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Guidelines for Establishing and Maintaining Token Economies

Intervention in School and Clinic , Volume 27 (3): 164 – Jan 1, 1992


Sage Publications
Copyright © 1992 by SAGE Publications
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Guidelines for Establishing and Maintaining Token Economies


Guidelines for Establishing and Maintaining Token Economies When properly implementedand maintained, tokeneconomies provide aneffective means for studentbehavior management ByBrenda Smith Myles, Mary Ross Moran, Christine K. Ormsbee, andJoyce AndersonDowning Token economies are a commonly used approach to student behavior management (Gallagher, 1988; Kazdin, 1977). In both general and special education classrooms, token economies require careful planning and implementation (Schilling & Cuvo, 1983). Because this procedure requires high levels of teacher time, commitment, and skill, token economies should generally be considered for mild behavior problems only when less intrusive measures-such as reinforcement and rule management-have been attempted and have failed to produce the desired results. On the other hand, those teachers whose students have moderate to severe behavior problems may find it more effective to establish their token system on the first day of school. Although the complexity of establishing token economies is well recognized, few guidelines exist to assist teachers in effectively implementing this procedure in their classrooms. Thus, the purpose of this article is to provide steps for establishing and maintaining token economies. The following stages in planning a token economy are discussed: (a) identifying target behaviors, (b) specifying and selecting reinforcers, (c) identifying token types and
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