A comparison of independent, interdependent, and dependent group contingencies with randomized reinforcers to increase reading fluency

Date of Completion

January 2004


Education, Reading




Reading disabilities among children in schools are a continuing problem for teachers and school personnel. One component of reading that deserves consideration is fluency. Fluency, or the rate at which a student reads, is developed in the early stages of reading and has been shown to correlate with comprehension. A myriad of interventions have been developed to increase fluency among students. Although there is a dearth of literature, group contingencies (independent; interdependent, and dependent), in particular, have shown some positive effects on reading fluency. Advantages to using group contingencies are that they are practical, efficient, and economical for teachers to use when monitoring a target behavior. ^ The present investigation compared the effectiveness of the independent, interdependent, and dependent contingencies on reading fluency using an alternating treatments design. The research study attempted to determine (a) whether a group contingency intervention with randomized reinforcers increases reading fluency among elementary students and (b) whether one type of group contingency (i.e., independent, interdependent, or dependent) shows a greater effect on reading fluency than another. ^ At the onset and upon conclusion of the study, the students' reading levels were assessed via curriculum-based assessment. Throughout the study, curriculum-based measurement was used for progress monitoring. For this measure, the reading teachers recorded the number of words read correctly in 1 minute for each student. Data collection took place over a 2-month period, with 12, 24, and 5 days of collecting baseline, intervention, and follow-up results, respectively. Additional measures included treatment integrity, interrater agreement, consumer satisfaction, and teacher acceptability. ^ For each treatment session, data points were plotted on a graph and visually examined. Second, effect sizes were calculated for each treatment condition on a total (across all students) and individual (across each student) basis. Third, survey level curriculum-based assessment results were examined to determine whether students' reading levels improved across the study. ^ In general, the results revealed moderate, positive effects of the independent, interdependent, and dependent group contingencies with randomized reinforcers on measures of reading fluency. Furthermore, all three contingency systems were found to be similarly effective. Contributions, limitations, and recommendations for future research are presented. ^