Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Tanya Eckert


academic performance, contingent reinforcement, reward, systematic review


Contingency-based reinforcement interventions, in which students receive a reward for engaging in desired behaviors, have been used to target various behaviors at school. Previous research studies’ findings suggest that contingency-based reinforcement interventions can be used to target a variety of behaviors, including task engagement, appropriate classroom etiquette, and academic performance across a variety of subjects. The purpose of this systematic review was to synthesize the assessment and intervention practices of 98 studies (from 1969 to 2021) that examined the effects of contingency-based reinforcement interventions when academic performance was directly targeted in the areas of math, reading, writing, spelling, and English Language Arts. Specifically, the state of the literature’s use of relevant assessment practices (i.e., Can’t Do/Won’t Do to identify skill versus performance deficits, preference, and reinforcer assessments) was reviewed, as was the use of relevant intervention practices (i.e., contingency administration formats, contingency criteria selection, randomized and unknown intervention components, and academic subjects targeted). Overall, this review reported the percentage of studies that used Can’t Do/Won’t Do, preference, and reinforcer assessments, as well as the percentage that implemented the intervention in individual or group formats, used particular methods to select reinforcement criteria, included randomized or known contingency components, and targeted specific academic subjects. Descriptive information was also provided regarding the general characteristics of the studies that met inclusion criteria, as well as participant characteristics and demographics. The results of this study may be used to inform subsequent research, meta-analyses, and intervention implementation.


Open Access


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