

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9. Establish a value on the initial reinforcer (tokens). Make the tokens more valuable now than
in the future. As students display appropriate behaviors more often, the value of the tokens will
have to be reduced to motivate students to continue improving.

Develop a wall chart that lists the number of tokens earned for each desired behavior.

Decide whether inappropriate behavior will result only in a withholding of tokens or


whether you will place a fine ("response cost") and remove tokens for inappropriate
behaviors.

If one decides to fine students for inappropriate behaviors, make a wall chart that
indicates the amount to be fined for each misbehavior.

Establish a sheet to monitor student rewards/fines. This sheet should also indicate
how/when students are eligible to trade in tokens for back up reinforcers (i.e., end of the
day or end of the week).

10. Implement the program by showing students all of the materials (tokens, reinforcement
menu, positive behavior value chart, and fine chart) and explaining how the reinforcers are
earned or deducted by displaying positive or negative behaviors. Ensure to be upbeat and
enthusiastic about working on improving positive behaviors. When implementing the program,
be sure to give tokens immediately after they are earned.
11. Modify the program over time to wean students from the token economy. This includes
increasing the strength or frequency of the positive behavior to earn tokens or reducing the value
of the tokens to receive back up reinforcers. Ensure to tell the students that the change in the
program is because you know they are capable of improving even more.

A MOTIVATION INTERVENTION HANDBOOK FOR EDUCATORS


Comments/Tips:

Explicitly define the target behavior in language that is easily comprehendible by the
population you are working with.

Model the desired behavior in front of the class to reduce any misconceptions.

Modify the backup reinforcement menu overtime to keep the students engaged in the
program.

Be sure to issue tokens immediately after target behaviors and remove tokens
immediately after negative behaviors.

A Token Economy can also be modified for individual students who require more
intensive behavioral interventions.

Citations:
Doll, C., McLaughlin, T. F., & Barretto, A. (2013). The token economy: A recent review and
evaluation. International Journal of Basic and Applied Science, 2, 131-149.
Token economies. (n.d.). Retrieved on April 27, 2014, from
http://www.behavioradvisor.com/Tokens.html

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Sample Token Economy Reinforcer Menus

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