Discuss the rationale for the behavior analyst’s recommendation of a token economy system to help Mrs. Riley with her class.


For this Assignment, you will again use the concepts you have learned in the course to analyze cases. While you should rely primarily on the textbook readings, if you include other outside research, it must be from peer-reviewed behavior analytic journals. The case studies are located in the Doc Sharing area.

Read the following selections in your Applied Behavior Analysis text:

  • Chapter 19: “Shaping”
  • Chapter 20: “Chaining”
  • Chapter 24: “Functional Behavior Assessment”
  • Chapter 26: “Contingency Contracting, Token Economy, and Group Contingencies”

Also, read Chapter 22: “Token Economy” in your Behavior Modification text.

After reviewing each case study, write out the answers to the following questions for each case:

Case 1: The Case of Brenda

  1. Provide the rationale for the behavior analyst’s selection of behavior chaining to help Brenda.
  2. Discuss the main components of chaining and describe three common chaining procedures. Which would you select for Brenda and why?
  3. Suppose that Brenda was having difficulty mastering an aspect of the behavior chain. What could the behavior analyst do to help with the mastery of this component of the chain? Also, discuss the two ways that mastery of a unit of behavior may be assessed.

Case 2: The Case of Mrs. Riley

  1. Discuss the rationale for the behavior analyst’s recommendation of a token economy system to help Mrs. Riley with her class.
  2. Explain the six steps in forming a token economy and the rationale for each step.
  3. Discuss the role of tokens and back-up reinforcers in the token economy system. How does each work to modify behavior? Using the case study, identify the token and back-up reinforcer. Bonus: What is the concern with the token selection in this case?

Your total Assignment must be between 2–4 pages in 12-point font. Please be sure to use proper APA format for all sources used. Direct quoting of sources should be kept to a minimum. For additional help, refer to the APA Quick Reference on the Course Home Page or to the Kaplan Writing Center.

Unit 6 Assignment Rubric


Areas shaded in gray connect to a CLA/GEL.

Grading Criteria Points




Clearly identifies rationale for the selection of behavior modification strategy in each case. 0–30
Thoroughly discusses behavior chaining (Case 1). Outlines the six steps and corresponding rationales involved in the use of token economies (Case 2). 0–40
Clearly discusses assessment and evaluation of mastery in chaining (Case 1). Clearly identifies the token, back-up reinforcer, and discusses the role of backup reinforcers in token economies (Case 2) 0–40
Structure: Paper includes a title page, introduction with thesis statement, conclusion, and in-text citations and reference page using APA style.

Paper is appropriate in length (body of the paper should be 2–4 pages, not including the title page or reference page).

Paper includes reference to the textbook and any other academic sources used.

Mechanics: Paper uses Standard American English including correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and complete sentences and paragraphs.

Paper is free of typographical errors.

Paper includes a highly developed viewpoint and purpose.

Paper demonstrates superior organization; communication is highly ordered, logical, and unified.

Total 140
An explanation of the points earned, as well as where the Assignment could be strengthened will be included with your grade.



Unit 6 Assignment Case Study Transcripts

Case 1: The Case of Brenda  

This is Brenda. She is 17 years old and plays competitive tennis. In fact she hopes to get a scholarship to play in college. Brenda’s coach asked her to go see a behavior analyst that specializes in sports and fitness because she is having difficulty with her serve. She does not have enough speed and accuracy to win matches.  Her coach has tried every strategy he knows with no success. Based on her interview with Brenda and her review of videotapes of his serve, the behavior analyst decides to use chaining to help. The behavior analyst will break down Brenda’s serve into individual units of behavior such as the starting position; ball toss; swing of the racket back; acceleration of the racket, contact with the ball; and follow-through.


Case 2: The Case of Mrs. Riley

This is Mrs. Riley. She has just been asked to take over a class of third graders who are very energetic and have tried the patience of many teachers. In fact, Mrs. Riley is the third teacher to take over the class this year and it is only November! These students are not only unruly but most of them did not earn passing marks on their most recent state administered exam of basic skills. Mrs. Riley thinks these poor scores were due to class time lost to constant disruption. The major behavior challenges in the class are, fighting, yelling out answers/questions, not staying seated during work time, and failure to complete in class assignments. Mrs. Riley contacted a behavior analyst to design some effective behavior modification methods that would help the children settle down and be able to better focus on learning. The behavior analyst recommended a class-wide token economy. Students would receive pennies for engaging in appropriate behaviors such as: raising their hand, completing assignments, helping others, and remaining in their seat during instructional time.   A penny would also be earned at the end of the day if the student had not engaged in any challenging behavior throughout the day. Friday afternoons will be “store” time. The students will be able to trade their pennies in for different items in the “store.”. Items available will include: candy, small toys/crafts, and class privileges such as a night “off” of homework. Students can “spend” their pennies each week on smaller items or save up to buy bigger items like a day with early dismissal from school.

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