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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Graduate School

First Advisor

Martin T. Gipson

First Committee Member

Gary N. Howells

Second Committee Member

Esther Cohen


Research has demonstrated various ways of improving academic performance of students in public-school classrooms (e.g., Barrish, Saunders, & Wolf, 1969), some of which may be clinically effective but not practical within present school systems. A more practical method is the use of a program involving home-based contingencies. Home-based contingencies simply means that: When children are reinforced by their parents for their appropriate behavior and performance at school, school behavior and performance will improve (Broughton, Barton, & Owen;. 1981). The current study employed a program including home-based contingencies modeled after one created by Shumaker, Hovell, and Sherman (1977), and tested the program's effect on academic performance of disadvantaged middle school youths. The independent variable was the home-based contingency component of the program, and the dependent variables were daily report cards, grades, truancy, attendance, and archival data reflecting previous grades, truancy, and attendance. Results indicated that the home-based contingency program significantly increased appropriate school behavior (t(25) = 13.85, p<0.00), but, did not have any substantial impact on grades (t(2) = 1.53, p>0.08), truancy, or attendance.



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