Choice as an Antecedent Intervention

Study: Dunlap, DePerczel, Clarke, Wilson, Wright, White et al. (1994)

Study Type: Single-Subject Design

Descriptive Information Usage Acquisition and Cost Program Specifications and Requirements Training

Choice-making opportunities implemented as an antecedent intervention. The purpose of choice-making interventions is to promote engagement by providing the opportunity for student decision-making and agency with regard to assignment choice and/or order.

Choice is intended for use in Kindergarten through middle school. The program is intended for use with students with disabilities, intellectual disabilities, emotional or behavioral disabilities, autism, and any student at risk for emotional and/or behavioral difficulties.

The area of focus is externalizing behavior, which includes: physical aggression, verbal threats, property destruction, noncompliance, high levels of disengagement, and disruptive behavior.

Choice as an antecedent intervention is a non-commercial intervention and, therefore, does not have a formal pricing plan.

Choice is designed for use with individual students, small groups of 6-8 students, or with a classroom of students.

Only one interventionist is needed to implement the program.

The program includes highly specified teacher manuals or instructions for implementation.

The program does not require technology for implementation.

No training for the interventionist is required.

No training manuals or materials are available.

There are no minimum qualifications for the interventionist.

The program is not affiliated with a broad school or classwide management program.

There is no ongoing support available for practitioners.


Participants: Partially Convincing Evidence

Risk Status: Based on diagnoses of EBD and observed problem behaviors.



Age/ Grade



Socioeconomic status

Disability Status

ELL status

Other Relevant Descriptive Characteristics

Case 1: Wendall

5th grade


Not reported

Not reported


Not reported

Enrolled in a self-contained classroom serving students labeled emotionally handicapped. Displayed poor task engagement and peer relations.

Case 2: Sven

5th grade


Not reported

Not reported

Not reported

Not reported

Displayed indadequate task engagement and problems with inappropriate and aggressive verbal behavior and physical aggression. Enrolled in a self-contained classroom serving students labeled EBD. 

Case 3: Ahmad

5 yrs old


Not reported

Not reported

Emotional disturbance

Not reported

Enrolled in a class for students with EBD. Displayed  high levels of disruptive behavior including noncompliance, negative verbalizations, and physical aggression.

Training of Instructors: Data was collected by behavioral consultants who were familiar with the students and proficient in data collection. 

Design: Convincing Evidence

Does the study include three data points or sufficient number to document a stable performance within that phase? Yes

Is there opportunity for at least three demonstrations of experimental control? Yes

If the study is an alternating treatment design, are there five repetitions of the alternating sequence? Not applicable

If the study is a multiple baseline, is it concurrent? Not applicable

Implemented with Fidelity: Unconvincing Evidence

Description of when and how fidelity of treatment information was obtained: Not reported

Results on the fidelity of treatment implementation measure: Not reported

Measures Targeted: Convincing Evidence

Targeted Measure

Reliability statistics

Relevance to program focus

Exposure to related support among control group

Task Engagement- Direct Observation

Inter-observer agreement-total agreement 96% (range, 87-100%); occurrence agreement- 97% (range 71-100%)

Highly relevant


Disruptive Behavior- Direct Observation

Inter-observer agreement-total agreement 97% (95-100%); occurrence agreement-97% (range 67%-100%)

Highly relevant



Broader Measure

Reliability statistics

Relevance to program focus

Exposure to related support among control group






Mean ES Targeted Outcomes: N/A

Mean ES Administrative Outcomes: N/A

Effect Size:

Visual Analysis (Single-Subject Designs): Convincing Evidence

Description of the method of analyses used to determine whether the intervention condition improved relative to baseline phase (e.g. visual analysis, computation of change score, mean difference): Visual inspection

Results in terms of within and between phase patterns:

Wendall- The percentage of intervals with task engagement was greater during the choice phases than during the No Choice phases.  The provision of choice making options was associated with extremely high and stable levels of task engagement. Choice making lowered the percentage of intervals with disruptive behavior relative to the No Choice condition.

Sven- Although the data are extremely variable, it is clear that task engagement during the Choice condition was superior to that during the No Choice conditions. Disruptive behavior occurred at lower levels during the Choice conditions. 

Ahmad- The data on disruptive behavior show high levels of disruption during the initial No Choice phase, but these were reduced dramatically to near zero levels when the choice procedures were implemented. During the No Choice -Yoked phase, very high levels of disruptive responding similar to the first No Choice condition were displayed. The Choice conditions always produced very high levels of task engagement, whereas the No Choice conditions resulted in very little on-task behavior. 

Disaggregated Outcome Data Available for Demographic Subgroups: No

Target Behavior(s): Externalizing

Delivery: Individuals, Small groups (n=6-8), Classrooms

Fidelity of Implementation Check List Available: No

Minimum Interventionist Requirements: No specific qualifications or training needed

Intervention Reviewed by What Works Clearinghouse: No

What Works Clearinghouse Review

This program was not reviewed by What Works Clearinghouse.

Other Research: Potentially Eligible for NCII Review: 0 studies