Choice as an Antecedent Intervention
Study: Dunlap et al. (1994)


Choice-making opportunities implemented as an antecedent intervention.

Target Grades:
K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Target Populations:
  • Students with disabilities only
  • Students with intellectual disabilities
  • Students with emotional or behavioral disabilities
  • Any student at risk for emotional and/or behavioral difficulties
  • Other: Autism
Area(s) of Focus:
  • Physical Aggression
  • Verbal Threats
  • Property Destruction
  • Noncompliance
  • High Levels of Disengagement
  • Disruptive Behavior
Where to Obtain:
Initial Cost:
Replacement Cost:
Contact vendor for pricing details.

N/A: no cost

Staff Qualified to Administer Include:
  • Special Education Teacher
  • General Education Teacher
  • Reading Specialist
  • Math Specialist
  • EL Specialist
  • Interventionist
  • Student Support Services Personnel (e.g., counselor, social worker, school psychologist, etc.)
  • Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapist or Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
  • Paraprofessional
  • Other: No specific qualifications needed
Training Requirements:
Training not required

Minimal, if any, training is needed to implement choice.

N/A; Intervention is described in research.

Access to Technical Support:
Not available
Recommended Administration Formats Include:
  • Individual students
  • Small group of students
  • BI ONLY: A classroom of students
Minimum Number of Minutes Per Session:
Minimum Number of Sessions Per Week:
Minimum Number of Weeks:
Detailed Implementation Manual or Instructions Available:
Is Technology Required?
No technology is required.

Program Information

Descriptive Information

Please provide a description of program, including intended use:

Choice-making opportunities implemented as an antecedent intervention.

The program is intended for use in the following age(s) and/or grade(s).

not selected Age 0-3
not selected Age 3-5
selected Kindergarten
selected First grade
selected Second grade
selected Third grade
selected Fourth grade
selected Fifth grade
selected Sixth grade
selected Seventh grade
selected Eighth grade
not selected Ninth grade
not selected Tenth grade
not selected Eleventh grade
not selected Twelth grade

The program is intended for use with the following groups.

selected Students with disabilities only
not selected Students with learning disabilities
selected Students with intellectual disabilities
selected Students with emotional or behavioral disabilities
not selected English language learners
not selected Any student at risk for academic failure
selected Any student at risk for emotional and/or behavioral difficulties
selected Other
If other, please describe:

ACADEMIC INTERVENTION: Please indicate the academic area of focus.

Early Literacy

not selected Print knowledge/awareness
not selected Alphabet knowledge
not selected Phonological awareness
not selected Phonological awarenessEarly writing
not selected Early decoding abilities
not selected Other

If other, please describe:


not selected Expressive and receptive vocabulary
not selected Grammar
not selected Syntax
not selected Listening comprehension
not selected Other
If other, please describe:


not selected Phonological awareness
not selected Phonics/word study
not selected Comprehension
not selected Fluency
not selected Vocabulary
not selected Spelling
not selected Other
If other, please describe:


not selected Computation
not selected Concepts and/or word problems
not selected Whole number arithmetic
not selected Comprehensive: Includes computation/procedures, problem solving, and mathematical concepts
not selected Algebra
not selected Fractions, decimals (rational number)
not selected Geometry and measurement
not selected Other
If other, please describe:


not selected Handwriting
not selected Spelling
not selected Sentence construction
not selected Planning and revising
not selected Other
If other, please describe:

BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTION: Please indicate the behavior area of focus.

Externalizing Behavior

selected Physical Aggression
selected Verbal Threats
selected Property Destruction
selected Noncompliance
selected High Levels of Disengagement
selected Disruptive Behavior
not selected Social Behavior (e.g., Peer interactions, Adult interactions)
not selected Other
If other, please describe:

Internalizing Behavior

not selected Depression
not selected Anxiety
not selected Social Difficulties (e.g., withdrawal)
not selected School Phobia
not selected Other
If other, please describe:

Acquisition and cost information

Where to obtain:

Phone Number

Initial cost for implementing program:

Unit of cost

Replacement cost per unit for subsequent use:

Unit of cost
Duration of license

Additional cost information:

Describe basic pricing plan and structure of the program. Also, provide information on what is included in the published program, as well as what is not included but required for implementation (e.g., computer and/or internet access)

N/A: no cost

Program Specifications

Setting for which the program is designed.

selected Individual students
selected Small group of students
selected BI ONLY: A classroom of students

If group-delivered, how many students compose a small group?


