Dependent Group-Oriented Contingency
We discussed interdependent and independent group-oriented contingencies in the previous chapter. The third type of group-oriented contingency is a dependent group-oriented contingency where the entire group earns a reinforcer based on one student's behavior. This is especially helpful if the function of the targeted student's behavior is attention because he or she becomes the hero for the group and the others will naturally root the student on and give praise and attention. The downside is that the student may be blamed if the reinforcer is not earned, so the possibility of that reaction will need to be taken into consideration.
Point and level systems are designed to be an organizational framework for managing student behavior where students earn more privileges and responsibilities as they demonstrate more control over their behavior. Point and level systems mirror real life due to the fact that in our society, privileges are given or removed based on our behavior. Take speeding, for example. If an adult is caught speeding, he or she might first receive a warning. If this person continues speeding and is caught again, he or she may be fined. If the speeding continues, this person may lose his or her license, and therefore the privilege of driving, but have the opportunity to earn it back for good behavior.
Point and level systems work in a similar way, with clearly defined behavioral expectations linked to rewards, privileges, and consequences. There are specific criteria for advancement to the next level, where the student enjoys more freedom and privileges. The intention is that students who proceed through the levels are better able to self-manage and capable of handling more responsibility, and therefore enjoy greater independence.
There are many examples of point and level systems that have been used to manage challenging student behavior in a variety of settings.2 We describe in detail several examples of systems that we have used with individual or small groups of students.
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