Nelson, K. G. (2010). Exploration of classroom participation in the presence of a token economy. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 37(1), 49-56.
Reason/rationale – With the knowledge that active student participation yields beneficial results in student performance, the researchers sought to determine the effect of a token economy on classroom participation. Additionally the researchers aimed to address how various variables such as gender and personality relate to participation.
Hypotheses – The primary hypothesis is that “variables related to classroom participation in past studies (sex, age, non-traditional student, orientation to school and GPA) would show positive correlation with participation” (p. 50).
Secondly, it is hypothesized that the implementation of a token economy would improve classroom participation. Lastly, there would be a strong correlation between classroom participation and performance.
Participants- The sample utilized in this study contained “318 undergraduate students, taking classes over a period of semesters” (p.50). The students were enrolled in various introductory psychology courses at a Midwestern commuter university. Their average GPA was recorded as 3.07/4.0. The age ages ranged from 18 to 69 with 78% of the sample being female. The students were from a diverse group of ethno-cultural backgrounds.
Task/materials – Participants were required to complete a Demographics sheet, a Big Five Inventory and a goal orientation questionnaire. Bonus point cards were awarded and filled out in response to active participation. Upon the end of the term students would complete an end of semester feedback form regarding the use of bonus points.
Key Results – “78.9% of the sample chose to participate in class by asking questions” (p. 52), responding positively to the token economy. Gender, age and ethnicity showed no impact on bonus points earned. Greater participation was shown to have a positive effect on class performance.
Researcher’s conclusions – “The results assessing student participation suggested the usefulness of the token economy” (p. 53). However, the Bonus point system exhibited limitations in fully assessing the effect of reinforcers on participation and suggests that future research analyzes the effect of natural reinforces on changing classroom behavior.
Alstot, A. E. (2015). Effects of a Peer-Administered Token Economy on Second Grade Physical Education Students' Overhand Throw Performance. Physical Educator, 72(2), 245-265.
Reason/rationale – Although token economies have been shown to improve general classroom behavior little research has been conducted in studying the effects of token economies in modifying behavior in the realm of physical education. The researchers aimed “to examine the effects of a token economy on the overhand throw performance of second grade physical education students” (p. 245). “The Overhand throw was selected as the target behavior due to the complexity of the task that involves several sequential steps in the correct execution of the skill” (p. 248).
Hypotheses – The primary hypothesis stands, as the introduction of a peer administered token economy will improve participant’s ability to perform the overhand throw. Additionally the study sought to prove that correct reinforcement of the proper technique would yield positive results
Participants – The sample was comprised of seven second grade students, four female and three male.
Task/materials – The experiment employed an alternating treatment design was utilized in order to assess behavior under varying conditions. Participants were assessed by both peers and a teacher on a baseline performance receiving no reward. On a separate occasion a maximum of two tokens were awarded for a correct overhead throw. Tokens were redeemable for tangible prizes.