Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Graduate Studies

First Advisor

John R. Lutzker

First Committee Member

Kenneth L. Beauchamp

Second Committee Member

Roger C. Katz

Third Committee Member

Martin T. Gipson


The effects of instructions, non-contingent reinforcement, and contingent reinforcement on the level of self-determined standards for both experimental and generalization items were assessed using a reversal design. In addition the effects of the level of self-determined standards on performance in spelling was examined. The results indicated that contingent reinforcement for raising standards was an effective means of training the 30 subjects in this study to set high standards of performance for both experimental and generalization items. High standards did not, however, result in high levels of performance. When reinforcement was contingent upon subjects raising their standards and then scoring at this higher level (matching), both the level of standards and the level of performance showed moderate increases for most subjects. Subjects also exhibited similar increases in standards and performance for the generalization items. The maintenance of these increases during the subsequent reversal phase, however, limited the extent to which the changes could be attributed to the experimental manipulation. Further research is needed to evaluate more fully the effects of a matching procedure on the level of self-determined standards and performance.