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Theses Doctoral

Stimulus Control for Making Math Verbal

Sun, Yifei

In three experiments, I first examined the correlation between the presence of transformation of stimulus function (TSF) across computation and the presence of TSF across saying and writing for spelling words, and then tested the effects of the establishment of TSF across saying and writing on the establishment of TSF across math operants. Eight middle school students with learning disabilities participated in experiments I and II. All participants demonstrated reader/writer and math skills such as textual responding and using counting strategies to solve one-step word problems. Four of the eight participants also demonstrated TSF across saying and writing for spelling. The dependent variables of Experiment I were the accuracy and fluency of solving word problems after receiving fluency training on math facts, as well as the number of counting strategies used when solving word problems. Results showed that all participants with TSF across saying and writing for spelling demonstrated significant increases in both their accuracy and fluency when responding to word problems (i.e., ES = 1) whereas participants who did not demonstrate TSF across saying and writing for spelling demonstrated minimal gain from accuracy and fluency training of math facts (i.e., mean ES = 0.3). Experiment II tested the effects of fluency and accuracy training of word problems on the accurate and fluent responding to math facts and other math operants. Results showed that accuracy and fluency training had large effects on all participants (i.e., ES = 1). Participants who did not demonstrate TSF also demonstrated larger improvement (i.e., ES > 0.67) compared to Experiment I. The results of Experiments I and II demonstrated an association between TSF across math operants and TSF across saying and writing for spelling. Experiment III further tested for a functional relation by examining the effects of the establishment of TSF across saying and writing for spelling on the establishment of TSF across math operants with three of the participants who did not demonstrate TSF across saying and writing for spelling in the first two experiments. Upon establishment of TSF across saying and writing for spelling words, all three participants demonstrated TSF across math operants (i.e., increased accuracy and fluency of word problems, extinction of counting strategies). The results of the three experiments suggest the importance of teaching math as a verbal behavior, more specifically, as a speaker-as-own-listener behavior instead of as visual match-to-sample repertoires. Future replication of the procedure is needed to extend the external validity of the current experiments.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Behavior Analysis
Thesis Advisors
Greer, R. Douglas
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 20, 2021