Program administration time

Minimum number of minutes per session
Minimum number of sessions per week
Minimum number of weeks
selected N/A (implemented until effective)

If intervention program is intended to occur over less frequently than 60 minutes a week for approximately 8 weeks, justify the level of intensity:

Does the program include highly specified teacher manuals or step by step instructions for implementation?

BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTION: Is the program affiliated with a broad school- or class-wide management program?

If yes, please identify and describe the broader school- or class-wide management program:

Does the program require technology?

If yes, what technology is required to implement your program?
not selected Computer or tablet
not selected Internet connection
not selected Other technology (please specify)

If your program requires additional technology not listed above, please describe the required technology and the extent to which it is combined with teacher small-group instruction/intervention:


How many people are needed to implement the program ?

Is training for the instructor or interventionist required?
If yes, is the necessary training free or at-cost?

Describe the time required for instructor or interventionist training:
Training not required

Describe the format and content of the instructor or interventionist training:
Minimal, if any, training is needed to implement choice.

What types or professionals are qualified to administer your program?

selected Special Education Teacher
selected General Education Teacher
selected Reading Specialist
selected Math Specialist
selected EL Specialist
selected Interventionist
selected Student Support Services Personnel (e.g., counselor, social worker, school psychologist, etc.)
selected Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapist or Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
selected Paraprofessional
selected Other

If other, please describe:

No specific qualifications needed
Does the program assume that the instructor or interventionist has expertise in a given area?

If yes, please describe: 

Are training manuals and materials available?

Describe how the training manuals or materials were field-tested with the target population of instructors or interventionist and students:
N/A; Intervention is described in research.

Do you provide fidelity of implementation guidance such as a checklist for implementation in your manual?

Can practitioners obtain ongoing professional and technical support?

If yes, please specify where/how practitioners can obtain support:

Summary of Evidence Base

Please identify, to the best of your knowledge, all the research studies that have been conducted to date supporting the efficacy of your program, including studies currently or previously submitted to NCII for review. Please provide citations only (in APA format); do not include any descriptive information on these studies. NCII staff will also conduct a search to confirm that the list you provide is accurate.

Study Information

Study Citations

Dunlap, G., DePerczel, M., Clarke, S., Wilson, D., Wright, S., White, R. & Gomez, A. (1994). Choice Making to Promote Adaptive Behavior for Students with Emotional and Behavioral Challenges. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 27() 505-518.

Participants Half Bobble

Describe how students were selected to participate in the study:
Students were referred for the study by their homeroom teacher.

Describe how students were identified as being at risk for academic failure (AI) or as having emotional/behavioral difficulties (BI):
Based on diagnoses of EBD and observed problem behaviors

ACADEMIC INTERVENTION: What percentage of participants were at risk, as measured by one or more of the following criteria:
  • below the 30th percentile on local or national norm, or
  • identified disability related to the focus of the intervention?

BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTION: What percentage of participants were at risk, as measured by one or more of the following criteria:
  • emotional disability label,
  • placed in an alternative school/classroom,
  • non-responsive to Tiers 1 and 2, or
  • designation of severe problem behaviors on a validated scale or through observation?

Provide a description of the demographic and other relevant characteristics of the case used in your study (e.g., student(s), classroom(s)).

Case (Name or number) Age/Grade Gender Race / Ethnicity Socioeconomic Status Disability Status ELL status Other Relevant Descriptive Characteristics
test test test test test test test test

Design Full Bobble

Please describe the study design:
Study 1: Reversal Design. Comparision of Choice and No-Choice. Wendall- ABAB and Sven- ABA Study 2: (Ahmad only) - Reversal Design. Comparison of Choice and No Choice. ABAB design. The second No Choice condition was yoked to the preceding choice phase in an effort to distinguish the effects of preference from choice making.

Clarify and provide a detailed description of the treatment in the submitted program/intervention:
Study 1: (Wendall and Sven) Tasks presented in both conditions were typical independent activities that were appropriate for the students' level of achievement and consistent with the classroom's movement throughout the designated curriculum. Analyses for Wendall were conducted during English and for Sven during Spelling. Students were given an individualized menu of academic activities in their classroom. The menus were written on pieces of paper and remained on the studens' desks throughout the class period. The menus contained 6-8 options for Wendall and 8-10 options for Sven. The menus were presented by first asking if the participant wished to choose his assignments on that day. The participant was then asked to select from the menu and was allowed to review the assignments and materials before selecting. The participant was also permitted to change tasks in the middle of a session. Study 2: (Ahmad) The participant was expected to listen to one of eight story books that was selected and read by the behavior consultant (who served as teacher). During the Choice phase, the consultant allowed Ahmad to select the book he was read. Appropriate listening and participation were followed with specific praise statements and affection from the teacher. Mild off-task and disruptive behaviors were ignored.

