A Comparison of the Effects of Differing Mastery Criteria on Maintenance of Acquisition Skills
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The demonstration of behavioral acquisition and the maintenance of performance following treatment is fundamental within the fields of behavior analysis and education (Baer, Wolf, & Risley, 1968; Freeland & Noell, 2002; Pererira & Winton, 1991; Stokes & Baer, 1977). The acquisition of skills for individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism has historically focused on the attainment of a certain mastery criterion (Luiselli, Russo, Christian, & Wilczynski, 2008). Love, Carr, Almason, and Ingebor Petursdottir (2009) reported that 62% of respondents functioning as professional supervisors of early and intensive behavioral interventions indicated that a certain percentage of correct trials across multiple sessions are required to determine if mastery has been achieved. However, there is a surprising lack of research evaluating and validating the use of specific mastery criterion rules within clinical practice. The current study (Phase I) conducted a survey of clinical practices of Board Certified Behavior Analysts® (BCBA’s®) and Doctoral Board Certified Behavior Analysts® (BCBA-D’s®). Survey results indicated that the most commonly reported mastery criterion was 80% accuracy for three consecutive sessions. Based upon these results, the current study conducted an empirical evaluation of the extent to which the adoption of this mastery criterion rule (as well as a 90% accuracy rule) resulted in skill maintenance for 8 individuals diagnosed with intellectual disabilities and autism (Phase III). Results are presented below.