The present two-experiment study compared the relationship between on-task student behavior and three measures of contingent teacher attention: total amount, contingent amount, and proportion of the total amount contingent on the target behavior. Toward this goal, a real-time observational system was developed for assessing multiple categories of teacher attention contingent upon a variety of student behavior categories. Using this system, observational data were collected in a self-contained classroom for a mentally retarded adolescent (Experiment 1) and in a remedial summer school classroom for a regular first-grade student (Experiment 2). Results from the two experiments showed the proportional measure of contingent teacher attention to account for nearly five times more variance in time on-task than contingent amount. These findings are discussed in terms of the importance of concurrently available teacher attention in the functional analysis of classroom behavior.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)