Clarify what procedures occurred during the control/baseline condition (third, competing conditions are not considered; if you have a third, competing condition [e.g., multi-element single subject design with a third comparison condition], in addition to your control condition, identify what the competing condition is [data from this competing condition will not be used]):
Study 1: (Wendall and Sven) In the No Choice condition, academic assignments for the day were routinely presented on the blackboard. The assignments were selected by the teacher and the students were expected to complete the assignments independently as listed on the board. Study 2: (Ahmad) During the No Choice condition, prior to the session the consultant selected a book at random from a pool of eight options. During the second No Choice Yoked Control condition, the consultant read the same books that Ahmad had selected during the previous Choice condition.

Please describe how replication of treatment effect was demonstrated (e.g., reversal or withdrawal of intervention, across participants, across settings)
Reversal design for each participant.

Please indicate whether (and how) the design contains at least three demonstrations of experimental control (e.g., ABAB design, multiple baseline across three or more participants).
ABAB was conducted with two of the three participants. An ABA design was used with the third.

If the study is a multiple baseline, is it concurrent or non-concurrent?

Fidelity of Implementation Empty Bobble

How was the program delivered?
selected Individually
not selected Small Group
not selected Classroom

If small group, answer the following:

Average group size
Minimum group size
Maximum group size

What was the duration of the intervention (If duration differed across participants, settings, or behaviors, describe for each.)?

Condition A
Sessions per week
Duration of sessions in minutes
Condition B
Sessions per week
Duration of sessions in minutes
Condition C
Sessions per week
Duration of sessions in minutes
What were the background, experience, training, and ongoing support of the instructors or interventionists?
Data were collected by behavioral consultants who were familiar with the students and proficient in data collection.

Describe when and how fidelity of treatment information was obtained.
Not reported

What were the results on the fidelity-of-treatment implementation measure?
Not reported

Was the fidelity measure also used in baseline or comparison conditions?
Not reported

Measures and Results

Measures Targeted : Full Bobble
Measures Broader : Dash

Study measures are classified as targeted, broader, or administrative data according to the following definitions:

  • Targeted measures
    Assess outcomes, such as competencies or skills, that the program was directly targeted to improve.
    • In the academic domain, targeted measures typically are not the very items taught but rather novel items structured similarly to the content addressed in the program. For example, if a program taught word-attack skills, a targeted measure would be decoding of pseudo words. If a program taught comprehension of cause-effect passages, a targeted measure would be answering questions about cause-effect passages structured similarly to those used during intervention, but not including the very passages used for intervention.
    • In the behavioral domain, targeted measures evaluate aspects of external or internal behavior the program was directly targeted to improve and are operationally defined.
  • Broader measures
    Assess outcomes that are related to the competencies or skills targeted by the program but not directly taught in the program.
    • In the academic domain, if a program taught word-level reading skill, a broader measure would be answering questions about passages the student reads. If a program taught calculation skill, a broader measure would be solving word problems that require the same kinds of calculation skill taught in the program.
    • In the behavioral domain, if a program taught a specific skill like on-task behavior in one classroom, a broader measure would be on-task behavior in another setting.
  • Administrative data measures apply only to behavioral intervention tools and are measures such as office discipline referrals (ODRs) and graduation rates, which do not have psychometric properties as do other, more traditional targeted or broader measures.
Targeted Measure Reverse Coded? Evidence Relevance
Targeted Measure 1 Yes A1 A2
Broader Measure Reverse Coded? Evidence Relevance
Broader Measure 1 Yes A1 A2
Administrative Data Measure Reverse Coded? Relevance
Admin Measure 1 Yes A2
If you have excluded a variable or data that are reported in the study being submitted, explain the rationale for exclusion:

Results Full Bobble

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

Please present results in terms of within and between phase patterns. Data on the following data characteristics must be included: level, trend, variability, immediacy of the effect, overlap, and consistency of data patterns across similar conditions. Submitting only means and standard deviations for phases is not sufficient. Data must be included for each outcome measure (targeted, broader, and administrative if applicable) that was described above.
Wendall- The percentage of intervals with task engagment 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 engagment 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 intital 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 engagment, whereas the No Choice conditions resulted in very litte on-task behavior.

Additional Research

Is the program reviewed by WWC or E-ESSA?
Summary of WWC / E-ESSA Findings :

What Works Clearinghouse Review

This program was not reviewed by What Works Clearinghouse.

How many additional research studies are potentially eligible for NCII review?
Citations for Additional Research Studies :

Data Collection Practices

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