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NASP Home NASP Publications School Psychology Review (SPR) Volume 9 Issue 2 (1980) An Interdependent Group-Oriented Cont...
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Volume 9, Issue 2 (1980)

An Interdependent Group-Oriented Contingency System for Improving Academic Performance

pp. 190—193

Group-oriented contingency systems are becoming an increasingly popular approach to controlling and managing classroom behaviors. According to Litow and Pumroy (1975), such systems can be classified into three categories: dependent, independent, and interdependent. A dependent group-oriented contingency system is one in which all the group members suffer the consequences of the behavior of a particular individual or subgroup. For example, a teacher might award extra recess time to an entire class because of the performance of a single child. In contrast, an independent group-oriented contingency system is one in which consequences are meted out according to individual merit. Although the same contingency system is in effect for all group members, the performance of one group member does not directly influence the rewards or punishments experienced by the others. Finally, an interdependent group-oriented contingency system is one in which all the group members experience a common set of consequences,but these consequences are a function of the group’s performance as a whole. For example, an entire class may be awarded extra recess time because of an improvement in average class performance. The interdependent approach has been found particularly effective in decreasing disruptive classroom behaviors (Eleftherios, Shoudt, & Strang, 1972; Grandy,Madsen, & De Mersseman, 1973; Harris & Sherman, 1973; Hegerle, Kescher, & Couch, 1979;Johnson, Turner, & Konarski, 1978; Medland & Stachnik, 1972; Schmidt & Ulrich, 1969),increasing attending to task behaviors (Packard, 1970; Willis & Crowder, 1972), and increasing the percentage of work completed on time (Wilson & Williams, 1973).

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