Improving classroom behavior by modifying task difficulty: Effects of increasing the difficulty of too-easy tasks

John Umbreit, Kathleen L. Lane, Carlos Dejud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined the effects of increasing task difficulty when inadequately challenging tasks are assigned. Jason, a 10-year-old, typically developing Caucasian boy, attended a fourth-grade general education classroom at a public elementary school. During independent academic assignments in math and reading, Jason often talked with other students, kicked his seat or the one in front of him, or wandered around the classroom. His teacher considered these behaviors to be very disruptive. The study was conducted in two phases. In Phase 1, a functional behavioral assessment identified that Jason's problem behaviors (a) occurred when he had completed his assignment and (b) resulted in his gaining access to preferred activities. In Phase 2, a function-based intervention (providing more challenging academic assignments) resulted in improvements in Jason's behavior. Both Jason and his teacher gave the intervention very positive acceptability ratings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-20
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Positive Behavior Interventions
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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